Trump aides of­fer Saudis nu­clear deal

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Opinion -

The whole world has gone crazy, but some may be pleased that the epi­demic was born in Amer­ica, in Wash­ing­ton, which is the foun­tain­head of all things out-ofthis-world, bizarre.

The Wall Street Jour­nal, on Wed­nes­day reported that “Former na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser Mike Flynn and oth­ers within the White House ig­nored re­peated le­gal and eth­i­cal warnings as they pushed early in Pres­i­dent Trump’s ten­ure a plan to build dozens of nu­clear-power re­ac­tors in Saudi Ara­bia, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by a House panel re­leased on Tues­day.”

Here are the de­tails:

The House Com­mit­tee on Over­sight and Gov­ern­ment Re­form re­leased the re­port. The Demo­cratic-led panel said it was launch­ing a for­mal in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the pos­si­ble trans­fer of sen­si­tive U.S. nu­clear tech­nol­ogy to Saudi Ara­bia. The dis­cus­sions “ap­pear to be on­go­ing.”

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, Flynn and Derek Harvey, whom Flynn

hired to over­see Mid­dle East af­fairs on the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, worked closely on the plan with a group of re­tired U.S. gen­er­als and ad­mi­rals who had formed a pri­vate com­pany to pro­mote it.

The Wall Street Jour­nal reported many of the de­tails of the Saudi plan and Flynn’s ef­forts to ad­vance it in­side the White House in a se­ries of ar­ti­cles in 2017.

De­spite warnings from ca­reer White House staff and an or­der by the NSC’s top lawyer to stand down, the White House of­fi­cials and their pri­vate-sec­tor al­lies worked to place the idea on Trump’s agenda dur­ing a phone call with Saudi Ara­bia’s King Sal­man, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

For months, the Con­gres­sional Democrats have been prob­ing the is­sue, but un­til Jan­uary, were in the mi­nor­ity, lack­ing sub­poena pow­ers and other in­ves­ti­ga­tory tools.

In a let­ter Tues­day, to act­ing White House chief of staff Mick Mul­vaney, the com­mit­tee’s chair­man, Rep. Eli­jah Cum­ming, D-Mary­land, asked the White House to pro­vide, by March 5, all doc­u­ments it has re­gard­ing plans to build nu­clear power plants in the Mid­dle East.

The House re­port cited in­di­ca­tions that the White House con­tin­ues to pur­sue a nu­clear deal with Saudi Ara­bia, in­clud­ing news re­ports that Trump met on Feb. 12 with U.S. nu­clear power ex­ec­u­tives.

Some­how, we smell a profit mo­tive in this story.

One un­named se­nior of­fi­cial quoted in the re­port de­rided the idea as “a scheme for these gen­er­als to make some money.”

Called the “Mid­dle East Mar­shall Plan,” the ef­fort in­volved U.S. com­pa­nies build­ing nu­clear power plants in Saudi Ara­bia, by ad­vo­cates as a way to re­vive the mori­bund U.S. nu­clear in­dus­try, cre­ate jobs and re­assert U.S. in­flu­ence in the re­gion.

The com­mit­tee’s re­port is based on doc­u­ments ob­tained by the panel and accounts of uniden­ti­fied whistle­blow­ers. It deals pri­mar­ily with events in the first few months of Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion in 2017.

The on­go­ing story re­veals that the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has con­tin­ued to dis­cuss nu­clear co­op­er­a­tion with Riyadh, though the idea has be­come more con­tro­ver­sial.

In De­cem­ber, in the af­ter­math of Saudi jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi’s mur­der in the Saudi con­sulate in Is­tan­bul, a bi­par­ti­san group of law­mak­ers in­tro­duced leg­is­la­tion re­quir­ing Con­gres­sional ap­proval of any U.S.-Saudi nu­clear deal.

The White House de­clined to com­ment.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.