Trump aides offer Saudis nuclear deal
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.