Killing Jamal Khashoggi: How a Brutal Saudi Hit Job Unfolded | NYT – Visual Investigations

Killing Jamal Khashoggi: How a Brutal Saudi Hit Job Unfolded | NYT – Visual Investigations

There were 15 of them. Most arrived in the dead
of night, laid their trap and waited for the
target to arrive. That target was
Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi critic of his country’s government
and its young crown prince. Since his killing in
Istanbul, Turkish media has released a steady
drip feed of evidence implicating Saudi officials. Weeks of investigation
by The Times builds on that evidence
and reconstructs what unfolded, hour-by-hour. Our timeline shows the
ruthless efficiency of a hit team of experts
that seemed specially chosen from Saudi
government ministries. Some had links to the
crown prince himself. After a series of
shifting explanations, Saudi Arabia now denies
that this brazen hit job was premeditated. But this reconstruction
of the killing, and the botched cover-up, calls their story
into serious question. It’s Friday morning,
Sept. 28. Khashoggi and his
fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, are at the local
marriage office in Istanbul. In order to marry, he’s told
that he needs Saudi paperwork and goes straight to the
consulate to arrange it. They tell him to
return in a week. It all seems routine,
but it’s not. Inside there’s a Saudi spy,
Ahmed al-Muzaini, who’s working under
diplomatic cover. That very day, he
flies off to Riyadh and helps concoct a plan to intercept Khashoggi when
he returns to the consulate. Fast-forward to Monday night
into Tuesday morning. Saudi agents
converge in Istanbul aboard separate flights. Muzaini, the spy,
flies back from Riyadh. A commercial flight
carries a three-man team that we believe
flew from Cairo. Two of the men are
security officers and they’ve
previously traveled with the crown prince. A private jet flying from
Riyadh lands around 3:30 a.m. That plane is often used
by the Saudi government, and it’s carrying
nine Saudi officials, some who played key roles
in Khashoggi’s death. We’ll get to Team 3
later on, and for now focus on these men from Team 2. This is Salah al-Tubaigy,
a high-ranking forensics and autopsy expert in the
Saudi interior ministry. Turkish officials
will later say his role was to dismember
Khashoggi’s body. Another is Mustafa al-Madani,
a 57-year-old engineer. As we’ll see, it’s no accident
that he looks like Khashoggi. And this is Maher Mutreb,
the leader of the operation. Our investigation
into his past reveals a direct link between Mutreb
and the Saudi crown prince. When bin Salman toured
a Houston neighborhood earlier this year,
we discovered that Mutreb was with him, a glowering figure
in the background. We found him again in Boston,
at a U.N. meeting in New York, in Madrid and Paris, too. This global tour was all
part of a charm offensive by the prince to paint himself
as a moderate reformer. Back then, Mutreb was
in the royal guard. Now, he would orchestrate
Khashoggi’s killing. And his close ties
to the crown prince beg the question,
just how high up the Saudi chain of command
did the plot to kill go? Early Tuesday morning, Khashoggi flies back from
a weekend trip to London. He and the Saudis nearly
cross paths at the airport. The Saudi teams
check into two hotels, which give quick access
to the consulate. Khashoggi heads home
with his fiancée. He’d just bought an apartment
for their new life together. By mid-morning,
the Saudis are on the move. Mutreb leaves his hotel three hours before Khashoggi
is due at the consulate. The rest of the team
isn’t far behind. The building is only a
few minutes away on foot, and soon, they’re spotted
at this entrance. Mutreb arrives first. Next, we see al-Tubaigy,
the autopsy expert. And now al-Madani,
the lookalike. The stage is almost set. A diplomatic car pulls out
of the consulate driveway and switches places with
a van, which backs in. Turkish officials say this van
would eventually carry away Khashoggi’s remains. From above, we can
see the driveway is covered, hiding any
activity around the van from public view. Meanwhile, Khashoggi
and his fiancée set out for the consulate,
walking hand-in-hand. In their final hour together,
they chat about dinner plans and
new furniture for their home. At 1:13 p.m., they arrive
at the consulate. Khashoggi gives her his
cellphones before he enters. He walks into the consulate. It’s the last time we see him. Inside, Khashoggi is brought
to the consul general’s office on the second floor. The hit team is waiting
in a nearby room. Sources briefed on the
evidence, told us Khashoggi quickly comes under attack. He’s dragged to another room
and is killed within minutes. Then al-Tubaigy,
the autopsy expert, dismembers his body
while listening to music. Maher Mutreb makes a
phone call to a superior. He says, “Tell your boss,”
and “The deed was done.” Outside, the van reportedly
carrying Khashoggi’s body pulls out of the
side entrance and drives away. At the same time,
the Saudis begin trying to cover their tracks. While Khashoggi’s
fiancée waits here where she left
him, two figures leave from the opposite side. One of them is
wearing his clothes. Later, the Saudis would claim
that this was Khashoggi. But it’s al-Madani,
the engineer, now a body double pretending
that the missing journalist left the consulate alive. Yet there’s one glaring flaw: The clothes are
the same, but he’s wearing his own sneakers,
the ones he walked in with. Meanwhile, the van
that’s allegedly carrying Khashoggi’s body
makes the two-minute drive from the consulate to the
Saudi consul’s residence. There’s several minutes
of deliberations but the van eventually pulls
into the building’s driveway. Again, it’s hidden
from public view. It’s now three hours since
Khashoggi was last seen. The body double
hails this taxi and continues weaving a
false trail through the city. He heads to a
popular tourist area and then changes back
into his own clothes. Later, we see him joking around
in surveillance footage. Over at the airport,
more Saudi officials arrive on another
flight from Riyadh. They spend just
five hours in Istanbul, but we’re not sure
where they go. Now we pick up
Maher Mutreb again, exiting from the
consul’s house. It’s time for them to go. Mutreb and others
check out of their hotel and move through
airport security. Al-Muzaini, the spy,
heads to the airport too. But as they’re
leaving Istanbul, Khashoggi’s fiancée is
still outside the consulate, pacing in circles. She’ll soon raise the alarm
that Khashoggi is missing and she’ll wait for
him until midnight. The alarm spreads
around the world. Nine days later, the Saudis
send another team to Istanbul. They say it’s to investigate
what happened. But among them
are a toxicologist and a chemist, who also
has ties to the hit team. He and Tubaigy attended
a forensics graduation days before Khashoggi
was killed. Turkish officials later say
that this team’s mission was not to investigate,
but to cover up the killing. Now the Saudi story
has changed, and prosecutors are
seeking the death penalty for several suspects
in Khashoggi’s killing. But that doesn’t include
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who many Western government
officials are convinced authorized the killing. Khashoggi’s remains
still haven’t been found.


  1. Our team feels honored that this video investigation was awarded Video of the Year 2018 and Best News Feature 2018 by the Society of Publication Designers at a ceremony in New York on May 3. Recognition of stories like this helps, a little, to further the case for justice, which his family has not yet received. Thanks to followers of the Visual Investigations team and supporters of our work.

  2. Wow! This is the best report of this case that I've seen. There is so much detail. It's so bad everyones comfortable with MBS i remember what the Americans and Brits did during the Scripal case, an attempted murder with no concrete evidence caused a massive diplomatic chaos. But the two countries ignored this. What a shame

  3. And evidence is gone just like the team that did the job. Just like the team that took out osama. Out of nowhere the whole seals team dead.

  4. And our governments still do business with cold blooded murderers! ??it’s all about the money that’s it and human life means nothing to them ?

  5. It's shocking how a normal person who has committed a murder can be arrested and prosecuted so easily but when a government's royal has organized a violent murder in a gang like behaviour no one can be arrested. Just read a couple news about this and read about how a few news sites published pretty solid evidence against bin Salman. Still nothing can be done. Money and power still rules our world, laws have no power here.

  6. As USA President Donald Trump said done by a rogue group in the team meaning from Egypt who came 1st were probably Satanic Talmudic Israeli Zionist Jews Mossad Agents to embarrass & black mail Prince MBS

  7. I know this is months ago but they won't find and never will find he's body just the same with Jimmy hoffa if done correctly he's body are already ashes by now and flowing down the Mediterranean Sea

  8. Shaking hands with Murderers ..This is USA today.. Wow..
    are u guys proud of it ? PM Trump surely is the most pathetic and disgraceful American president of all times. Obama was one of the most respectable and graceful. American public have lost their senses to select such a president.

  9. المملكة العربيةالسعودية (Saudi Arabia):

    Appreciation needs to be shown to The New York Times.

    This video includes coverage of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.

    He is a leader and someone who should be looked up to.

    All of the leaders of the MENA region are true leaders. These leaders have protected the Middle East and North African region since post September 11th, 2001.

    These leaders have been successful because they have not allowed an outside ideology such as communism, LGBT, etc. to spread in these regions. These leaders have been successful in regards to this and no one can deny this fact.

    This comment also acknowledges the many innocent lives that have been lost due to conflict and warfare in the MENA region since post September 11th, 2001. However, these innocent souls have given their lives to protect the truthfulness of the MENA region: British colonialism, the former Soviet Union, the United States of America, none of these powers have gained victory in this region and history testifies to this.

  10. Stay in your place, everyone. We are all the play things of the rich and powerful. Don't anger them, don't oppose them, let them do what they want if you value your lives. They will always win. They rule the world, you are here so they can toy with you and use you as they see fit.

  11. Its almost a year and no one has done any thing we all knows whos the killer is and we all know who gave the order but still we can not do any things .


  12. Let's hope all these pigs, including Mr. Bonesaw himself, will squealingly meet the fate they deserve when they get undone by even bigger monsters than themselves.

  13. These murderers were just mercenaries working for MBS. Khashoghchi was a US citizen and yet our administration did nothing because of oil.

  14. This is such a brilliantly made video but I can't watch it twice or even praise about it much because it gives me goosebumps to even think what happened to that guy. And more scary too because its real and after exactly one year, nothing much has happened to any culprit.

  15. Many might not know but khashoggi himself has ties with the Saudi royal family. He was super rich. His uncle was one of the most notorious arms dealer of his time. Adnan khashoggi. N Dodi al Fayed the alleged lover of Princes Diana is a cousin of Jamal khashoggi.

  16. With all these evidence how can they still escape justice?? What's the point of all those surveillance cameras if not for preventing crime or solving a crime? It's an insult to human rights.

  17. Strange but undeniable FACTS:
    1. She ( the prospective fiancé ) does not enters the Saudi Embassy.
    2. She ( "fiancé" ) stays until midnight waiting for him outside ( ??????!!!!! ). This is at least bizarre.
    3. Mobile phones to call eachother ?
    5. She is a crucial if not the most important person and bait for the planned killing. A) He falls in loven for her outside SA. 2) She is the bait chosen by the Saudis. 3) The Saudis pay her a considerable fortune to enact a love story who lead Kashobbi to fall in love by her. All according to a plan.
    6. She makes another reenactment on television to close the story.
    7. She now lives quietly and silent away from the media and having a very considerable big amount of money in a bank account in Switzerland under her name. "Thank you Royal H. for making me ritch by giving me a role in was critical but now totally unspoken".
    8. From meeting eachother to delivering him to his own death trap she is a complete paid actress for this horrendous murder to happen. Now she walks away unnoticed.

  18. He’s a clown. He was running op against us he was a bad dude. The reason nobody talks is because it was orcastrated and about taking out the deep state. This is bullahit. This is the deep Tate barritive. Got your number times. Deep state is on notice

  19. All Saudi are supposed to be swept out completely including there children since they r inhuman..I wish the Almighty God sends heavy rain of fire we forget they existed…

  20. Impresionante, lo mismo pasa en mi pais Honduras, aqui todo aquel que esta contra el gobierno nacionalista o si es defensor de derechos humanos aparece desmembrado…

  21. MBS has paid zero price for ordering the murder, dismemberment and acid-based dissolving of Jamal. The world should be ashamed.

  22. Everything was accurate Intel we got to the Dismembering part, He was dismembered or a front off camera and MBS on the other side watch and and giving commands.

  23. How about making a film on the racists no one cares about this crap propaganda the racists are the biggest terrorists in the world make a video on them what's wrong your scared.then I'll give you an award.

  24. Why didn’t they just assassinate him at his house or on road. I just don’t get why they did all this to assassinate him

  25. I don't understand a few incidents here
    1. A man meets someone and decides to get married within a few months.
    2. He decides to get divorce certificate from Saudi consulate even though it is not mandatory to get married again.
    3. Why did the lady not go with him inside the Saudi consulate office., when she had walked with him a week ago.
    4. Why did jamal kashoggi leave his phone with her without carrying it inside..
    5. When hours were passing instead of circling outside the office why didn't she walk inside and was surely not locked from within as there were people walking out of it as shown in the video.
    6. Did so many Saudi vehicle movements not raise an alarm that something is happening inside.
    Maybe I read a lot of detective stories…
    Whatsoever he should get justice…Ameen …Allah is the best of planners.

  26. Jamal fiance still stay calm outside,wait wait n wait..
    There dont know at the same time jamal already killed by the dajal sons…
    May allah give a fast karma to all the creator whos plan to killed jamal..
    Al Fatihah To Jamal

  27. Whole evil in the world comes from Saudi Arabia and his partners (Israel, England, America, France and other west sick countries) capitalism is their god, there is no humanity

  28. lol saudi arabia…if it not because of kaaba all muslims will not go to your country ….fcking hipocrite goverment…as well as the stupid brainwashed supporters…

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