Saudi Arabia weighs blaming intelligence official for Khashoggi killing

The plan to assign blame to Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, a high-ranking adviser to the crown prince, would be an extraordinary recognition of the magnitude of international backlash to hit the kingdom since the death of Mr. Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi dissident. A resident of Virginia and contributor to The Washington Post, Mr. Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul 16 days ago…

General Assiri, who previously served as the spokesman for the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen, is close enough to the crown prince to have easy access to his ear and has considerable authority to enlist lower ranking personnel in a mission.

The Saudi rulers are expected to say that Mr. Assiri received verbal authorization from Prince Mohammed to capture Mr. Khashoggi for an interrogation in Saudi Arabia, but either misunderstood his instructions or overstepped that authorization and took the dissident’s life, according to the two of the people familiar with the Saudi plans. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief journalists.