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CIA director 'to brief Trump on Turkish intelligence into Khashoggi killing'

US President Donald Trump has come under pressure to sanction Saudi Arabia [Getty]

Date of publication: 25 October, 2018

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US President Donald Trump will be briefed on Thursday on information provided by Turkish intelligence to CIA chief Gina Haspel.

CIA director Gina Haspel is set on Thursday to brief US President Donald Trump on intelligence provided by Turkey regarding the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The upcoming briefing follows Haspel's short trip to Turkey earlier this week, where she was given access to video images, audio tapes and information gathered by Turkish intelligence from Saudi Arabia's Istanbul consulate and the consul general's residence.

Pressure has mounted on Trump to take tougher action on Saudi Arabia following the kingdom's acknowledgement of Khashoggi's killing, after nearly three weeks of denials by Riyadh.

Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist who had been living in self-imposed exile, visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to complete some documents that would allow him to remarry. The 59-year-old failed to re-emerge, prompting widespread accusations that Saudi Arabia's leadership had killed the dissident writer.

On Saturday, Riyadh admitted that Khashoggi had been killed at the consulate, however claimed that his death was the result of a scuffle. Trump has since blasted the affair as "one of the worst in the history of cover-ups" and has admitted that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman may have been behind the order.

The US also suspended visas for those connected with the Khashoggi killing on Tuesday, and on Wednesday a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a bill to immediately suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stopped short of pointing the blame at the Saudi leadership for the death of the insider-turned-critic, however has vowed to uncover the truth of what occurred at the consulate.

In a keynote speech on Tuesday, Erdogan said that the murder was meticulously planned, demanding that all those involved be brought to justice. The president appealed to King Salman bin Abdulaziz to help bring the killers to justice, however notably avoided mention of Saudi Arabia's de-facto ruler, Prince Mohammed.

Observers say it's unlikely CIA chief Haspel made the trip to Turkey on Tuesday only to be briefed on evidence, with some speculating it could be to persuade Ankara not to disclose material that implicates its ally Riyadh.

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