Mattis: CIA Hasn’t “Fully Established” Who Is Responsible For Khashoggi Killing

Wednesday, November 21, 2018
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
Wed, 11/21/2018

Even as the scandal surrounding Saudi Arabia’s role in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi threatened one of the US’s most important strategic alliances in the Middle East, Defense Secretary James Mattis remained conspicuously tight lipped about who bore responsibility for the killing, saying only that diplomatic crisis undermined stability in the region.

Well, one day after President Trump declared that the CIA could still very well determine that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman didn’t know anything about the killing – despite Friday’s Washington Post report claiming that the agency strongly believed that the order to kill Khashoggi came directly from the prince – Mattis defended his boss during a Pentagon press conference, saying that neither the CIA nor the Saudi government have “fully established” who was behind the killing. And even if the CIA could find definitive proof, it wouldn’t change the fact that it’s in the US’s interest to work with the Saudis.

Because presidents don’t always get to work with “unblemished” strategic partners, Mattis said. Furthermore, it’s the president’s duty to balance competing interests, and that Khashoggi’s killers must be held accountable – but that the US must also work with the kingdom to end the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

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