Britain knew of Saudi plan to target journalist, warned Saudis against it

Jamal KhashoggiBritish intelligence had prior knowledge of a plot by the Saudi government to target Jamal Khashoggi, the dissident journalist who was killed in the hands of Saudi intelligence officers in Istanbul on October 2, and allegedly warned Riyadh not to proceed with the plan, according to a report. Khashoggi was a former Saudi government adviser who became critical of the kingdom’s style of governance. He is believed to have been killed by a 15-member Saudi hit squad while visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. He went there for a scheduled appointment in order to be issued a document certifying his divorce from his former wife in Saudi Arabia. After vehemently denying any role in Khashoggi’s killing, the Saudi government admitted last week that the journalist was killed while inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. It has pledged to punish those responsible and reform the Kingdom’s intelligence services. But critics accuse Riyadh of ordering the dissident’s murder.

Now a new report claims that Britain’s external intelligence agency, the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), was aware of a plot by the Saudi government to kidnap Khashoggi in order silence him. British newspaper The Sunday Express says it has evidence from “high ranking intelligence sources” that MI6 was in possession of communications intercepts containing conversations about Khashoggi. The conversations were between Saudi government officials and officers of the General Intelligence Directorate (GID), the Kingdom’s primary spy agency. In the intercepts, a member of the Saudi royal family is allegedly heard giving orders for the GID to kidnap Khashoggi from Turkey sometime in early September. He also instructs the GID to secretly transport the dissident journalist to Saudi soil where he could be interrogated. During the conversation, a discussion took place about the possibility that Khashoggi would physically resist his abductors. At that point in the conversation, the high ranking intelligence source told The Express, the royal family member “left the door open for alternative remedies […] should Khashoggi be troublesome”.

The paper reports that MI6 “became aware” of the arrival of a 15-member Saudi hit squad in Istanbul on October 1, a day before Khashoggi went missing. According to the paper’s source “it was pretty clear what their aim was”, so MI6 contacted the GID directly and warned the Saudi spy agency to “cancel the mission”, said the source. However, the source added, “this request was ignored”.  On October 10, The Washington Post, the newspaper that employed Khashoggi, said that American intelligence agencies had evidence that the Saudi royal family tried to lure The Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia, in order to capture him.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 29 October 2018 | Permalink

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8 Responses to Britain knew of Saudi plan to target journalist, warned Saudis against it

  1. Moonirah says:

    I thought so.

  2. Why didn’t anyone warn Khashoggi?

  3. intelNews says:

    @Max Tomlinson: A truly excellent question. [JF]

  4. Looking@ says:

    Saudi Arabia has to be scraped an rebuild from the scratch as well as Iran, the other evil domain…
    We are just buying little time by not doing anything or doing little to nothing.
    When I said from scratch I mean it. Nothing remains from these two countries and than start from the scratch.

  5. Bill Banks says:

    That UK would tell Saudis they had real time knowledge of such “good stuff” is remarkable. Presumably, Saudis would have been shocked to learn about such a breach of security–but not shocked enough. To proceed with such an insecure operation must be taken as literally catastrophic bungling/malevolence at the highest level–to the point that “other options” if ”troublesome” might well have been an actual authorization for murder. Certainly, the dispatch of _15_ men to “kidnap” a columnist from the embassy…

  6. José Luis Loría Méndez says:

    What did he knew ?

  7. Bill Banks says:

    Another Saudi murder of journalist last week? Could this practice have been more frequent than known to MSM? Generously assuming another “one off,” this is breath taking. Assuming not… And what about treatment of prisoners generally under such a regime?

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6362321/Another-journalist-Saudi-Arabia-killed-torture-custody.html

  8. Bill Banks says:

    Insecure Twitter is now credited with the exposure of the latest victim. Would this not be time to look back a decade or so for other, uh, excesses? How many dead establish considered policy?

    https://metro.co.uk/2018/11/09/twitter-gave-saudi-arabia-information-about-journalist-who-ended-up-dead-8123873/

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