The briefing offered concrete evidence that Saudi Arabia has advanced its missile program to a point that would run in direct conflict with long-established U.S. policy to limit proliferation in the region, the sources said. Ballistic missiles can carry nuclear warheads to targets thousands of kilometers away.
CNN also reported that the Trump administration had not disclosed this classified development to the Congress's key members.
CNN included a satellite photo in its story, which reportedly shows a ballistic missile factory in Saudi Arabia. Although it was known to have made some missile purchases from China a few decades back, it was not known to have pursued the ability to develop and build missiles.
Satellite images of a Saudi military base published in January by The Washington Post indicated that Riyadh was testing and possibly manufacturing ballistic missiles. "From bone-saws to ballistic missiles".
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang told a press conference in Beijing on Thursday that this cooperation did not violate global law.
The US had maintained its relationship with the Saudi leadership despite its role in the war in Yemen and the widely popular murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Tensions between the White House and Congress over Saudi Arabia have been at a fever pitch in recent months and hit their zenith over Trump's decision in May to declare a national security emergency to sell billions of dollars worth of armaments to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates without congressional approval. "Our cooperation is not in violation of global law and does not involve WMDs".
"While I understand that Saudi Arabia is a strategic ally, the behavior of Mohammed bin Salman can not be ignored". He allegedly was assassinated at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018 by agents of the Saudi government. "Now is not the time to do business as usual with Saudi Arabia", Mr Graham said.
United States lawmakers have also been outraged over the Trump administration's eagerness to send nuclear technology and expertise to Saudi Arabia - again skirting the normal USA process as Riyadh has not signed a so-called Section 123 agreement to guarantee peaceful use.