CIA Chief Briefs Trump On Khashoggi Probe After Turkey Trip

CIA Chief Gina Haspel                                                                   Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images/AFP


The head of the CIA on Thursday briefed US President Donald Trump on the latest developments in the investigation of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi after a fact-finding mission to Turkey, officials said.

CIA Director Gina Haspel delivered her report to Trump at the White House with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also present, State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said.

Haspel shared her “findings and discussions from her trip to Turkey,” said Palladino, who declined to discuss the substance of her presentation.

The CIA chief held talks Tuesday in Turkey as global outrage mounted over the killing of Saudi palace critic Khashoggi inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, where he went to complete paperwork for his upcoming marriage.

Pro-government Turkish media said that intelligence officers showed Haspel video images and audio tapes of Khashoggi’s killing gathered from the consulate.

The United States has a long-standing alliance with Saudi Arabia but on Tuesday slapped visa restrictions on 21 Saudis suspected of involvement in the killing.

Palladino said that the United States was still waiting for a more detailed probe by the Saudis.

“We want this as soon as possible. The longer the investigation takes, the more concerned we become about its impact and its efficacy. And the longer it takes, the longer there are questions about this tragedy that remain unanswered,” he said.

Saudi Arabia said Thursday for the first time that the murder appeared to be premeditated, but based its information on Turkey.

The kingdom initially said that Khashoggi walked out freely from its consulate and then said he died in a fistfight, abrupt changes in a narrative about what Trump has called “one of the worst cover-ups” in history.


Judge’s Absence Stalls Cynthia Osokogu’s Murder Trial

The absence of the trial judge in the murder case of the late Cynthia Osokogu on Friday stalled proceedings.

No reason was given for the absence of Justice Olabisi Akinlade of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja.

A court official merely stated that she was “indisposed.”

The matter was consequently adjourned till the 12th of April for continuation of trial.

Ms. Osokogu, 24, was allegedly drugged and murdered inside a hotel room in Festac Town in Lagos by men she met and became friends with on the social media site Facebook last July.

Okwumo Nwabufor and Olisaeloka Ezike; the principal suspects had been charged with conspiracy to commit felony and murder of the deceased.

The other suspects; Osita Orji, the pharmacist who sold the Rophynol drugs to the alleged murderers and Nonso Ezike who sold the deceased’s Blackberry phone were charged with reckless, negligent act and possession of stolen property respectively.

All the suspects were in court today, including Mr. Orji who had been out on bail after the judge ruled in his favour last month.

Nonso, Olisaeloka’s younger brother, who had also been granted bail, but under stricter terms is still in prison custody as he is yet to meet the conditions.

After the new trial date was confirmed, Mr. Orji left the court with a friend, while the other suspects waited for the prison wardens to take them back to the Black Maria.

The murder trial has seen the prosecution call two witnesses, both of them former employees at the hotel where Ms. Osokogu died.

Chris Obiaka, counsel to Mr. Orji said that the trial has been enjoying an accelerated trial, as promised by the judge.

“The important thing is not to rush proceedings. It is to ensure that justice is done and done accordingly,” Mr. Obiaka said.