US firms secretly approved for Saudi Arabia nuclear work: report

Energy Secretary Rick PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerryThe Memo: Drip, drip of revelations damages Trump Overnight Energy: Advisory panel pushes park service to privatize campgrounds | Dems urge Perry to keep lightbulb efficiency rules | Marshall Islands declares national climate crisis Cracks emerge in White House strategy as witness testifies 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.


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) MenendezRand Paul calls for probe of Democrats over Ukraine letter Senators ask Treasury to probe Brazilian meatpacker with major US footprint Top Foreign Relations Democrat calls on Pompeo to recuse himself from Ukraine matters MORE (D-N.J.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioFurious Republicans prepare to rebuke Trump on Syria Five ways Trump's Syria decision spells trouble Rubio criticizes Warren response on same-sex marriage opposition as condescending 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 CummingsCracks emerge in White House strategy as witness testifies Overnight Defense: Pentagon insists US hasn't abandoned Kurds | Trump expands sanctions authority against Turkey | Ex-Ukraine ambassador says Trump pushed for her ouster On The Money: Trump announces limited trade deal with China | Appeals court rules against Trump over financial records | Trump expands authority to sanction Turkey 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.