White House Plan to Sell Saudis Nuclear Technology May Be Illegal

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: House Democrats are accusing the Trump administration of moving toward transferring highly sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia in potential violation of U.S. law. Critics say the deal could endanger national security while enriching close allies of President Trump. Saudi Arabia is considering building as many as 16 nuclear power plants by 2030, but many critics fear the kingdom could use the technology to develop nuclear weapons and trigger a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. During an interview with 60 Minutes last year, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made clear that if Iran acquired nuclear weapons, Saudi Arabia would do the same.

CROWN PRINCE MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN: [translated] Saudi Arabia does not want to acquire any nuclear bomb. But without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: On Thursday, the House Oversight Committee issued an interim report on the proposed Saudi deal, after multiple whistleblowers came forward accusing several top White House advisers and Trump allies of attempting to push through the transfer of the nuclear technology despite legal and ethical warnings. At the center of the controversy is the company IP3, which was formed to help U.S. companies build nuclear plants in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the region, in what they dubbed a “Middle East Marshall Plan.” Former national security adviser Michael Flynn worked as an adviser for a subsidiary of the firm before entering the White House, and reportedly continued to advocate on behalf of the company once in office. IP3 was co-founded by former Reagan official Bud McFarlane, who pleaded guilty to participating in the Iran-Contra cover-up in 1988.

AMY GOODMAN: The House report also names several other high-ranking Trump officials and allies reportedly involved in the proposed Saudi deal, including Trump’s son-in-law, his adviser Jared Kushner; Energy Secretary Rick Perry; and Trump’s billionaire…

Read more