US firms secretly approved for Saudi Arabia nuclear work: report

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Energy Secretary Rick Perry 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.

{mosads}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 Menendez (D-N.J.) and Marco Rubio (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 Cummings (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.

Tags Bob Menendez Elijah Cummings Marco Rubio Rick Perry

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