Did Obama Administration Really Give Uranium to Russia?

The New York Post this week revived the widely debunked claim that former President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton allowed Russia to gain control of 20 percent of U.S. uranium supplies.

The newspaper reported that Obama administration officials were aware of Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s “bribery, kickbacks and extortion” that enabled him to expand his atomic-energy operations in the United States. The Hill reported that in 2009, the FBI announced it had learned from witnesses and documents that Russian nuclear officials were laundering money and blackmailing people. Such activities would be in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

The Obama administration allegedly covered up the crimes as part of its attempt to “reset” the tense relationship between the two superpowers. The Post described Russia’s atomic-energy activities in the United States as top secret, with the White House keeping congressional intelligence committees in the dark. “The Russians were compromising American contractors in the nuclear industry with kickbacks and extortion threats, all of which raised legitimate national security concerns,” an unidentified source told The Hill.

Robert Mueller, the Justice Department special counsel who is investigating allegations that Trump campaign officials colluded with Russian operatives to interfere in the 2016 presidential race, was the FBI director until September 2013. “It’s hard to see how he can be trusted in that job (as special counsel) unless he explains what he knew about this Obama-era cover-up,” the Post declared in an op-ed.

During a press conference earlier this year, President Trump told reporters: “We had Hillary Clinton give Russia 20 percent of the uranium in our country. You know what uranium is, right? It’s a thing called nuclear weapons and other things. Like lots of things are done with uranium, including some bad things.” The president also made the allegation during his 2016 campaign. According to PolitiFact, the claim is “mostly false.”

The story apparently stems from a 2015 story in The New York Times. The newspaper reported that sometime between 2009 and 2013, the Russian atomic-energy agency Rosatom bought a controlling interest in the Canadian firm Uranium One. The company owns mines and related facilities in Wyoming, Utah and other U.S. states that represent 20 percent of America’s potential uranium production. PolitiFact noted that Uranium One does not own 20 percent of the nation’s actual uranium supplies.

The fact-checking website also stressed that Clinton’s State Department was not the only agency that approved the sale to Rosatom. She was not even one of the officials who cleared the way for the deal. The State Department’s representative in the negotiations, then-Assistant Secretary of State Jose Fernandez, told the Times: “Mrs. Clinton never intervened with me on any CFIUS matter.” He was referring to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

Other sources told the Times that U.S. officials were not worried about the Russian transaction compromising national security. Their only major concern at the time was the possibility that the sale could result in the United States becoming too dependent upon uranium from other countries. Russia and the United States reportedly have traded enriched and raw uranium for a number of years.

Source: NY Post
Photo: YouTube

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