Senator Markey Lauds House Oversight Committee’s Interim Report on the Trump Administration Efforts to Transfer Sensitive Nuclear Technology to Saudi Arabia
Markey has repeatedly called for Congressional oversight of any 123 negotiations between the Trump administration and Saudi Arabia
Washington (February 19, 2019) – Senator Edward J. Markey, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement today commending the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform’s newly-released interim staff report titled, “Whistleblowers Raise Grave Concerns with Trump Administration’s Efforts to Transfer Sensitive Nuclear Technology to Saudi Arabia.” In the last Congress, Senators Markey and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Congressman Brad Sherman (CA-30) introduced legislation that increases Congressional oversight over any civil nuclear cooperation agreement – or 123 agreement – between the United States and Saudi Arabia. Since 2017, there have been reports of negotiations between the Trump administration and Saudi Arabia on a potential 123 agreement.
“As I have long suspected, this administration’s push for nuclear cooperation with Saudi Arabia appears to be more about putting politically-connected private interests above national ones,” said Senator Markey. “Since 2017, I have repeatedly pressed the Trump administration to meet its legal obligation to keep the Congress fully and currently informed about any negotiations related to nuclear cooperation with Saudi Arabia. But in light of Saudi Arabia’s recent, disturbing turn toward authoritarianism – including its openly-declared willingness potentially to pursue nuclear weapons in the future – I believe any discussion of nuclear cooperation with the Kingdom should be suspended indefinitely.
“The House Oversight’s report underscores why the Trump administration has not been forthcoming about its discussions with Saudi Arabia. We can now see the disturbing motivations behind the Trump administration’s push for nuclear cooperation with the Kingdom. I soon will be reintroducing legislation with Senator Rubio and Representative Sherman to ensure that Congress, not the Trump administration, is the final say in any civilian nuclear engagement with Saudi Arabia.”
In 2017 Senator Markey sent the first in a series of oversight letters to the Trump administration raising concerns about the status, transparency, and motivations for U.S. discussions with Saudi Arabia regarding nuclear cooperation.