Speaking off the record to a Newsweek journalist working on a story about the Saudi leadership, he insisted he did not view himself as "an opposition" -- he just wanted "a better Saudi Arabia".
"I'm not calling for the overthrow of the regime, because I know it's not possible and is too risky, and there is no one to overthrow the regime," Khashoggi said.
"I'm just calling for reform of the regime."
He described Prince Mohammed as "an old-fashioned tribal leader" out of touch with Saudi's poor.
"Sometimes I feel that ... he wants to enjoy the fruits of First World modernity and Silicon Valley and cinemas and everything, but at the same time he wants also to rule like how his grandfather ruled Saudi Arabia," Khashoggi told Newsweek.
"He still doesn't see the people. When he sees the people, that's when the actual reform will start."