Report raps Pentagon for equipment sales
By ANDREW MIGA, Associated Press WriterFri Jul 21, 11:10 PM ET
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.
Much of the equipment could be useful to terrorists, according to a
draft report by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative
arm of Congress.
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 list included circuit cards used in computerized Navy systems, a
cesium technology timing unit with global positioning capabilities, and
12 digital microcircuits used in F-14 Tomcat fighter aircraft.
At least 2,669 sensitive military items were sold to 79 buyers in 216 sales transactions from November 2005 to June 2006.
"DOD has not enforced security controls for preventing sensitive excess
military equipment from release to the public," the report concluded.
"GAO was able to purchase these items because controls broke down at
virtually every step in the excess property turn-in and disposal
In the report, the GAO said it had briefed Pentagon officials on its
findings but that the Pentagon had no response because it had not had
time to perform a detailed review.
Rep. Christopher Shays (news, bio, voting record), R-Conn., chairman of
the House Government Reform Committee's national security panel, will
hold a hearing on the matter Tuesday. Earlier GAO reports also had
found lax security controls over sensitive excess military equipment.
"During previous hearings we learned DOD was a bargain basement for
would-be terrorists due to lax security screening of excess military
equipment," Shays said in a statement Friday. "Based on GAO's most
recent undercover investigation it looks like the store is still open."
Shays added: "We've seen partial changes that have resulted in over $34
million savings, but they still have a long way to go to make this
The GAO findings were first reported by CBS News and ABC News.