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Critics Slam Obama Admin. for 'Hiding' Massive Saudi Arms Deal

Photo Courtesy - JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration has quietly forged ahead with its proposal to sell $60 billion worth of fighter jets and attack helicopters to Saudi Arabia without the usual amount of Congressional oversight, despite questions raised in legislative inquiries and in an internal congressional report about the wisdom of the deal.

The massive arms deal would be the single largest sale of weapons to a foreign nation in the history of the U.S., outfitting Saudi Arabia with a fully modernized, potent new air force.

But some critics are questioning the arrangement, and the seemingly backdoor efforts by the Obama administration to avoid a more probing congressional review. Congress was only notified about the deal last month, just as members were headed home for the November elections, leaving members of Congress just 30 days to review the sale and raise objections. The shortened review period concludes Saturday. With most members leaving Washington on Friday, any significant effort to block the deal appears dead for now, officials said.

The Obama administration has touted the deal as a boon for American jobs, and as a move to solidify the alliance between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia at a time when American intelligence is dependent on the Islamic nation for help in the war on terror. Earlier this month, it was a tip from Saudi intelligence that helped foil an al Qaeda plot to hide a bomb in a desktop printer aboard a UPS cargo plane.

The arrangement would ship 84 F-15 fighter jets and more than 175 attack helicopters to the Saudis over the next 15 years. The choppers in particular, would "bolster Saudi Arabia's counterterrorism capabilities," Gates and Clinton wrote in their letter this week to congressional leaders.

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