The Government Accountability Office has released its findings regarding an investigation into the Trump Administration’s civil nuclear cooperation negotiations with Saudi Arabia, which included findings regarding negotiations done by the executive branch dating back to December 2009.
The investigation into cooperation with Saudi Arabia was requested on March 15th, 2019 by Senators Marco Rubio (R) and Bob Menendez (D). The Senators asked the non-partisan agency to launch an investigation into reports that negotiations under the Trump Administration were carried out without the proper oversight and in a manner that is inconsistent with previous negotiations.
With the findings being reported, the two Senators released a statement commenting on the matter.
In the statement, the two Senators thanked “the GAO for their efforts in putting together this important product.”
The lawmakers explained that they “requested this study because of concerns regarding how the United States has been engaging the Saudi government on nuclear cooperation, including why the Department of Energy, not the Department of State, took the lead in negotiations with the Saudi government.”
They added that they “remain, however, deeply concerned about the lack of interagency coordination and how it might lead to an agreement without proper safeguards to prevent nuclear proliferation.” As well, they remain “concerned over the lack of information shared with Congress as required by the Atomic Energy Act and urge the executive branch to adhere with the law and keep Congress fully informed of its negotiations on nuclear cooperation agreements.”
As a result of the investigation, “the GAO concluded Congress should amend the Atomic Energy Act to require regularly scheduled briefings to Congress regarding any nuclear cooperation negotiations.” Moreover, as the lawmakers “explore legislative changes to address these challenges, it is clear Congress must reassert its critical role in reviewing nuclear cooperation agreements to ensure these agreements do not pose an unnecessary risk to the United States.”