Ex-Saudi official claims crown prince boasted he could kill late king

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during a news conference at the closing of the G20 virtual summit, in the capital Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Nov. 22, 2020. (Balkis Press/Abaca Press/TNS)
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Bloomberg News (TNS)

A former Saudi intelligence official who says Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is out to kill him alleged in a U.S. television interview that he knows of a video in which the prince boasted he could kill then King Abdullah in 2014.

Saad Aljabri made the claim in comments to CBS’s “60 Minutes,” saying that the crown prince, who became heir to the throne and de-facto ruler four years ago, bragged at the time that he had “a poison ring from Russia” that could kill Abdullah by shaking his hand.

CBS said the Saudi government told the broadcaster in a statement that Aljabri “is a discredited former government official with a long history of fabricating and creating distractions” to hide financial crimes he allegedly committed. The Saudi government’s Center for International Communications didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment after regular business hours.

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MBS’s father, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, assumed the throne after King Abdullah died in 2015 and remains the official ruler.

Aljabri was the right-hand man of Saudi Arabia’s former crown prince and interior minister, Prince Muhammad bin Nayef, an elder cousin and former rival of the current crown prince, who’s also known as MBS. After Prince Mohammed gained power, Aljabri settled in Canada, where he lives in exile.

He filed a federal lawsuit in Washington in 2020 alleging the MBS deployed operatives in the U.S. to track him down and then sent a team to murder him, weeks after the assassination of the Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Aljabri suggested that MBS wants him dead because the crown prince “fears my information.”

“I expect to be killed one day because this guy will not rest off until he see me dead,” Aljabri told CBS.

Under the former crown prince and interior minister, Aljabri served as a key link between Saudi and Western intelligence services, particularly after the September 2001 terror attacks on the U.S.

Michael Morell, a former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency, told CBS that Aljabri saved “many” Saudi and American lives in his former intelligence role.

That includes his warning to the U.S. that allowed officials to foil an al-Qaida terror plot involving package bombs destined for two planes headed to the U.S. in 2010, according to CBS.

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