The U.S. intelligence community has replaced its long-awaited report on the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, with another version that no longer includes the names of three men initially considered as complicit, CNN reported on Monday.
On Friday, the U.S. intelligence community declassified a report saying that the Saudi crown prince had approved the operation that killed Khashoggi in 2018.
Later that day, the U.S. Treasury announced sanctions against former deputy head of Saudi intelligence, Ahmed al-Asiri, and the crown prince’s personal protective detail.
Saudi Arabia, in turn, has strongly refuted the information about the alleged role of the kingdom’s leadership in the incident, adding that the kingdom had already convicted and sentenced those responsible for the killing.
According to the broadcaster, the three men, whose names were removed from the report, “participated in, ordered, or were otherwise complicit in or responsible for the death of Jamal Khashoggi.’’
The first name is Abdulla Mohammed Alhoeriny, who is the brother of General Abdulaziz bin Mohammed al-Howraini and heads the Presidency of State Security, the broadcaster reported, citing a person familiar with the inner workings of Saudi intelligence.
Abdulla is named in Saudi reports as the assistant chief of state security for counterterrorism.
The two other names that subsequently disappeared are Yasir Khalid Alsalem and Ibrahim al-Salim, CNN said, adding it was not clear who they were.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to clarify to the broadcaster why the names were initially included in the report, while a senior U.S. administration official said on Friday before the change was noticed that there was no new information in the report.
“We put a revised document on the website because the original one erroneously contained three names which should not have been included,’’ an ODNI spokesperson told CNN.
Khashoggi went missing in 2018 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Riyadh initially denied any knowledge of Khashoggi’s whereabouts but eventually admitted that he had been killed inside the diplomatic mission.
The Saudi government sentenced several people over their role in Khashoggi’s murder and has repeatedly denied allegations that members of the royal family were involved in the incident.
The position of Saudi Arabia has already been supported by a number of Arab states, including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait, as well as by the Arab League.(Sputnik/NAN)