Some things in Saudi Arabia don't change. Jamal Khashoggi is dead, clearly the victim of a premeditated assassination ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The latest evidence leaked from the CIA to the Wall Street Journal is that MBS sent eleven text messages to the top aide who was running the torture murder of Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. But MBS remains in charge, and so it is no surprise that two of the former leading patrons of Jamal Khashoggi–Prince Turki bin Faisal and Prince Al Waleed bin Talal–have both come out as full-fledged MBS loyalists, denouncing US allegations that the Crown Prince had any involvement. Prince Turki issued a statement on November 24, declaring that the CIA should not be trusted or believed in their conclusion that MBS ordered the Khashoggi hit. "The CIA is not necessarily the highest standard of veracity or accuracy in assessing situations. The examples of that are multitude." Speaking at the Beirut Institute, the former head of Saudi Arabia's General Intelligence Directorate (GID) cited the US CIA claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction as the best recent example of the CIA getting it all wrong. "That was the most glaring and inaccurate of wrong assessments, which led to a full-scale war in which thousands were killed. I don't see why the CIA is not on trial in the United States. This is my answer to their assessment of who is guilty and who is not and who did what in the consulate in Istanbul."
The Faisal clan, including Prince Turki and his brother Saud bin Faisal, former Foreign Affairs Minister, have real estate holdings and other assets inside the Kingdom. Maybe that's one of the concerns behind the former Saudi intelligence chief making such preposterous statements to rally behind MBS. Within the Saudi Royal Family, everything is transactional, and as Col. Lang recently noted, the Saudi Royals believe that they are the true chosen people. Lying to infidels is part of the outlook.
Prince Turki was Jamal Khashoggi's patron for decades. Khashoggi was Turki's liaison to Osama bin Laden for many years (Khashoggi and bin Laden joined the Muslim Brotherhood at the same time in the late 1980s, in the midst of the Afghan Mujahideen operations. Khashoggi was an "imbedded journalist" with bin Laden's fighters, and Khashoggi's reporting put OBL on the map). When Prince Turki quit as GID head weeks before 9/11, Khashoggi accompanied him to London and then Washington when he was named Saudi ambassador to the Court of St. James and the United States. When Turki returned home, he resumed control over Al Watan newspaper and made Jamal Khashoggi the editor-in-chief.
While Turki's criticisms of the CIA WMD blunder on Iraq is correct to some extent, making the leap to denounce the myriad evidence of MBS's hand behind the Khashoggi murder is more an act of survival and opportunism than truth. So long as MBS remains on top, the surface loyalty will remain. Until it's not.