Washington D.C. [U.S.A.]: United States Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo on Wednesday said that there was no report on the direct involvement of Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the killing of former Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi on October 2 inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
“There is no direct reporting connecting the crown prince to the order to murder Jamal Khashoggi,” Al Jazeera quoted Pompeo as saying.
The statement came after Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told the Senate that weakening of ties between the United States and Saudi Arabia over the killing would adversely affect the national security of America.
“Security interests cannot be dismissed as [the US] seeks accountability … for Khashoggi’s murder,” Al Jazeera quoted James Mattis as saying.
“I must note we are seldom free to work with unblemished partners,” Mattis added.
In a blog post, Pompeo wrote, “The October murder of Saudi national Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey has heightened the Capitol Hill caterwauling and media pile-on. But degrading US-Saudi ties would be a grave mistake for the national security of the US and its allies.”
Pompeo reiterated that Saudi is an important ally of the US, especially to take control of Iran, secure Iraq’s democracy and to fight the Islamic State terrorists and other armed groups.
The statements from the US officials came despite Central Intelligence Agency’s announcement that the Saudi Prince Salman had ordered the killing.
On October 22, Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir had admitted that the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was a mistake and a rogue operation.
While talking to Fox News about the incident, al-Jubeir said, “The individuals who did this, did this outside the scope of their authority. There obviously was a tremendous mistake made, and what compounded the mistake was the attempt to try to cover up. That is unacceptable in any government.”