US-Saudi Arms Deal Defended by Gates, Clinton

11.19.10 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

A $60 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia — the largest in U.S. history — is poised to proceed despite questions raised by some members of Congress. In a November 16 letter to Congress (pdf), Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defended the deal:

“This proposed sale will directly support U.S. interests by reinforcing our longstanding defense and security partnership with Saudi Arabia, enhancing Saudi Arabia’s ability to deter and defend itself against terrorist groups and other regional threats, improving interoperability with the U.S. military, and sending a strong message to all countries that the United States is committed to supporting the security of its key partners and allies in the Gulf and broader Middle East,” they wrote.

Members of Congress had written to the Administration on November 12 (pdf) “to raise concerns and pose a number of strategic questions about the impact such sales would have on the national security interests of the United States and our allies.” The Gates-Clinton letter was written in response.