WASHINGTON (Reuters) - CIA Director Gina Haspel, in Turkey to investigate the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, has sought to hear a purported audio recording of his torture and murder, four sources familiar with her mission told Reuters on Tuesday.
Haspel flew to Turkey on Monday for what one source called a brief visit, three weeks after Khashoggi disappeared in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and days after U.S. President Donald Trump asked Turkey to share evidence it had collected.
Despite extensive news leaks alleging that Turkey has audio recordings documenting Khashoggi’s demise, neither U.S. nor allied government agencies have been granted access as of late Monday to such evidence, Western security officials said.
Saudi Arabia said on Saturday that Khashoggi - a U.S. resident, columnist for the Washington Post and critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman - died inside the consulate after a fight.
U.S. and allied intelligence agencies possess little hard evidence as they examine what role the crown prince, 33, may have played, officials have told Reuters.
Trump, who has forged closer ties with Saudi Arabia and the crown prince, last week said the United States had asked Turkey for any audio or video evidence. Some evidence has been verbally described to U.S. officials.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday dismissed Saudi efforts to blame the killing on rogue operatives but stopped short of mentioning the crown prince. He did not refer to an audio recording in his speech in parliament.
There are no plans for Haspel to travel to Saudi Arabia during her trip, sources familiar with the mission said.
Reporting By Mark Hosenball; Editing by Mary Milliken and Howard Goller