Mike Pompeo says Jamal Khashoggi murder violated international law
The top US diplomat nonetheless stressed that he wanted to preserve the decades-old alliance with Saudi Arabia and declined explicitly to criticize Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has been consolidating power.
"It's an awful thing that took place," Pompeo told conservative talk show host Brian Kilmeade.
"The killing, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the consulate in Turkey violates the norms of international law. That much is very, very clear," he said.
His remarks came as Turkey's chief prosecutor said that Khashoggi, a critic of the palace who lived in self-imposed exile in suburban Washington, was strangled as soon as he entered the Istanbul consulate, with his body then dismembered.
Pompeo, who was not asked directly about the Turkish findings, said the United States "won't rely on others" but would "develop our fact pattern" based on information it receives.
Pompeo said last week that the United States had identified 21 Saudis whose visas would either be revoked or who would be ineligible for future visas and said that more action would come.
But President Donald Trump has ruled out major actions such as ending arms sales to the kingdom, the largest foreign buyer of US weapons.
(With inputs from agencies.)