Report: US Heard of Plan to Lure Missing Journalist

As Trump says halting arms sales to Saudi Arabia 'would be hurting us'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2018 4:21 AM CDT
Report: US Knew Saudis Were Plotting Against Missing Journalist
"I think that would be hurting us," Trump said of possible sanctions on Saudi Arabia.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

A new twist in the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi: American officials knew months ago that Saudi Arabia was plotting against the journalist, sources tell the Washington Post. The sources say US intelligence intercepts discovered a plan to lure Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi monarchy, back to the kingdom from his home in Virginia and detain him. The operation was ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the sources say. Several of Khashoggi's friends tell the Post that Saudi officials had called him repeatedly in recent months to offer him protection—and a government job—if he returned to his homeland, but he said he "didn't trust them one bit." Turkish authorities believe Khashoggi was murdered by Saudi agents during a visit to the kingdom's Istanbul consulate on Oct. 2.

President Trump vowed Wednesday that he would "get to the bottom" of the case, the BBC reports. "We cannot let this happen to reporters, to anybody," he said. But he said blocking US arms sales to Saudi Arabia, a move some lawmakers are calling for, could be a step too far, the AP reports. "I think that would be hurting us," Trump said. "We have jobs, we have a lot of things happening in this country ... and frankly I think that that would be a very, very tough pill to swallow for our country." A bipartisan group of senators urged Trump to impose sanctions on anybody found responsible for the disappearance. GOP Sen. Bob Corker, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said "everything points to" Saudi involvement. (An Apple Watch could potentially reveal what happened to Khashoggi.)

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