US Vice President Mike Pence said on Wednesday the United States is ready to help in any way in the investigation of the disappearance of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to Reuters.
The administration has expressed concern but has refused to even to entertain questions about what the consequences would be if allegations turn out to be true - that the 59-year-old journalist was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul after entering it on October 2 to get routine paperwork for his marriage while his Turkish fiancee waited outside.
Whether this refers to the new General Directorate for Investigation as part of new Saudi state security departments created a year ago is unclear.
She added: "Although this incident could potentially fuel a political crisis between the two nations, let us not lose sight of the human aspect of what happened".
She alerted authorities to Khashoggi's disappearance after he did not exit the consulate, where she had been waiting outside for him.
The allegation that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate has been rejected by Saudi Arabia, which claims the dissident journalist left the premises alive.
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Pence was asked on the Hugh Hewitt syndicated radio program if Washington would send FBI investigators to Turkey if Saudi Arabia requested it.
The Saudis were discussing a plan to lure Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, back to the kingdom, the newspaper claims, citing a person familiar with the communications, which were intercepted before he vanished. It was not clear whether the Saudis meant to arrest and interrogate Khashoggi or to kill him, or if the United States warned Khashoggi that he was a target, this person said. The video suggests that Khashoggi was in the vehicle at the time. It's a very serious situation for us and for this White House ...
The individuals checked in to two hotels close to the consulate, the daily said.
Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee.
So far, no one has produced any footage allegedly showing Khashoggi leaving the consulate. I received an answer that further fuelled my fears: Jamal had already left, they told me, possibly without my noticing. "I've never heard of an embassy in my life that doesn't tape". "But I don't want to rush to judgment".
The journalist was known as a critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's increasingly authoritarian posture toward dissent in the Kingdom.
A total of 25 to 30 professional and non-professional journalists are now believed to be detained in Saudi Arabia, which is ranked 169th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2018 World Press Freedom Index, the organisation also said.
It comes as The New York Times reports that highly placed Turkish security sources told the publication that Khashoggi was killed within hours of entering the consulate by a special hit squad on the orders of the Saudi royal court, and that his body had been dismembered with a bone saw.