Team Trump keeps pushing deal to send nuclear tech to Saudis

By | March 4, 2019

The Daily Beast reports:

The Trump administration is still actively working to make a deal to send U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia, according to two U.S. officials and two professional staffers at federal agencies with direct knowledge of those conversations. American energy businesses are still hoping to cash in on Riyadh’s push for energy diversification.

“This could be a very big contract. This administration is all about contracts,” said Hussein Ibish, a resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. “And there is a big market here that U.S. companies can get in on. The question is if the U.S. will decide, in the end, to go through with an official agreement or not.”

During the first few months of President Trump’s administration, members of his team tried to pull together a nuclear export deal that included private U.S. companies, according to three people with direct knowledge of those efforts and a congressional report issued in late February.

That pursuit raised concerns at the time among professional staff inside the Departments of Energy, State, and Commerce. Those worries grew as it became clear that members of the administration had not engaged in regulatory and legal conversations about the export of such technology. Worse, the nuclear export plan was, in essence, the work of a single company. The firm, IP3, was connected to a pack of former generals, including then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and its proposal was “not a business plan,” one senior political official told investigators from the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, but rather “a scheme for these generals to make some money.” [Continue reading…]

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