Saturday, July 29, 2006

But We're Safer From Terrorism Now, Right?

(AP) Undercover government investigators purchased sensitive surplus military equipment such as launcher mounts for shoulder-fired missiles and guided missile radar test sets from a Defense Department contractor...

In June, two GAO investigators spent $1.1 million on such equipment at two excess property warehouses. Their purchases included several types of body armor inserts used by troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, an all-band antenna used to track aircraft, and a digital signal converter used in naval surveillance.

"The body armor could be used by terrorists or other criminal activity," noted the report, obtained Friday by The Associated Press.

"Many of the other military items have weapons applications that would also be useful to terrorists." Thousands of items that should have been destroyed were sold to the public, the report said. Much of the equipment was sold for pennies on the dollar...

At least 2,669 sensitive military items were sold to 79 buyers in 216 sales transactions from November 2005 to June 2006.

It wouldn't be so bad if the GAO had just discovered the problem, but this isn't the first time they have told the Defense Department about it:

"During previous hearings we learned DOD was a bargain basement for would-be terrorists due to lax security screening of excess military equipment," [Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., chairman of the House Government Reform Committee's national security panel,] said in a statement Friday. "Based on GAO's most recent undercover investigation it looks like the store is still open."

Heck of a job, Dubya Administration!

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