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A U.S. intelligence report on the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was released. It concludes that "Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey, to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi." The report could bring further strain on U.S.-Saudi relations. Margaret Brennan reports.
- The Biden administration has confirmed what has long been suspected. A US intelligence report declassified on Friday puts the blame for the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi ultimately on the shoulders of Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince. But there are questions about whether promised sanctions against a key US ally are enough. Margaret Brennan reports on this.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Turkey in October 2018 while his fiancee waited outside. Inside, he was brutally murdered and dismembered by a 15-member hit squad flown in from Saudi Arabia. A US intelligence report said it included members of the elite personal protective detail for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom the US assesses personally approved the kill or capture mission.
- Did you order the murder of Jamal Khashoggi?
MARGARET BRENNAN: In his only TV interview when pressed by Norah for 60 Minutes, the Crown Prince denied ordering the killing but said he took responsibility as leader of the kingdom.
INTERPRETER: As a leader--
MARGARET BRENNAN: But US Intelligence said the Crown Prince has absolute control of the security forces, viewed Khashoggi as a threat, and broadly supported using violent measures if necessary to silence him.
- How did you not know about this operation?
INTERPRETER: Some think that I should know what three million people working for the Saudi government do daily. It's impossible that the three million would send their daily reports to the leader or the second highest person in the Saudi government.
MARGARET BRENNAN: The Trump administration sanctioned 17 Saudi officials in 2018 but did not punish the Crown Prince for his role.
- Mr. President--
MARGARET BRENNAN: President Biden also avoided action against the heir to the throne of this key US ally. Mr. Biden did sanction the operations ringleader and the Crown Prince's security squad.
Is this justice?
ADAM SCHIFF: It's the beginning of accountability. But I hope the administration goes further with repercussions for all of those involved, including the Crown Prince.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Congressman Schiff is urging the administration to go after the prince's personal financial assets, including the plane used to fly the killers to the scene of the crime. The president chose a more diplomatic option, blocking foreign nationals from the US if they persecute journalists or activists. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia flatly rejects the intelligence report.
For CBS This Morning Saturday, I'm Margaret Brennan, Washington.