The Energy Department withheld information for months.
The Trump administration approved sending nuclear technology and expertise to Saudi Arabia several times after the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) announced Tuesday, citing information from the U.S. Department of Energy, that the White House approved two such transfers after the Saudi government assassinated Khashoggi, the first of which occurred just 16 days after the journalist’s death. The second occurred in February 2019.
The approvals, which authorize U.S.-based companies to share nuclear information with other countries, were first reported on in March, but details about their timeline were not yet known. A total of seven transfers have been approved since December 2017.
Kaine first asked Energy Secretary Rick Perry in March, in a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, whether any approvals occurred after Khashoggi’s brutal murder. Perry responded: “I’ll get back to you.”
Two months later, and the answer is a very clear “yes.”
“President Trump’s eagerness to give the Saudis anything they want, over bipartisan Congressional objection, harms American national security interests and is one of many steps the Administration is taking that is fueling a dangerous escalation of tension in the region,” Kaine said in his Tuesday statement.
Members of both parties have expressed discontent about the White House’s nuclear approvals and its handling of the aftermath of Khashoggi's murder in general. Trump has refused to point the finger at Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and even Republican senators have been forced to point out his ignorance. But, in typical GOP fashion, the lawmakers haven’t taken action to back up their words.
It’s not surprising why the White House would be so comfortable with sharing sensitive and valuable information with a murderous regime. Trump has praised Saudi Arabia since the journalist’s death for being “very responsive to my requests to keeping oil prices at reasonable levels."
Trump’s son in law, Jared Kushner, also has close ties to the Saudi prince. And Kaine also said he has "serious questions about whether any decisions on nuclear transfers were made based on the Trump family’s financial ties rather than the interests of the American people."
Providing nuclear technology to governments that murder and dismember U.S. journalists is apparently fine with the Trump administration, as long as there is something to gain.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.