A report out of Turkey on Friday claims journalist Jamal Khashoggi used an Apple Watch to record and upload audio of his own interrogation, beating and execution to iCloud.
Jamal Khashoggi and fiancee Hatice Cengiz. | Source: Hatice Cengiz via The Washington Post
According to a Sabah Gazetesi report, Khashoggi recorded what is believed to be audio evidence of his death inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey more than a week ago. Sabah Washington correspondent Ragip Soylu posted a screenshot of the story to Twitter on Friday.
In its report, Sarah claims Khashoggi recorded questioning by a “hit squad.” A copy of the audio file was synced with Khashoggi’s iPhone, which was in the possession of fiancee Hatice Cengiz. Cengiz was waiting outside the consulate during the alleged exchange, assumedly within Bluetooth range of the Apple Watch in question.
The report does not specify what app Khashoggi used, how the audio was transferred to his iPhone or how it made its way to iCloud. Apple Watch does not support cellular functionality in Turkey, meaning the data was uploaded automatically via iPhone or, less likely, through a direct connection with a local Wi-Fi network.
Whether the report is accurate remains to be seen. As it stands, a number of key details of Khashoggi’s supposed last minutes are confusing or incongruent with presented evidence.
Following the allegedly fatal encounter, Sarah claims Saudis gained access to the watch using Khashoggi’s fingerprints and deleted certain files on the device. This suggests the so-called “hit squad” confiscated the journalist’s iPhone from Cengiz, something that has gone unconfirmed. The claims also assume Khashoggi’s Apple Watch was set to unlock with iPhone.
While Saudis were able to wipe certain files from Khashoggi’s device or devices, they were less successful in deleting data from iCloud, the report says.
Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post and critic of the current regime under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, disappeared on Oct. 2 after entering the Saudi consulate in Turkey to obtain paperwork necessary to marry Cengiz.
CNN in a Friday report citing a Western intelligence source said Turkish authorities have audio and video evidence of an attack and ensuing struggle in the consulate. The evidence, characterized as “shocking and disgusting” by the unnamed source, also proves Khashoggi was killed.
Whether the audio evidence and the supposed Apple Watch recording are one and the same is unknown.
In its own coverage of the incident, The Washington Post claims Mohammed sought to lure Khashoggi back to his homeland, where he would be detained. The theory is based on information from Turkish officials who say two teams of Saudis totaling 15 men entered the country in what appears to be a “rendition” operation.
Previous reports speculated health data from Khashoggi’s Apple Watch might be used to assist in the ongoing investigation.