“There is no direct evidence” connecting the crown prince to the killing, Pompeo said at a press briefing. “I was asked to be here, and I’m here,” Pompeo snapped.
— James Smith (@InWhoseOpinion) December 4, 2018
These remarks came after Pompeo and Mattis announced that the White House had instructed Haspel not to brief the Senate.
Democrats in Congress’s upper chamber were not happy.
“We were told during this briefing that it was the direction of the White House that she not attend,” said Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill) at the time. “I cannot recall a briefing on such a sensitive nature where we have been denied access to the intelligence agencies of the United States.”
Durbin said he and his colleagues “asked why Gina Haspel wasn’t there, and the two who were there said that was the decision of the White House.”
Why did the Secretary of State and Dept of Defense both LIE about MBS involvement? Why are they covering up for MBS?
Who are Pompeo & Mattis loyal to? Trump or Country?
— Cathy Kaku 🍓 (@cathykaku1) December 4, 2018
Later that day, CIA Press Secretary Timothy Barret released a statement denying the agency had been asked by the White House to stand down.
“While Director Haspel did not attend today’s Yemen policy briefing, the agency has already briefed the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and congressional leadership on the totality of the compartmented, classified intelligence and will continue to provide updates on this important matter to policymakers and Congress. The notion that anyone told Director Haspel not to attend today’s briefing is false.”
Also last week, National Security Advisor John Bolton refused to hear audio recordings of Khashoggi being killed — because he does not speak Arabic.
On Monday, Bolton told Wall Street Journal Editor at Large Gerard Baker that reports of bin Salman’s involvement in Khashoggi’s murder were “erroneous.”
Bolton said he, Pompeo and Mattis “didn’t see anything” in the intelligence reports to “justify that conclusion.”