Sunday, 20 October, 2019

Trump 'selling nuclear tech to Saudis to enrich supporters'

National Security Adviser Michael Flynn speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House in Washington. The Democrat-led House oversight committee launched an investigation Tuesday into whether senior offic House Dems probe White House handling of Saudi nuclear plan
Patty Aguilar | 20 February, 2019, 13:41

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 an ambitious plan to build dozens of nuclear-power reactors in Saudi Arabia, according to a report released Tuesday by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

The committee's report alleges that the major drivers behind the effort to transfer of US nuclear technology were retired Gen. Michael Flynn, who served as the president's national security adviser, and Thomas Barrack, who chaired the Trump inaugural committee.

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 USA firms led by retired military commanders and former White House officials.

IP3 immediately denied any wrongdoing, claiming that - on the contrary - its main goal is to protect vital U.S. national security interests in the Middle East and beyond.

The White House, Flynn and IP3 had no immediate response to the report.

Flynn was sacked in 2017 and has since pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in the Russian Federation investigation.

The effort was continued after Flynn's ouster by senior White House officials despite warnings from top ethics advisors "who repeatedly and unsuccessfully ordered senior Trump Administration officials to halt their efforts", the report says.

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IP3 is led by a group of retired US military officers and national security officials, including retired Rear Adm. Michael Hewitt, retired Army Gen. Jack Keane and former Reagan National Security Adviser Bud McFarlane.

"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", the report notes.

California Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff, who heads the House Intelligence Committee, said his panel will work in conjunction with Mr. Cummings to investigate whether the Trump administration broke federal mandates under the Atomic Energy Act in its dealings with the Saudis.

Meanwhile, a US Senate proposal offered by Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat - with support from Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican - seeks to block Saudi Arabia from developing bomb material by prohibiting it from enriching uranium or re-using plutonium from any future power plants.

The report also quotes former Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland as saying Trump personally told Barrack he could lead the plan's implementation. Rick Gates, a former Barrack employee and cooperator in Mueller's investigation, was also involved in advocating for the nuclear proposal.

The most controversial claim in Cummings's missive, however, might be this: "Further investigation is needed to determine whether the actions being pursued by the Trump Administration are in the national security interest of the United States, or, rather, serve those who stand to gain financially as a result of this potential change in USA foreign policy".

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