US firms secretly approved for Saudi Arabia nuclear work: report

Energy Secretary Rick PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerrySenior Trump administration official to leave post next week Overnight Energy: Trump doesn't mention climate change in speech touting environmental policies | Green groups fight EPA's new FOIA rule | Trump emissions rollback hit with legal challenge Trump touts environmental policies, but says nothing of climate change MORE reportedly approved six authorizations for U.S. companies to sell Saudi Arabia nuclear technology.

Under the approvals, or Part 810 authorizations, the companies will be authorized to divulge certain details about nuclear technology and the specifics of plans for working in Saudi Arabia, according to The Daily Beast. A firm would need such an authorization to transfer documents, electronic media or “knowledge and expertise” to the nation, the news outlet noted.

ADVERTISEMENT

The document does not make clear which companies received authorizations from the Department of Energy, according to The Daily Beast, but a source told it that U.S. firms can request their authorizations be kept private and the companies receiving the Part 810s have requested this option.

"No enrichment or reprocessing technology has been authorized to Saudi Arabia," an Energy Department official told The Hill. "Part 810 requests contain business proprietary information. By law, these authorizations go through a multi-agency review process."

The U.S. relationship with the Saudi government has been under particular scrutiny in the wake of revelations about the killing of Saudi journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi.

Earlier this month, Sens. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report Dem senators demand GOP judicial group discloses donors Senate passes .5B border bill, setting up fight with House MORE (D-N.J.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioTrump administration denies temporary immigrant status to Venezuelans in US Colombian official urges more help for Venezuelan migrants Lawmakers introduce bill to block U.S. companies from doing business with Huawei MORE (R-Fla.) called for an investigation into the Trump administration’s negotiations with Saudi Arabia over nuclear technology.

"We request that [Government Accountability Office] conduct an urgent review of [the Department of Energy's] interactions with Saudi Arabia regarding nuclear cooperation, how it has coordinated with or involved other relevant agencies, particularly the State Department, and the specific initiatives or proposals for nuclear cooperation that have been presented or discussed in those interactions," the senators wrote to the congressional watchdog.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee has also launched a probe into allegations senior White House officials pushed for the sale of nuclear technology to the Saudis over the warnings of ethics advisers.

In February, committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsLawmakers pay tribute to late Justice Stevens House poised to hold Barr, Ross in contempt Trump's family separation policy has taken US to 'lowest depth possible,' says former immigration lawyer MORE (D-Md.) sent letters to several people and organizations reputedly involved in promoting the sales, including the White House; the CIA; the Commerce, Defense, Energy, State and Treasury departments; and companies advised by former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Updated at 9:34 a.m.