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Ex-CIA director says Trump's MbS White House invitation 'outrageous'

John Brennan was previously head of the CIA [Getty]

Date of publication: 26 October, 2020

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The former US intelligence chief has said it would be an 'outrageous' idea to invite Saudi Arabia's crown prince to Washington.
The former head of the CIA, John Brennan, has slammed President Donald Trump's suggestion that scandal-ridden Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman could be invited to the White House, dubbing the idea "outrageous".

It comes after Trump reportedly suggested the idea on Friday of throwing a "big beautiful party" if he is re-elected president that would include Saudi King Salman and his son and de-facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed.

The proposed celebration would be to mark a touted normalisation agreement between Saudi Arabia and Israel, which has been suggested by officials could take place soon.

Crown Prince Mohammed, also known as MbS, has been unofficially blacklisted by Western capitals after several intelligence agencies linked him to the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"There are very demonstrable things that they could do," Brennan said when questioned by Yahoo News on "Skullduggery" podcast on what Washington could do in response to the killing.

"But Trump has not done any of that. They can make sure that they're not going to deal with MbS. And really make him a pariah, in many respects, in the bilateral relationship."

When asked about Trump's proposal to invite the Saudi king and his son to the White House, Brennan dubbed the idea "outrageous".

"If he's going to allow Mohammed bin Salman to come to this country, and be feted and hosted by a president of the United States, after what his own intelligence community, the CIA, has reportedly said about MbS' responsibility for the murder and dismemberment of a US resident, I just find that very telling [about] Donald Trump, obviously," he added.

It is widely acknowledged that Khashoggi was kidnapped, murdered and his body dismembered by Saudi officials at the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul, after attempting to complete paperwork for his fiance in October 2018.

CIA and Turkish intelligence have concluded that the hit squad that carried out the murder of the Saudi journalist was sent by the crown prince.

Trump has cast doubts on their assertion, and when questioned on whether MbS ordered the killing simply said: "Maybe he did, maybe he didn't."
Crown Prince Mohammed has also been widely criticised for his crackdown on perceived opponents - including human rights champions such as Loujain Al-Hathloul - the brutal war in Yemen, and other issues.

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