Careful observers may have noticed that when the declassified CIA report was first published to the Office of the Director of Nation Intelligence (ODNI) website on Friday afternoon, the entire report was removed a mere minutes later.
When the ODNI subsequently released it back to its website, three names initially identified in the report as among those responsible for Jamal Khashoggi’s grisly Oct.2018 murder had been mysteriously removed.
As CNN noted in follow-up, “It was replaced with a second version of the document that omitted the names of three Saudi nationals earlier listed among those allegedly involved in the 2018 killing of Khashoggi.”
The ODNI on Monday acknowledged the missing names, claiming they were originally there “in error”. An ODNI spokesperson said, “We put a revised document on the website because the original one contained three names which should not have been added.” This despite the report saying the names were presented with “high confidence” that those listed were involved in Khashoggi’s killing.
However, this has raised more questions that answers particularly amid growing public anger over the fact that crown prince Mohammed bin Salman will have zero repercussions from the Biden administration, despite his being identified by US intelligence as having “approved” the assassination. CNN underscores that “The quiet switch by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence went largely unnoticed as the outcry grew that the Biden administration was failing to punish the prince in any way, despite having just declared in no uncertain terms that MBS was responsible.”
The three names were deleted among the 21 identified who “participated in, ordered, or were otherwise complicit in or responsible for the death of Jamal Khashoggi,” according to the recently released intel report.
Hmmm: #ODNI mysteriously removes 3 Saudi names from #Khashoggi intelligence report after initial publication. It had said it had ‘high confidence’ in the first version. Explanation, please.—@CNNhttps://t.co/A1qyujLAFC
— Jeff Stein (@SpyTalker) March 1, 2021
Is this part of the continuing cover-up and attempt to further shield MbS from greater international scrutiny? One Middle East news analysis source points to just such a scenario based on the fact that one of the names is a very high ‘counterterror’ official in the kingdom:
“Yet the three names are of interest because they are of individuals not previously mentioned in reports about Khashoggi’s killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. One of the individuals omitted from the second version of the report is Abdulla Mohammed Alhoeriny, reportedly the brother of a Saudi intelligence chief.
General Abdulaziz bin Mohammed al-Howraini is in charge of the Presidency of State Security, a security body that oversees counterterrorism and domestic intelligence services.
Alhoeriny, as his name was spelled in the US report, is described in Saudi media reports as the assistant chief of state security for counterterrorism.
The other two named in the first version of the report were Yasir Khalid Alsalem and Ibrahim al-Salim. It is not immediately clear who those men are and whether they are related.”
Meanwhile, as one op-ed in The Hill accurately describes, President Biden’s previously hyped “tough” response to Riyadh has essentially been to meekly give the Saudi crown prince ‘one free murder’ pass on Khashoggi.