Donald Trump rushing to sell Saudi Arabia nuclear technology – Aljazeera.com
The Trump administration is bypassing the United States Congress to advance the sale of US nuclear power plants to Saudi Arabia, despite concerns it would violate US law guarding against technology transfers, according to a new report by a congressional committee.
Security analysts worry the technology would allow Saudi Arabia to produce nuclear weapons in the future, potentially contributing to an arms race in the Middle East.
Multiple unnamed “whistleblowers” have come forward to warn about White House attempts to speed the transfer of highly sensitive US nuclear technology to build new nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia, according to the staff report by the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
“The whistleblowers who came forward have warned of conflicts of interest among top White House advisers that could implicate federal criminal statutes,” Representative Elijah Cummings, the Democrat chairman of the committee, said in a February 19 letter to the White House.
The committee is investigating efforts by US nuclear power companies to win Trump administration approval to build nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries.
A key target of the Oversight Committee’s inquiry is an effort by IP3 International, a consortium of nuclear power producers that began lobbying during the Trump transition in late 2016 and early 2017 to win presidential approval to develop nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia.
Most recently, Trump met on February 12 with the IP3 International representatives and the CEOs of major US nuclear energy producers to discuss developing nuclear power plants in Jordan and Saudi Arabia, a meeting that was initiated by IP3’s founder, retired Army General Jack Keane, according to the committee report which cited Bloomberg News.
The IP3 proposal has been repeatedly promoted to White House officials by Thomas Barrack, according to the report. Barrack is a personal friend of the president who raised $107m for Trump’s Inaugural Committee. US prosecutors in New York are investigating the inaugural committee activities.
‘Chaos, dysfunction, backbiting’
The committee released documents describing the IP3 proposal. Cummings’ letter further demands documents and emails from the White House related to its discussions of potential nuclear power development in the Middle East.
Whistleblowers “warned about a working environment inside the White House marked by chaos, dysfunction and backbiting. And they have warned about political appointees ignoring directives from top ethics advisors at the White House who repeatedly and unsuccessfully ordered senior Trump administration officials to halt their efforts”, Cummings said in the letter.
Meanwhile, a US Senate proposal offered by Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat – with support from Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican – seeks to block Saudi Arabia from developing bomb material by prohibiting it from enriching uranium or re-using plutonium from any future power plants.