While speaking with reporters before meeting with the Lithuanian Minister of National Defence on Wednesday, Secretary of Defense James Mattis said they do not have a “smoking gun” connecting Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“We have no smoking gun that the Crown Prince was involved,” Mattis said. “Not the intelligence community or anyone else. There is no smoking gun. We have not changed that accountability for the murder is our expectation of everyone involved in the murder. Accountability is our position and it has not changed at all.”
“And by the way, I have read all the intel. I have personally read all the intelligence. I have read all the translations,” he added.
National Security Adviser John Bolton said he had not listened to the tape that captured Khashoggi’s killing because he does not speak Arabic, but can read the transcript:
"What am I going to learn from it?" National Security Advisor John Bolton revealed today that he hasn't listened to the Khashoggi killing tape because it's in Arabic pic.twitter.com/mgUL07Ny0X— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 27, 2018
Mattis revealed he had also not listened to the tapes, which is also due to not having them:
“No, I cannot understand that language, but I have spent more than enough time in service of our country,” he explained. “I know what grim circumstances can be. I needed to see what was said. I read the translations of what is alleged to be the tapes. We do not have the tapes. We do not have the tapes. Least I am not aware that we do. But I have read the translation twice, the day they were given to me, and I have also -- beginning around ted days ago, two weeks ago, ten days ago -- that I reviewed once again all the intel we have.
“I will tell you there is no smoking gun but our position has not changed,” he reiterated.