The meeting was in a hurry and was as dangerous to Jamal Khashoggi as they were coming. A well-known Saudi Arabian journalist in exile in the northern suburbs of Virginia was furious with his government. He had just learned that it imposed a travel ban on his adult son and prevented him from leaving Saudi Arabia. This is a clear punishment for the increasingly powerful criticism of Khashoggi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
And on the morning of October 26, 2017, the excited Khashoggi did something that was unthinkable just a few years ago. He immediately calls a former FBI agent working for the families of the 9/11 victims suing his government to discuss how he can help them. I asked you to get together.
The rendezvous of former agents Catherine Hunt and Khashoggi at a coffee shop in northern Virginia that morning has long been the subject of mystery and conspiracy. Why would Khashoggi want to talk to a representative of a lawyer who was once a Saudi spin doctor who actively defended his country in the 9/11 incident and is trying to hold the government responsible for the terrorist attacks? And more importantly, did a senior Saudi official know what he was doing until that morning? And if they knew, did it affect his brutal massacre at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in less than a year?
In a special bonus episode of the Yahoo News podcast Conspiracyland, Hunt, a veteran agent involved in counter-terrorism and intelligence proceedings from Los Angeles to Baghdad, exclusively describes a strange encounter with a Saudi journalist. It comes when lawyers for the families of the victims are entering a new and decisive stage in their case, recently expelling three of their most important witnesses: former Saudi embassy officials, A mosque funded by the reputed Saudi intelligence agency and the radical Imam Saudi Arabian government. The FBI was suspected of helping two al-Qaeda hijackers by 9/11.
Given that the family’s proceedings against the Saudi Arabian government remain covered by the gag order imposed by the court and the “state secret” privilege imposed by the blocked former Attorney General William Barr. It’s not clear yet. Important details about the FBI’s investigation into the role of Saudi Arabia on 9/11 will be released. (Family lawyers are asking the current Attorney General, Merrick Garland, to release his privileges with the help of a member of the House of Representatives.)
But in any case, the encounter with Khashoggi’s hunt stands out. It seemed that the 9.11 family and their legal team were seeking the help of a connected Saudi insider with a deep knowledge of his country’s interaction with al-Qaeda, at least for a short time. Represents an intriguing moment.
In fact, it was Khashoggi’s unique career that Hunt first urged him to contact, as a former friend of Osama bin Laden, who was later hired as a powerful Saudi prince media adviser and former chief of Saudi intelligence. was. , About 2 weeks before the meeting.
“Looking back at the history of his career, he had a tremendous amount of connections and access to information,” Hunt said. “So he was in a position that could really be very helpful to us.”
When she first talked to Khashoggi, according to Hunt, he was “very interested” in gathering, so they started discussing the setting of the meeting. And early in the morning of October 26, Khashoggi called her and said she wanted to move the meeting up. He said he had an urgent job and wanted to see him soon. She hurried to the coffee shop at the Tysons Corner shopping mall proposed by Khashoggi. When she got there, she said he was “very angry” that his son had been barred from leaving Saudi Arabia by authorities. As Khashoggi explained, it happened only because he was “targeted by the administration.”
At that point, Hunt said: “He began to teach me a lot about the Ministry of Islam, and they were responsible for spreading Islam around the world. He was actually spreading a fundamental version of Islam. , Explained that the current government is trying to reform its position.
“He said it in more questions:’Is my country responsible for tolerating and even supporting radicalism? Yes, and they have to take that responsibility.”
Even that relatively small concession considered Hunt to be “golden.” Here was a prominent Saudi Arabian who appears to be ready to say that his country should be held accountable for the radical Islamic epidemic and subsequent acts of terrorism. But then Khashoggi said something even more amazing. He asked if Hunt, a law firm based in New York, was working. Kleindra & Kleindler was ready to offer him a job as a consultant for the 9/11 family legal team. If so, he emphasized, they would have to keep it secret. In the Washington, DC region, where Saudi Arabia’s presence was widespread, there is no better gathering.
“He was very interested in talking about it,” Hunt said. “He wanted to hold the next meeting in New York instead of the DC area.
“I was excited,” she added. “I was thrilled because he was so positive about it. I think he was able to add a tremendous amount.” Regarding Khashoggi’s motive for making such an offer, Hunt said: I will. And if you do, I think working with a law firm would have given him game chips. “
However, Hunt never contacted Khashoggi again. And until more than a year after being killed at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, a few weeks later, the importance of their meeting was not fully communicated. Saudi Arabian ambassador at the time, Calid bin Salman (or KBS, brother of Mohammed bin Salman), reported that he may have played a role in attracting Khashoggi to Istanbul. The ambassador tweeted that he had not contacted Khashoggi on October 26, 2017, on the same day as the meeting with Hunt, because he had a textual contact with Khashoggi.
Khashoggi and KBS (Deputy Defense Minister of the country who met with Biden administration officials this week Traveling to Washington) The text message or communication about the day remains unknown. However, Jim Klineler, chief lawyer for the 9/11 family, said he was confident that Khashoggi would use his meeting with the Saudi ambassador to help his son in a meeting with Hunt.
“There is no doubt that after talking to Catherine, he called KBS and said,” Hey, the plaintiff’s lawyer had an FBI agent talking to me. ” I haven’t given them anything yet, but you know, you ruin my son and I’m going to spill beans. “
Indeed, Kleindler does not have solid evidence to support his speculation. However, the strange timing of Khashoggi’s meeting with Hunt was many around the last years of the journalist’s life before the Saudi assassin team injected him on the same day he was in contact with the Saudi ambassador. Adding another mystery to the people A lethal dose of drug suffocated him and carved his body inside the Istanbul Consulate.
If you miss it:
Episode 1: “Exclusive: Saudi assassin picked up illegal drugs to kill Khashoggi in Cairo”
Episode 2: “Weapons, Harlems, Yachts Owned by Trump: How Khashoggi’s Family Helped Establish a Saudi Relationship with the United States”
Episode 3: “‘I cried with sorrow for you’: A long-standing relationship between the murdered journalist and Osama bin Laden.”
Episode 4: “From Royal Insider to Target: How the Arab Spring Pushed Jamal Khashoggi into the Crosshairs of Saudi Arabian Leaders”
Episode 5: “‘A personality type that doesn’t feel guardrails at all’: How Saudi leaders captivated Washington while cracking down on their enemies.”
Episode 6: “”Direct traces of blood drops from Twitter hacking to Jamal Khashoggi’s murder“
Episode 7: “‘He didn’t give anyone a big picture of his life’: On his last day, Jamal Khashoggi juggled an American secret wife and a Turkish fiancé.”
Episode 8: “‘Did you have a bone saw?’ How did Trump help whiten the Saudi killing of Jamal Khashoggi?”
Bonus Episode 1: “Assassin training“”
Cover thumbnail photo Illustration: Yahoo News; Photo: Eric Fefferberg / AFP via Getty Images, Middle East Monitor / Handout via Reuters, Robert Gillow / Getty Images
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