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Khashoggi murder: Three Saudi names disappear from revised US intelligence report

US says it removed names 'erroneously' included in the initial report, which identified individuals complicit in the killing of the journalist
A man lights a candle by posters of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a gathering outside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on 2 October 2018 (AFP)
A man lights a candle by posters of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a gathering outside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on 2 October 2018 (AFP)

The US quietly updated a report naming Saudis complicit in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi on Friday by removing three names without explanation.

The original version of the declassified assessment released on Friday, which stated that "Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi," listed 21 individuals as complicit in the reporter’s death.

But in a revision published soon after, only 18 names were included. Abdulla Mohammed Alhoeriny, Yasir Khalid Alsalem, and Ibrahim al-Salim all disappeared.

'We put a revised document on the website because the original one erroneously contained three names which should not have been included.'

- Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) 

The first version has been removed from the website of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) but is still available in web archive.

"We put a revised document on the website because the original one erroneously contained three names which should not have been included," an ODNI spokesperson told CNN, without giving details on why they were on the list in the first place or any involvement they may have had in the killing.

A Senate Intelligence Committee spokesperson declined to comment, CNN reported, while the White House referred comment requests to the ODNI.

'Erroneous' inclusion

It’s unclear how and why the three now-removed names made their way into the first version of the report.

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One of the three men, Abdulla (sic) Mohammed Alhoeriny, reportedly has personal connections to Saudi intelligence.

He is believed to be the brother of General Abdulaziz bin Mohammed al-Howraini, a minister who runs the Presidency of State Security, which supervises several intelligence and counterterrorism agencies.

Alhoeriny appears in Saudi reports as the assistant chief of state security for counterterrorism, according to CNN.

Little information is available on the identities of the other two men deleted from the list, Yasir Khalid Alsalem and Ibrahim al-Salim.

A royal family insider turned critic, Khashoggi was killed and dismembered at Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul in 2018, in a case that significantly tarnished the reputation of the kingdom's de facto ruler, also known as MBS.

In a television interview on Friday, Biden said he told King Salman - the crown prince's father - that Saudi Arabia has to tackle human rights abuses as a precondition to dealing with the United States.

"[I] made it clear to him that the rules are changing, and we're going to be announcing significant changes today and on Monday," Biden said on Spanish-language network Univision.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed that Washington will not take action against the crown prince himself.