US intercepted Saudi plans to capture missing journalist, report says

U.S. intelligence agencies reportedly intercepted Saudi officials discussing a plan to capture Jamal Khashoggi, the journalist who disappeared after visiting the Saudi consulate in Turkey.

Top Turkish officials fear he was murdered and that his dismembered body was flown out of the country.

The Washington Post is reporting that before the journalist disappeared on Oct. 2, Saudi officials discussed a plan to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia.

It remains unclear if the Saudi government intended to arrest or kill the journalist known for his writings criticizing the Saudi leadership, or whether the U.S. government informed Khashoggi that he was the target of the Saudi government, the report said.

The State Department declined to comment. "As a matter of policy, we don't comment on intelligence matters," a department official told Fox News.

This image taken from CCTV video obtained by the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet and made available on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018 claims to show Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018.

This image taken from CCTV video obtained by the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet and made available on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018 claims to show Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018. (CCTV/Hurriyet via AP)

Saudi Arabia has been accused of being behind the disappearance. Saudi officials denied the allegations, calling them “baseless,” and saying the journalist left their premises.

But the allegations read like a movie script.

A squad of 15 Saudi Arabian men reportedly flew to Turkey just in time for Khashoggi’s visit to the consulate for paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancée. The squad left by the end of the day -- the same day the journalist was last seen -- raising questions about their role in the potential state-sanctioned murder.

Saudi Arabia denied the reports that they sent a team of their agents to Turkey, saying they only sent a team on Saturday whose aim was to find the missing journalist.

But Top Turkish security officials told the New York Times that the team of Saudi agents dismembered Khashoggi’s body with a bone saw and then flew out of the country. “It is like ‘Pulp Fiction,’” the official said.

"It is like ‘Pulp Fiction."

— A Turkish security official

The official said that most or all of the 15 men held roles in the Saudi government or security services. One individual was an autopsy expert and could have helped to dismember the body of the journalist, an unidentified official told the newspaper.

The official also said the journalist may have been killed on the orders of the highest levels of the Saudi royal court.

The findings, of which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was informed, may put additional pressure on the Saudi government which so far denied any involvement in the alleged killing or abduction of the journalist.

The journalist’s fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, wrote an op-ed on Tuesday expressing hope her man is still alive. “Although my hope slowly fades away each passing day, I remain confident that Jamal is still alive,” she wrote. “Perhaps I’m simply trying to hide from the thought that I have lost a great man whose love I had earned.”

Cengiz urged President Trump and his wife Melania Trump to help shed a light on the journalist’s disappearance. “At this time, I implore President Trump and first lady Melania Trump to help shed light on Jamal’s disappearance,” she wrote.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.