It looks like the Saudi prince is trying to clear his name by throwing certain operatives under a bus.
Source tells NYT the Saudis are preparing to describe a scenario that would protect MBS from blame.— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 15, 2018
The source said the royal court would soon put out a narrative that an official within the kingdom's intel services carried out the killing of Khashoggi. https://t.co/bjAMUJQ3bU
2/ One source: report will likely conclude that the operation was carried out without clearance and transparency and that those involved will be held responsible.— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) October 15, 2018
One source: report is still being prepared and cautioned that things could change.
As this unfolds, it is worth noting that Khashoggi was I believe 59 and portly. it is pretty hard to see how an interrogation could have led to his accidental death. Torture, maybe. But again, a police or military team can pretty easily take custody of someone without killing them.
Even if you assume that the plan was to return him to Saudi, again, we’re talking about multiple members of a trained elite force dealing with a middle aged man. “Oops” is not a persuasive explanation.
Also, why the bone saw?
Another point: it sounds like Saudi Arabia is coming up with a “rogue killers” defense, which is exactly what Trump was saying this morning. Were they running it by him? Was he the advance PR man?
"Look, this guy thought that murdering a dissident on his own initiative would impress the crown prince, and that — why would he think that? That's so weird right? Thinking that? The ideas some nutjobs get, I tell ya. Hoo man. Anyway…" https://t.co/jYfQoPgWIM pic.twitter.com/9nYbbzAC6C— Simon Maloy (@SimonMaloy) October 15, 2018
CNN is reporting that the Saudi preliminary report “could change”, meaning, I assume, this is a trial balloon and they still can backtrack and deny any knowledge.
UPDATE — Looks like the Turks got some kind of deal to keep their mouth shut
Saudis about to admit to “accidental” murder. Why? It’s likely Turks were about to release audio of the killing. What next? Will be declared “a rogue” & “unfortunate” loyalists act by King Abdullah. All banished to Mecca so cannot be interrogated. Trump & MBS will claim victory. https://t.co/qBNSCUcfSt— Malcolm Nance (@MalcolmNance) October 15, 2018