Home/Daniel Larison/‘Tell Your Boss’: Recording of Khashoggi Murder Implicates Mohammed bin Salman

‘Tell Your Boss’: Recording of Khashoggi Murder Implicates Mohammed bin Salman

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman believed to have ordered Khashoggi kidnapping (Al Arabiya screenshot)

The Turkish recording of the Saudi government’s murder of Jamal Khashoggi appears to implicate Mohammed bin Salman directly:

Shortly after the journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed last month at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, a member of the kill team instructed a superior over the phone to “tell your boss,” believed to be Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, that the operatives had carried out their mission, according to three people familiar with a recording of Mr. Khashoggi’s killing collected by Turkish intelligence.

The recording, shared last month with the C.I.A. director, Gina Haspel, is seen by intelligence officials as some of the strongest evidence linking Prince Mohammed to the killing of Mr. Khashoggi, a Virginia resident and Washington Post columnist whose death prompted an international outcry.

Most observers have taken for granted that Mohammed bin Salman was personally responsible for ordering the murder of Khashoggi. The fact that so many of his close associates and bodyguards were among the agents that committed the crime confirmed as much, and the fact that the Saudi government spent weeks making up one ridiculous cover story after another suggested just how determined they were to conceal the truth of the matter. This latest revelation makes it that much harder for Riyadh and the Trump administration to deny the crown prince’s involvement.

While the crown prince is not mentioned by name in the recording, the reference to the “boss” points at Mohammed bin Salman more than anyone else. Following more than a year of his aggressive power grabs and concentrating power in his own hands, is it likely that this is referring to a different person? The article continues:

“A phone call like that is about as close to a smoking gun as you are going to get,” said Bruce O. Riedel, a former C.I.A. officer now at the Brookings Institution. “It is pretty incriminating evidence.”

It is worth remembering that the Saudi government spent weeks lying about their agents’ responsibility for murdering Khashoggi, and only belatedly owned up to the killing when international pressure forced them to admit it. The Saudis’ official denials and cover stories are completely lacking in credibility, and all of the evidence points to someone at the highest levels of their government as the guilty party. The crown prince may not be brought to justice for this murder, but he and the Saudi government should have to face serious consequences for it.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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