Saudi Arabia's al-Jubeir says crown prince did not order Khashoggi killing

WASHINGTON, Feb 8 - Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir on Friday told members of U.S.-based media that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman did not order the killing of the Washington Post's Jamal Khashoggi but declined to comment on a New York Times story that the prince said he would use "a bullet" on the journalist.

"We know that this was not an authorized operation. There was no order given to conduct this operation," al-Jubeir said.

On Thursday, the New York Times reported that a year before Khashoggi was killed, the crown prince told an aide he would use "a bullet" on the journalist if he did not return home and end his criticism of the government.

Those comments were made in 2017, well before Khashoggi was killed last October in a Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the Times said, citing current and former U.S. and foreign officials knowledgeable about intelligence reports.

Separately on Thursday, a United Nations-led inquiry into the murder said that evidence pointed to a brutal crime "planned and perpetrated" by Saudi officials.

Khashoggi's killing by a team of Saudi operatives on Oct. 2 provoked widespread revulsion and tarnished the image of the crown prince, who had been admired in the West for pushing deep changes including tax reform, infrastructure projects and allowing women to drive.