The media reporting on the murder of Muslim Brotherhood activist Jamal Khashoggi greatly exceeded its value as a news story long ago, and is now being driven strictly by politics.
The Muslim Brotherhood government in Turkey, under the iron-fisted leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has masterfully played the situation to its advantage to create a rift between the United States and Turkey’s regional rival, Saudi Arabia.
The Turks have long had very robust intelligence capabilities and, clearly, the Saudi consulate in Istanbul was fully penetrated with listening devices, at the very least. The slow drip of information supplied to the mainstream media is being played very well by the Turks, and mainstream media sources are willing accomplices without regard to consequences, because the situation can be used to criticize President Donald Trump.
This drip of information will continue as the professional and experienced Turks select appropriate moments in the news cycle, and continue to play the U.S. media like a fine violin.
CIA Connection Unlikely
CIA Director Gina Haspel was recently asked to brief congressional overseers about what the CIA knows about the Kashoggi murder. I don’t have, or for that matter, need, any insider information to know exactly what she told them.
There are many reasons why the CIA wouldn’t have a direct reporting source inside such a small “hit squad,” such as the one that killed Khashoggi. It would always have been difficult to have a spy reporting back to the United States within such a small unit, but it would be impossible in this day and age.
As former CIA Director John Brennan publicly and proudly proclaimed during an NPR interview, today’s CIA disdains even the thought of having a reporting source who is involved with anything illegal. With the modernization of the CIA implemented under Brennan, this decidedly odd philosophy for an intelligence agency was cemented in place and has been left unchanged by subsequent CIA directors. As a result, congressional oversight was given probabilities by the current CIA director.
The probability is that the killing of Khashoggi was ordered, or at the least tolerated, by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, or Prince MBS as he has come to be known. Prince MBS does appear to have consolidated his power, and therefore, it’s likely he was aware of the plan to murder Khashoggi; he may very well have given the order. That said, we don’t know it for a fact and we will almost certainly never know for sure.
There is a chance, albeit a small one, that he didn’t know. That will play out, as cases of this nature almost always do. One, or perhaps a few, of the people involved will be arrested and punished to some degree or another. There has already been an arrest of one of the men allegedly involved.
Lack of Comparison
What isn’t being discussed by anyone, however, underscores the stunning hypocrisy of the mainstream media’s reporting—and profoundly underscores the purely political nature of using the news to criticize Trump.
Compare the large number of murders that have taken place in the United Kingdom by the Russians over the past few years. According to BuzzFeed News, 14 Russians have been murdered, most likely by Russian intelligence, which BuzzFeed has documented in its reporting. Personally, I would put the number at well over 20 in the UK alone.
Unlike Crown Prince MBS, Russian President Vladimir Putin has had decades to consolidate his power and has done so very effectively. He comes out of the KGB, and there is absolutely no reason to believe that anything happens within Russian intelligence that Putin doesn’t directly control. These are very precise one-for-one comparisons, and yet, the press doesn’t care a whit about the Russians who were murdered.
So, we have a Saudi killed in Turkey, probably by a Saudi intelligence hit squad, compared with a long list of Russian citizens killed in the UK, probably by Russian intelligence hit squads. Putin has far greater control over Russia than does the crown prince over Saudi Arabia, which makes Putin’s personal involvement even more certain.
However, the mainstream media runs a constant drumbeat of news about the Saudi murder, but, for the most part, ignores a killing spree by the Russians.
Brad Johnson is a retired CIA senior operations officer and a former chief of station. He is president of Americans for Intelligence Reform.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.