Three names were mysteriously removed from intel report on Khashoggi murder
Saudi Arabia hit out at accusations Jamal Khashoggi was murdered inside its Istanbul consulate (AFP/File / MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH)

Three names were mysteriously removed from a U.S. intelligence report blaming the Saudi crown prince for the grisly murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

The long-awaited report was published Friday afternoon identifying the Saudis responsible for Khashoggi's assassination, but it was soon taken down without explanation and replaced with another version that had removed the names of three individuals previously identified as complicit in the Oct. 2, 2018, murder, reported CNN.

The switch went largely unnoticed after the Biden administration announced that crown price Mohammed bin Salman would not face sanction or other punishment, despite the Office of the Director of National Intelligence making clear that he was directly responsible for the U.S.-based journalist's murder.

The DNI's office declined to say why the initial version of the report had been removed and then replaced with the names of three men intelligence services had concluded had been directly involved in the killing.

"We put a revised document on the website because the original one erroneously contained three names which should not have been included," the DNI's office said in a statement.