The US House of Representatives’ oversight committee has published a report following, it said, ‘multiple whistleblowers [having come forward] to warn about efforts inside the White House to rush the transfer of highly sensitive U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia in potential violation of the Atomic Energy Act and without review by Congress as required by law – efforts that may be ongoing to this day.’
The report notes both that the Trump administration’s dealings with Saudi have been marked by great secrecy, and that ‘within the United States, strong private commercial interests have been pressing aggressively for the transfer of high sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.’ It says that these interests, which have been in ‘close and repeated contact’ with the administration, stand to reap billions from contracts to build nuclear facilities.
But, it says, ‘[E]xperts worry that transferring sensitive U.S. nuclear technology could allow Saudi Arabia to produce nuclear weapons that contribute to the proliferation of nuclear arms throughout an already unstable Middle East…
‘When Congress passed the Atomic Energy Act, it imposed stringent controls on the export of U.S. technology to a foreign country that could be used to create nuclear weapons.
‘Under Section 123 of the Act, the U.S. may not transfer nuclear technology to a foreign country without the approval of Congress, in order to ensure that the agreement reached with the foreign government meets nine specific nonproliferation requirements. The whistleblowers who came forward have expressed significant concerns about the potential procedural and legal violations connected with rushing through a plan to transfer nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia. They have warned of conflicts of interest among top White House advisers that could implicate federal criminal statutes.’
The report includes leaked memos, and a timeline suggesting an inner circle formed in part by retired generals who have been advancing a plan to sell nuclear power to Saudi since Donald Trump took office.
It says, ‘Further investigation is needed to determine whether the actions being pursued by the Trump Administration are in the national security interest of the United States or, rather, serve those who stand to gain financially as a result of this potential change in U.S. foreign policy.’