By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL for the Jerusalem Post — JANUARY 5, 2024

Qatar’s regime was hit with a pressing call for US officials to investigate its alleged threats to American security over its access to sensitive atomic and weapons information on Thursday in a letter from The Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP).

ISGAP wrote Jennifer M. Granholm, US Secretary of the Department of Energy, and US Secretary of Education, Jose Berrios, about “alarming research findings exposing Qatar’s unreported and unregulated funding to Texas A&M University. Qatar’s substantial ownership of nuclear research and sensitive weapon development rights at the university, warning of a serious potential threat to US national security.”

According to ISGAP’s research, “Qatar has acquired full ownership of more than 500 research projects. at Texas A&M, some of which are in highly sensitive fields such as nuclear science, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, biotech robotics, and weapons development.”

The main campus of the sprawling Texas academic institution is located in College Station. It has a satellite campus in the tiny oil-rich Gulf state of Qatar called “Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ).”

Qatar aids terrorism by aiding Hamas

Dr. Charles Asher Small, director of ISGAP, said about his institute’s work that “These findings pose a potential national security risk to the United States. Qatar’s control over sensitive research and its access to nuclear information are alarming, with possible consequences reaching beyond the region and impacting the world.“

He added ” “This situation poses a clear and present national security risk to the United States, prompting our proactive approach in sharing this critical information with several agencies.”

Qatar regime’s has been in the crosshairs of US congressional representatives and senators for its role in providing material aid to Hamas in the Gaza Strip and hosting the leaders of the Hamas terrorist movement in Doha. The US and the EU classified Hamas as a foreign terrorist organization. Israel’s government said Qatar’s regime finances the US-designated terrorist entity, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

US congressman Jack Bergman (R-Michigan) said on the House floor in December, “Qatar poses the gravest and most profound threat to the national security interests of the United States in the Middle East.” Bergman also slammed the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera network for enabling Hamas’ terrorism ideology.

Kelly Brown, a spokeswoman for Texas A&M University, told The Jerusalem Post, that “TAMUQ does not offer a nuclear engineering program, and in 2021, the US Department of Education commended Texas A&M System officials for their ‘continued commitment to the disclosure requirements of Section 117 (Foreign Gift and Contract Reporting of the Higher Education Act of 1965) and the Department’s statutory enforcement obligations.”’

ISGAP told the Post that “The report shows clear discrepancies in the figures in the disclosures to the DOE. The DOE did not investigate these discrepancies. There are discrepancies between TAMU’s public statements and the actual contractual provisions governing TAMUQ’s operations and relationship with Qatar Foundation. The potential security risks outlined in the original article remain real.”

Brown said “TAMUQ’s research enterprise is governed by U.S. export control laws. And the US federal government has repeatedly recognized The Texas A&M University System for its efforts to protect intellectual property from foreign actors through its robust counterintelligence operations and research security controls.”

ISGAP fired back that “There is an undeniable flow of know-how from TAMU to Qatar. While TAMUQ may not officially offer a nuclear engineering degree program, the contract shows Qatar Foundation owns all intellectual property developed at TAMUQ. This includes research in fields like physics, computer science and bioengineering with sensitive defense applications.

TAMUQ professors also have access to TAMU’s nuclear reactors in Texas. So, the claim holds regarding the potential for sensitive information sharing with Qatar, which remains concerning.”

Brown said The role of the TAMUQ Joint Advisory Board (JAB) is advisory. The JAB does not have authority over academic or research matters, and it does not regulate TAMUQ programs, budgets, or operating plans. TAMUQ follows FERPA [The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ] procedures and requirements, and it does not share student information unless students approve such action.”

According to ISGAP the contract between Qatar and Texas A&M states “budgets and research are controlled by Qatar Foundation.

Regardless of what the JAB’s declared role is, the contract gives Qatar Foundation power over TAMUQ’s budgets, hiring decisions, etc. So Qatar can still exert significant control, despite TAMU’s public statements.” ISGAP added that “On the issues of student privacy and academic oversight, the contract language seems to undermine TAMU’s assurances. The agreement gives Qatar Foundation broad access to students’ educational records and academic curriculum oversight.”

When asked about Congressman Bergman’s accusations that Qatar sponsors terrorism and stokes antisemitism, Brown refused to answer Post press queries.

The Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) has issued a series of detailed reports over the years accusing Qatar’s ruling Al-Thani family of enabling Islamist terrorism, including protecting the mastermind of the 9-11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and spreading antisemitism.

ISGAP also sent its letter to Christopher T. Hanson, Chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Texas Governor Greg Abbott; Ted Cruz, U.S. Senator for Texas; and General (Ret.) Mark A. Welsh II, President of Texas A&M.