Iran, China Seek Military Equipment From Pentagon Surplus Auctions
Tuesday, January 16, 2007 Fox News /AP
WASHINGTON — The U.S. military has sold forbidden equipment at least a half-dozen times to middlemen for countries — including Iran and China — who exploited security flaws in the Defense Department's surplus auctions. The sales include fighter jet parts and missile components.
In one case, federal investigators said, the contraband made it to Iran, a country President George W. Bush branded part of an "axis of evil." In that instance, a Pakistani arms broker convicted of exporting U.S. missile parts to Iran resumed business after his release from prison....
In one case, convicted middlemen for Iran bought Tomcat parts from the Defense Department's surplus division. Customs agents confiscated them and returned them to the Pentagon, which sold them again — customs evidence tags still attached — to another buyer, a suspected broker for Iran.
The GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, found it alarmingly easy to acquire sensitive surplus. Last year, its agents bought $1.1 million (euro850,000) worth — including rocket launchers, body armor and surveillance antennas — by driving onto a base and posing as defense contractors.
"They helped us load our van," Kutz said. More....