- The Washington Post reports that key members of the Trump administration pushed a plan to sell nuclear power plants to Saudi Arabia in the months after the inauguration despite objections from members of the National Security Council and other senior White House officials, according to a new report from congressional Democrats.
- The New York Times reports the House of Representatives Oversight Committee report said former national security adviser Michael Flynn and two aides promoted the plan with Tom Barrack, the chairman of Trump’s inaugural committee, and a consortium of U.S. firms led by retired military commanders and former White House officials.
According to a press statement from the House Oversight Committee, on Feb 19, 2019, US Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, issued an interim staff report after multiple whistleblowers came forward to warn about efforts inside the White House to rush the transfer of highly sensitive U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia in potential violation of the Atomic Energy Act and without review by Congress as required by law—efforts that may be ongoing to this day.
The report states anonymous whistleblowers came forward with information about Flynn’s plans.
“The whistleblowers who came forward have expressed significant concerns about the potential procedural and legal violations connected with rushing through a plan to transfer nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia. They have warned of conflicts of interest among top White House advisers that could implicate federal criminal statutes.
They have also warned about a working environment inside the White House marked by chaos, dysfunction, and backbiting. And they have warned about political appointees ignoring directives from top ethics advisors at the White House who repeatedly and unsuccessfully ordered senior Trump Administration officials to halt their efforts.”
The report warns that that White House efforts to transfer sensitive U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia may be accelerating after meetings last week at the White House and ahead of a planned visit to Saudi Arabia by the President’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner:
“The Committee’s investigation is particularly critical because the Administration’s efforts to transfer sensitive U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia appear to be ongoing.
On February 12, 2019, the President met with nuclear power developers at the White House about sharing nuclear technology with countries in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia. In addition, next week Mr. Kushner will be embarking on a tour of Middle Eastern capitals—including Riyadh—to discuss the economic portion of the Administration’s Middle East peace plan.”
The report highlights concerning events involving Saudi Arabia, including the brutal murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, which was met with equivocation by President Trump and other top Administration officials, and the refusal by the White House to submit a report on Mr. Khashoggi’s killing that was requested on a bipartisan basis by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
The report indicates that there is now serious, bipartisan concern with the Trump Administration’s efforts to transfer sensitive U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia. For example, on October 31, 2018, Republican Senators Marco Rubio, Todd Young, Cory Gardner, Rand Paul, and Dean Heller sent a letter to President Trump urging him to “suspend talks related to a potential civil nuclear cooperation agreement between the United States and Saudi Arabia” due to “serious concerns about the transparency, accountability, and judgment of current decision makers in Saudi Arabia.”
The report describes new documents and communications between White House officials, including former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, former Deputy National Security Advisor K.T. McFarland, and former NSC Senior Director for Middle East and North African Affairs Derek Harvey, as well as with Thomas Barrack, President Trump’s personal friend of several decades and the Chairman of his Inaugural Committee, and Rick Gates, President Trump’s former Deputy Campaign Manager and Deputy Chairman of the Inaugural Committee who has now pleaded guilty to financial fraud and lying to investigators.
- See Cheryl Rofer’s Nuclear Diner for updated bios of the key people working with Flynn.
Cummings also sent letters to multiple entities involved with promoting this plan, including the White House; the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Energy, State, and Treasury; the Joint Chiefs of Staff; the Central Intelligence Agency; Flynn Intel Group; IP3; ACU Strategies; Colony NorthStar; and Mr. Barrack.
Previous Coverage on this Blog
Mike Flynn’s Nuclear Deal was a Non-starter for Business Reasons
The Russian deal presented by former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was a non-starter. It made no sense from a commercial perspective.
He attempted to ink a deal between Saudi Arabia and Russia for nuclear reactors linked to the lifting of U.S. sanctions under the Majnitsky Act. The mainstream media continues to describe Flynn’s involvement in the Saudi nuclear deal as driven by greed.
It isn’t clear that this was his sole motivation. What does appear to be true is that most of his wires for this project were crossed and shorted out before his plane ever took off from the U.S. to the Mideast in April 2015.
# # #