A recent article at Nextgov reported that actually, it’s quite easy to purchase sensitive military technology and send it abroad.
Auditors from the Government Accountability Office (GOA), who posed as representatives from a fictitious company, were able to purchase sensitive technology equipment such as night-vision scopes that U.S. soldiers use in Iraq and Afghanistan, hardware to detonate nuclear weapons, sensors used in improvised explosive devices, and gyro chips for guided missiles and military aircraft.
During its investigation from May 2008 to June 2009, GAO also was able to purchase an F-16 engine-monitoring system computer, which the Air Force uses in single-engine aircraft to monitor engine performance, said Gregory Kutz, managing director of forensic audits and special investigations at GAO, in his testimony before the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on Thursday.
Due to the fact that there are few restrictions on domestic sales of dual-use technology, which serve both commercial and military purposes, obtaining these items is fairly easy. The manufacturers only asked that the undercover agents sign forms verifying the products would not be used illegally or for terrorist plots.
The undercover agents were then able to send nonfunctional look-alike items via FedEx to a country in southeast Asia with known terrorist ties. Current laws such as the Arms Export Control Act and the Export Administration Act focus on preventing foreign nationals from purchasing and receiving sensitive military technology.
The GOA also performed a similar drill in April, and were able to purchase technology online on eBay, Craigslist, etc. According to the GOA:
Preventing the illegal export of sensitive items used in nuclear weapons, IEDs, and other military applications requires stopping the purchase of the items at the source “because once sensitive items make it into the hands of terrorists or foreign government agents, the shipment and transport out of the United States is unlikely to be detected,” the report noted.
- Know your customers!
- Know your suppliers!
- Importers must be careful too – even when selling domestically.
- Audit trails are always helpful.
- New legislation could be coming soon.
Read the complete article at Nextgov.