Turkish officials believe veteran Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi used a black Apple Watch to record the events of his disappearance after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul earlier this month.
Khashoggi, 59, was wearing the watch when he walked into the consulate Oct. 2 and synced it to a mobile phone held by his fiancee waiting outside and turned on the recording function, Turkey’s pro-government Daily Sabah newspaper reported.
The report said Saudi agents tried to unlock the watch using several password attempts. They used his fingerprint and deleted some files, the paper reported.
However, the Apple Watch does not have a fingerprint verification feature, according to Apple’s website.
Khashoggi’s consulate appointment was regarding his effort to obtain paperwork that would allow him to marry his fiancee. He has not been seen in public since and no footage showing him leaving the building has emerged.
On Friday, President Trump told reporters in Ohio, where he was to hold a rally, that the U.S. would uncover the truth about what happened to Khashoggi, who was a Washington Post contributor.
“We’re going to find out what happened,” Trump said about the disappearance, calling it a “terrible situation.”
“We’re going to find out what happened.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham said the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia would be “destroyed” if the Saudi government was involved in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“If in fact this is true that he was abducted and killed at the direction of the Saudi government, it will destroy the relationship as we know it,” Graham, R-S.C., said on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” Friday.
“If in fact this is true that he was abducted and killed at the direction of the Saudi government, it will destroy the relationship as we know it.”
Separately, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke to Khashoggi’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, the State Department said Friday, according to the Associated Press. No details of the conversation were released.
In an interview Friday with The Associated Press, Cengiz said Khashoggi was not nervous when he entered the Saudi consulate to obtain paperwork required for their marriage.
“He said, ‘See you later my darling,’ and went in,” she told the AP.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said if the Saudis have video of Khashoggi leaving, they should release it.
Saudi Arabia denies responsibility for Khashoggi’s disappearance and denies that it killed him, calling such claims “malicious leaks and grim rumors.”
“You can hear his voice and the voices of men speaking Arabic,” one person with knowledge of the recording told the Post. “You can hear how he was interrogated, tortured and then murdered.”
Khashoggi, who most recently had been living in the U.S, has longstanding ties to the Saudi royal family but had become critical of the government of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his country’s crackdown on dissent and its involvement in the war in Yemen.
Turkish investigators are focusing on 15 Saudi men who flew into Turkey hours earlier from Riyadh and exited the country the same day.
They entered the consulate around the same time as Khashoggi and left a short time later. The team included a forensic expert and intelligence officials.
Khashoggi’s disappearance has put international pressure on Saudi Arabia.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said he planned to introduce a bill to cut off military aid to the kingdom until Khashoggi is found alive.
British billionaire Richard Branson said Thursday that his Virgin Group was pulling out of discussions with Saudi Arabia over a planned $1 billion investment in the group’s space ventures.
“What has reportedly happened in Turkey around the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, if proved true, would clearly change the ability of any of us in the West to do business with the Saudi government,” Branson said in a statement.
Several media companies have also withdrawn from a planned Saudi investment conference.
Both Turkey and Saudi Arabia are important U.S. allies in the region. Trump said Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin will evaluate whether to attend the Saudi investor conference.
“The answer is for now I am,” Mnuchin told reporters in Bali, Indonesia, where he was attending a global financial meeting. “If more information comes out in the next week I will take that into account.”