CIA director heads to Turkey amid Khashoggi investigation | News | DW | 23.10.2018
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CIA director heads to Turkey amid Khashoggi investigation

The CIA chief's trip follows President Donald Trump saying he was unsatisfied with Saudi Arabia's recent explanation of Khashoggi's death. Western security agencies are still trying to piece together how Khashoggi died.

US CIA Director Gina Haspel traveled to Turkey on Monday in an effort to help investigate the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Reuters news agency said, citing sources familiar with the matter.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also traveled to Saudi Arabia and met with embattled Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

The cabinet-level visits come as the Trump administration grapples with the international outcry over the murder and after president Donald Trump said that he was "not satisfied" with Saudi Arabia's explanation of the incident.

The kingdom announced on Saturday that Khashoggi had died in a "fistfight," a claim that was met with international skepticism, including from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who deemed it "insufficient."

Read more: Opinion: No weapons for Riyadh, right for the wrong reason

Turkish media and officials have alleged that a Saudi team of 15 people flew to Istanbul to carry out a hit job on October 2, when Khashoggi went to the consulate to obtain a document needed for his upcoming wedding.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to provide more details on what his country knows about the Khashoggi's death, in an address to the Turkish parliament on Tuesday. 

A challenge for security agencies

The CIA did not comment on Haspel's trip to Istanbul, but the visit could be an indication of efforts by US intelligence services to gain more information from their Turkish counterparts.

Three weeks after Khashoggi's disappearance, US and European security agencies still lack a complete picture of what happened at the consulate in Istanbul.

Read more: Opinion: Turkey profiting from the Khashoggi affair

Six US and European security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that they do not yet know how he died and where his body was taken.

Despite extensive allegations that Turkey is in possession of audio recordings documenting Khashoggi's torture and murder, neither US nor allied government agencies have been granted access to the evidence, the officials said.

Mnuchin in Riyadh

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also discussed the Khashoggi investigation during a meeting with Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh, a Treasury spokesman confirmed. The unscheduled meeting came at the request of the Saudi government, the New York Times reported, citing a person familiar with the situation.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry posted a photo of the encounter on its Twitter account late Monday.

In an interview on Sunday in Jerusalem, Mnuchin defended his visit to Riyadh, saying the trip's goal was reinforcing ties between the US and Saudi Arabia.

But he also said that the kingdom needed to do more to demonstrate that Mr. Khashoggi's killing was unintentional, the New York Times reported.

jcg/aw (Reuters, AP)

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