Former CIA Director John Brennan suggested that Saudi Arabia's denials of involvement in the alleged murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi "ring hollow."
"If Khashoggi had disappeared in Turkey when he was at a hotel or a private residence, I think there is plausible deniability on the part of the Saudi government. But he disappeared when there is video evidence of him being at the consulate," Brennan said, during an interview for NBC.
"Their denials ring hollow, very much ring hollow," he added. "To go after a permanent resident of the United States who writes for The Washington Post, and doing it on foreign soil, at a diplomatic mission, to me it would be inconceivable. That such an operation would be run by the Saudis without the knowledge of the day-to-day decision maker of Saudi Arabia, that's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. I think it is just beyond reality."
"He is aging and there are indications he has failed a bit, and whether or not now he is able to muster the strength and the capacity to find out what happened, including the role of his son," Brennan said.
According to Brennan, the de-facto leader of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has been "emboldened" by the relationship he has with US President Donald Trump and his senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Brennan worked in Saudi Arabia, first as a political officer at the US embassy between 1982-1984, and later as a CIA station chief, between 1996-1999. Talking to NBC, the former spook said that there have been past princes under King Salman who had been held accountable for transgressions of the law, if not executions.
Turkish officials claim that the journalist was killed within the consulate, but Riyadh denies all allegations, insisting that Khashoggi left the building under his own power on the same day that he entered it.
Turkish officials are currently conducting an investigation.