Riyadh: Saudi Arabia said it is creating three government bodies to increase oversight of its intelligence operations, a move that follows the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in its Istanbul consulate.
Saudi officials have said Khashoggi was killed on October 2 in a “rogue operation” led by the then deputy intelligence chief
Ahmed Al Assiri and royal court adviser Saud Al Qahtani, both of whom have been sacked.
King Salman subsequently ordered a restructuring of the main intelligence agency under the supervision of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has faced global criticism over the journalist’s murder even though the government denies he was involved.
A committee headed by the prince has approved the creation of three departments to ensure intelligence operations are in line with the national security policy, international human rights law and “approved procedures”, the official Saudi Press Agency said on Thursday.
The statement made no mention of the Khashoggi case.
The intense global backlash over the journalist’s killing has tarnished the prince’s international reputation and left the kingdom diplomatically weakened, analysts say.
It has also cast a fresh spotlight on the Saudi-led conflict in Yemen, which is gripped by what the UN describes as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
The US Senate voted last week to end American military support for Riyadh’s military campaign in Yemen, and separately held Prince Mohammed responsible for Khashoggi’s killing.
Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia slammed the Senate resolutions as “blatant interference”, warning that the move could have repercussions on its strategic ties with Washington.