Turkey says the CIA has a 'smoking gun' tape nailing Saudi's Prince on the Khashoggi case

Turkish intelligence reportedly said the CIA wiretapped a phonecall where Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called Jamal Khashoggi to be silenced "as soon as possible."

The news, made via a column for Turkey's Hürriyet news website, comes just after President Donald Trump issued a frantic proclamation saying the US would stand by Saudi Arabia, despite the real possibility that Crown Prince Mohammed ordered the killing.

The leak from Turkish intelligence follows a longstanding pattern of Ankara releasing information from the ongoing Khashoggi investigation at a slow, steady pace with increasingly grisly and damning details. 

But beyond the constant and anonymous assertions that implicate the Saudi prince as the architect of Khashoggi's murder, this leak purports to expose the US as spying on its ally, specifically the Saudi royals, and ignoring potentially consequential evidence of a murder. 

Abdulkadir Selvi, a columnist for Hürriyet cited anonymous Turkish intelligence officials on Thursday as saying that the CIA has a a tape of Crown Prince Mohammed telling his brother Khaled bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the US, that Khashoggi needs to be silenced immediately. 

Selvi wrote: "It is said that the crown prince gave an instruction to silence Jamal Khashoggi as soon as possible and this instruction was captured during the CIA wiretapping. The subsequent murder is the ultimate confirmation of this instruction." He called the tape a "smoking gun."

Selvi then called for an international investigation which "can reveal more jaw-dropping evidence, as CIA has more wiretapped phone calls at hand than the public knows about."

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ARCHIVO - En esta fotografía de archivo del 12 de abril de 2018, el príncipe heredero saudí Mohammed bin Salman se prepara para irse tras una ceremonia con el jefe de gobierno español Mariano Rajoy en Madrid, España. (AP Foto/Paul White, archivo)
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shakes hands with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday Oct. 16, 2018. Pompeo also met on Tuesday with Saudi King Salman over the disappearance and alleged slaying of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, who vanished two weeks ago during a visit to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. (Leah Millis/Pool via AP)
FILE - In this Thursday, June 14, 2018 file photo, President Vladimir Putin, shakes hands with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, right, during their meeting in Moscow, Russia. (Yuri Kadobnov/Pool via AP)
Spain's King Felipe, left, his wife Queen Letizia, right, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud stand to welcome guests before a lunch at the Royal Palace in Madrid, Thursday, April 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco, Pool)
This photo released Monday, April 9, 2018 on the official twitter page of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, shows Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, left, takes a selfie with French President Emmanuel Macron, center, and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, right, in the King George V Hotel, in Paris, France. (The official twitter page of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri via AP)
A handout picture provided by the Saudi Royal Palace on September 30, 2018 shows the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah (R), welcoming Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman, at the Bayan Palace in Kuwait City. (Photo by Bandar AL-JALOUD / various sources / AFP) / XGTY (Photo credit should read BANDAR AL-JALOUD/AFP/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JUNE 14: Asian Football Confederation President Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al Khalifa, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Al Saud, FIFA President Gianni Infantino, and Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L-R) during the opening ceremony prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Group A match between Russia and Saudi Arabia at Luzhniki Stadium on June 14, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has purged the military, press, and intelligence services of any critics, stripping them of their independence.

Experts previously told Business Insider that Turkish leaks can be seen as an intelligence or information warfare campaign from the Turkish government, aimed at forcing the US to reconsider its ties to Saudi Arabia.

Trump's administration sanctioned Saudi Arabian nationals in response to Khashoggi's murder and cut support for the kingdom's war in Yemen.

But Trump refused to outright blame Crown Prince Mohammed for the killing, saying that it wasn't in US interests to publicly break with the 33-year-old monarch set to rule the US-allied kingdom for the next four or five decades.

Importantly, though Turkish intelligence and even Erdogan have several times implicated the Saudi prince in Khashoggi's murder, and now reportedly hold this "ultimate confirmation" of his role in the murder, Ankara has not directly blamed him.

In fact, no country has come out against Crown Prince Mohammed. 

But consistent leaks from Turkish media, which Erdogan has almost total control over after making his country the number one jailer of journalists, have done incredible public relations harm to the kingdom and to US support for it. 

By leaking an accusation that the CIA has been spying on Saudi Arabia, and calling for an international investigation to reveal more presumably classified CIA surveillance, the Turkish intelligence, media, and government have neatly aligned in a prolonged line of attack that quite obviously seeks to harm the US. 

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