Members of Saudi hit squad that killed Jamal Khashoggi ‘received training with private firm in the US’
- 17-member team killed and dismembered Khashoggi inside Istanbul consulate
- Some of that team received training in the US under state licence, it is claimed
- Tier 1 Group, based in Arkansas, is said to have provided the training course
- Training has now been suspended and licence is under review, sources said
Members of a Saudi hit squad that killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul were trained in the US, it has been claimed.
Tier 1 Group, based in Arkansas, is said to have carried out at least some special operations training with members of the strike team, the Washington Post reports.
It is not clear how many members of the 17-person team received the training, or what exactly the course involved.
Several members of the 17-man team that killed and then dismembered Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul were trained in America, it is claimed
The Post also claims the training was carried out under a State Department licence.
‘The training occurred before the Khashoggi incident, as part of ongoing liaison with the Saudis, and it hasn’t been resumed,’ columnist David Ignatius wrote.
He said several other US-Saudi security exchange programs also have been suspended.
The news emerged from CIA and Saudi sources after the CIA warned other government agencies about the link.
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Cerberus Capital Management, a New York-based firm which owns Tier 1, would neither confirm nor deny whether any of the assassins had trained with them.
The news was revealed by Ignatius, a columnist for the paper and friend of Khashoggi, who also revealed more details about his death.
A Saudi source who spoke to Ignatius revealed that the Saudi agents who confronted Khashoggi inside the consulate told him that he was being taken back to his home country before trying to seize him.
The source said that a transcript reveals that Khashoggi was then given an injection, likely a powerful sedative, before a bag was placed over his head.
American intelligence services say Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the operation directly, but he has blamed it on rogue elements of the state
Khashoggi can be heard screaming ‘I can’t breathe. I have asthma. Don’t do this’ before dying a short time later, the paper claims.
After his death, the transcript describes a buzzing noise, perhaps from an electric saw as his body is cut into pieces.
A critic of the Saudi regime, Khashoggi was killed and dismembered October 2 in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by a team of 15 agents sent from Riyadh. His body has never been recovered.
After having denied the murder, Saudi Arabia said the operation was carried out by agents who were out of control. A trial of 11 suspects opened earlier this year in Saudi Arabia.
But much of the case remains shrouded, beginning with the role of Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince and de facto ruler, Mohammed bin Salman.
The US Senate, after a closed-door briefing by the CIA, adopted a resolution naming the crown prince as ‘responsible’ for the murder, while President Donald Trump has refused to publicly take a stand.
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