Saudi crown prince says journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder 'happened under my watch'

Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman says he bears responsibility for the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi because “It happened under my watch.” in an excerpted interview from an upcoming documentary series. 

"It happened under my watch," the Saudi leader told PBS FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith on the sidelines of an electric car race near Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. “I get all the responsibility, because it happened under my watch.” 

He insisted, though, that he had no involvement or knowledge in the killing. 

"We have 20 million people. We have 3 million government employees," he replied, when asked how the murder could have happened without his knowledge. 

When pressed further, and asked how the killers could have used Saudi planes to fly between Saudi Arabia and Turkey to commit the murder, Prince Mohammed said, "I have officials, ministers to follow things, and they’re responsible, they have the authority to do that."  

Khashoggi's brutal murder last October inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul prompted an international outcry and calls from some American lawmakers to alter American foreign policy on Saudi Arabia. Khashoggi was a columnist for the Washington Post and a U.S. resident. 

Saudi officials had previously denied any involvement or knowledge in the killing, which reportedly involved Khashoggi's dismemberment. His body has never been found.  

More: Why grisly UN report on Khashoggi murder will not change Trump policy toward Saudi Arabia

More: What the UN wants next in the investigation of Jamal Khashoggi's murder

More: Jamal Khashoggi's fiancee says 'nothing has been done' about his killing

Later reports linked the killers to the Saudi Arabian government, in particular, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

The U.S. sanctioned 17 Saudi nationals for their alleged roles in the killing, but President Donald Trump vetoed a push by lawmakers to bar some weapons sales to Saudi Arabia in response to the killing. 

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: MBS: Jamal Khashoggi's murder 'happened under my watch'