Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, facing criticism that President Donald Trump’s administration has sought to sweep away Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi’s killing, announced Monday that 16 Saudis, including one of the closest aides to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, were being barred from entry to the United States.
The list included the close aide, Saud al-Qahtani, who officially served as the royal court’s media czar, but appeared to have overseen the operation to seize Khashoggi. It was one of a dozen or so operations by what U.S. intelligence officials called the Saudi Rapid Intervention Group, set up by al-Qahtani to silence or eliminate dissent about Prince Mohammed’s rapid rise to become the Saudi leader.
But missing from the list is the crown prince himself, despite the conclusion by U.S. intelligence agencies that he was ultimately responsible for sending the team to Istanbul to kill Khashoggi, and for other actions by the Rapid Intervention Group.
Print Headline: Aide to crown prince among 16 Saudis U.S. bars from entry