US firms secretly approved for Saudi Arabia nuclear work: report

Energy Secretary Rick PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerryHouse Dems propose billions in extra funding for environmental programs that Trump sought to cut Overnight Energy: States fight Trump rollback of Obama lightbulb rules | Greens seek hearing over proposed rule on energy efficiency tests | Top Dem asks GAO to investigate climate threat States fight Trump rollback of Obama lightbulb rules 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.

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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) MenendezEnding the Cyprus arms embargo will increase tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean We can accelerate a cure for Alzheimer's The Hill's 12:30 Report: Manafort sentenced to total of 7.5 years in prison MORE (D-N.J.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioTensions swirl around Iran as administration to brief Congress Tensions swirl around Iran as administration to brief Congress Ending the Cyprus arms embargo will increase tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean 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 CummingsThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget On The Money: Judge upholds House subpoena for Trump financial records | Trump vows to appeal ruling by 'Obama-appointed judge' | Canada, Mexico lift retaliatory tariffs on US | IRS audit rate falls House Oversight Committee requests information on reported Trump plan to send TSA employees to border 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.