U.S. weighs more intel sharing with Saudi Arabia after attack-sources

by Reuters
Monday, 16 September 2019 13:50 GMT

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By Phil Stewart

WASHINGTON, Sept 16 (Reuters) - The United States is considering increasing its intelligence sharing with Saudi Arabia after Saturday's attack on Saudi oil facilities, which halved the kingdom's production and jolted world oil markets, U.S. officials told Reuters.

The U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not say how broad any increase in intelligence sharing might be or discuss other options being weighed by the administration as a response to the attack on the world's biggest crude oil processing plant.

But the United States, long wary of deep involvement in the war in Yemen, has only selectively shared intelligence with Saudi Arabia about the threats from Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi militants, who claimed responsibility for the attack.

Such intelligence shared with the Saudis has long lacked the kind of detail that would allow the Saudi-led coalition to pinpoint Houthi leaders or their networks, which the United States has long maintained are supported by Iran.

Any expansion in U.S. intelligence sharing could trigger a sharp reaction from Congress, where lawmakers, outraged over civilian casualties in the war, have made several failed attempts to halt U.S. support to the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.

They have also tried to prevent President Donald Trump from selling more arms to the kingdom without congressional approval.

Trump has said the United States was "locked and loaded" to retaliate and on Monday questioned Iran's claim that it had nothing to do with Saturday's attack. (Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Jon Boyle and Alistair Bell)

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