By Umar Farooq
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to say whether he believed the CIA's assessment that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman played a role in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
In an interview Wednesday with CBS News, Pompeo was asked numerous questions on the issues surrounding the killing of the Saudi journalist and columnist for The Washington Post, who was also a U.S. resident.
"That’s a ridiculous question," he said, when asked whether the crown prince was involved in the murder.
"There is no nation that acts against violations of human rights in the way the American nation does, and President [Donald] Trump has been at the forefront of doing that as well," he added.
While Pompeo said the killing was unacceptable, he affirmed that the U.S. has an important relationship with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and that he plans to make sure that relationship is a successful one.
The question of bin Salman's role in the murder was asked multiple times but was met each time with similar answers that skirted the issue.
Khashoggi was brutally murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul shortly after he entered the diplomatic facility on Oct. 2 last year. Riyadh initially denied any role in the killing but has since sought to blame his death on a botched rendition operation being carried out by rogue agents.
Saudi Arabia has sought to distance the crown prince from Khashoggi's murder, as has Trump.
In November, the CIA concluded with high confidence that bin Salman had ordered Khashoggi's killing, according to The Post.
"President Trump and this administration are committed to holding each individual accountable as we develop fact sets that permit us to do it. We’ve already applied sanctions to a number of people who were involved in it that we had a fact set that support it – an American fact set that supported it. We’ll continue to do that,” Pompeo said in the interview.
Earlier Thursday, Sen. Bob Menendez sent a letter to Pompeo asking for all documents related to Khashoggi’s murder and specifically requested any records which would indicate that any member of the Saudi royal family, including bin Salman, was responsible for the killing.
The letter was sent after Trump failed to adhere to a deadline last week to send a report to Congress determining whether sanctions are warranted against bin Salman for Khashoggi’s murder.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.