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Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

A CIA assessment says that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) communicated several times with his top adviser, who oversaw the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, before and after Khashoggi's death, according to the Wall Street Journal which reviewed excerpts of the assessment.

Why it matters: The CIA's conclusion that MBS directed the murder of Khashoggi has been disputed by President Trump, who said the CIA "points it both ways." But MBS said, according to the CIA assessment, that "we could possibly lure him outside Saudi Arabia and make arrangements" if he was unable to get Khashoggi to return to the kingdom, which the CIA says "seems to foreshadow the Saudi operation launched against Khashoggi."

Details: The CIA concludes in its assessment that there is "medium-to-high confidence" that MBS "personally targeted" Jamal Khashoggi, and "probably ordered his death," the Journal reports.

  • The team of people who killed Khashoggi was made up of MBS' "top security units in the Royal Guard," the WSJ reports. The CIA said: "We assess it is highly unlikely this team of operators...carried out the operation without Muhammed bin Salman's authorization."
  • It's unclear if the comments about luring Khashoggi to another country came directly from MBS or were being described by someone.

Go deeper

Nathan Bomey, author of Closer
51 mins ago - Economy & Business

Tesla delays Cybertruck until 2023

Tesla debuts the Cybertruck in Hawthorne, Calif., on Nov. 21, 2019. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Tesla is at risk of falling behind on one of the most critical products in the American auto industry: pickups.

Why it matters: Pickups are the most profitable segment in the business and account for the first, second and third best-selling vehicles in the country. Without a serious pickup strategy, Tesla could miss out on a huge source of future income.

Defense taking steps to mitigate civilian harm after botched airstrikes

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia on Sept. 1, 2021. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a directive Thursday to improve the U.S. military's approach to civilian harm mitigation and response, calling it a "strategic and a moral imperative."

Why it matters: The Pentagon has faced criticism for years for amassing civilian casualties in its missions, especially in the Middle East. New York Times investigations have found systemic failures in efforts to prevent civilian deaths, as well as a cover-up of a 2019 airstrike that killed dozens of women and children in Syria.

3 hours ago - World

Mapped: The world's most and least corrupt countries

Expand chart
Data: Transparency International; Map: Jared Whalen/Axios

The most corrupt governments in the world are in South Sudan, Syria and Somalia, according to Transparency International's annual index, while the "cleanest" are in Denmark, Finland and New Zealand.

  • Breaking it down: The U.S. is 27th, China 66th, India 85th, Brazil 96th and Russia 136th. Scroll over the map to see each country's ranking.

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