Government Accountability Office “Stings” Pentagon for Ex-Mil Equipment

“The Pentagon nearly gave over $1 million worth of rifles, pipe bombs and other military hardware to a fake police department,” foxnews.com reports, “set up as part of a government watchdog’s sting operation, a new report reveals.” Wait. What?

I’ve been railing against “sting” operations for years, especially when it comes to firearms-related crimes. Times ten when it comes to “stings” perpetuated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosions (And Really Big Fires). Try this on for size: ATF’s Nationwide Storefront Stings Exposed

And now the government is stinging itself? WTF?

Using cloak-and-dagger tactics, auditors from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) created a nonexistent police department. They submitted requests to purchase from the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) “controlled properties” like simulated pipe bombs, night-vision goggles, and explosive ordnance detonation robots.

“In less than a week after submitting the requests, our fictitious agency was approved for the transfer of over 100 controlled property items with a total estimated value of about $1.2 million,” the GAO said in a July 18 report.

The sting operation involved government auditors creating a website describing the fake agency and using publicly available resources to produce false police credentials.

“Personnel at two of the three sites did not request or check for valid identification of our investigator picking up the property,” the GAO said.

That last sentence assumes that the GAO took delivery of ex-mil hardware. The lead says they “nearly” took possession. According to the report, the GAO scored the following items:

Through the testing, GAO gained access to the LESO program and obtained over 100 controlled items with an estimated value of $1.2 million, including night vision goggles, simulated rifles, and simulated pipe bombs, which could be potentially lethal items if modified with commercially available items.

Oops! It seems the Fox News report forgot to mention that the “rifles” involved were “simulated rifles.” Sensationalize much? Or just sloppy reporting. Wait! Fake news!

Anyway, I applaud the GAO for exposing a weakness in the Pentagon’s 1033 program, which came under fire after the Ferguson, MO police looked more like a standing army than a police force. But was this really the best way to test the system? How much personnel, time and money went into this Pentagon “sting”?

Perhaps the GAO should have, I dunno, written a memo? Issued a directive? And if that sort of thing doesn’t work, what does it say about Uncle Sam’s efficiency and security when the Pentagon has to be shamed into protecting military assets?

Bottom line: “The Defense Logistics Agency lacks reasonable assurance that it has the ability to prevent, detect, and respond to potential fraud and minimize associated security risks.”

Or maybe this [via Fox]: “In its response to the findings, DOD concurred with four recommendations made by GAO and highlighted steps it was taking to improve internal controls and implement recommendations from past audits.”

Your government hard at work.

comments

  1. avatar FedUp says:

    Is the deal dead, or can the rest of us still get in on it?
    I’d love to have a million worth of milsurp now that fedgov seem to be set against selling it to the people who paid for it in the first place.

  2. avatar Wellsonofagun says:

    “…And here’s yer sign…”- Bill Engvall

    BTW- I put in a req. for a SAW, few cases of grenades, and 20k of M193.
    (That’s better than the bump stock, Tannerite, and .223 Tula I have…)
    Confirmation email said I should have it by Wednesday.
    ?

    1. avatar Hank says:

      I got me one of them Bearcat armored trucks and a black helicopter with mini-gun pods and rocket launchers (good for crowd control they tell me).

  3. avatar Steven says:

    What the hell is a simulated rifle? A blue gun?

    1. avatar Dan in CO says:

      Yes, it’s just not blue in color.

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      They were checking to see if someone would send an NFA item to an entity that does not exist and is therefore not authorized to receive it. So they presumably took a rifle that matches the description of an NFA rifle but is not actually automatic. It’s sort of like when a terrorist is supplied with a ‘bomb’ by the FBI to see if he’ll actually go and try to use it.

    3. avatar Manse Jolly says:

      What are referred to as “Rubber Ducks” in the US Infantry circa 1980s.

    4. avatar Friend says:

      Actually what they’re referring to are Engagement Simulation Trainer Rifles, basically they started off as real M16s, with a compressed air tube stuffed hooked up to the barrel and modified FCG and bolt carrier that allow said compressed air to cycle the action. Combine with a MILES-type doodad and targets that detect the laser and you’ve got low cost marksmanship training. Except it’s relatively quiet and hardly recoils. The big advantage is that they’ve cooked up systems like that for almost every weapon in the inventory, so you can familiarize people with different weapons, i.e. 240s, EBRs, 320s, etc. without the liability/cost of actual boolets.

  4. avatar DrewR55 says:

    So, you’re telling me that the next time a ghost town comes up for purchase I can buy it and create a police force to protect this ghost town and, after I have created the police force (consisting of myself and a couple of buddies),we can then apply for this program and procure some really awesome toys all in the name of keeping said ghost town safe from bad guys?

    That sounds like an awesome deal.

    1. avatar Klause Von Schmitto says:

      I like the way you think.

  5. avatar Hank says:

    I’m gonna set up a fake police department.

    1. avatar 16V says:

      For your trouble, you will be provided fake M-16s, fake pipe bombs, and state-of-the-shelf night vision.

      CNN will report fake news on your arsenal.

  6. avatar Ralph says:

    “The Pentagon nearly gave over $1 million worth of rifles, pipe bombs and other military hardware to a fake police department”

    So, they gave all that stuff to the cops in Chicago?

    1. avatar Shooter12 says:

      Ralph, I demand a quarter from you to compensate me for the craft beer that just erupted from my nose.

    2. avatar The President's Hair says:

      Easy to say, but until you understand what a LEO from Chicago is up against, (I’m referring to the government of Obama’s bff Rahm, Foxxx, and people like Sheriff Tom “the Butt” Dart) in addition to all the honor-roll students with ILLEGAL guns, then you should be horrified, not laughing. Just my .02

  7. avatar anon says:

    Shaming govt agencies into (hopeful) action is pretty much the GAO’s job, and its an awful thankless job at that. They’re probably the only branch of govt I actually like.

    1. avatar DrewR55 says:

      When they are not taking trips to Vegas for “conferences” that make Tail Hook look like a church Sunday school revival.

      1. avatar No one of consequence says:

        I think maybe you’re thinking of GSA? Now universally loathed by anyone who has to travel under government travel rules.

        1. avatar DrewR55 says:

          You’re probably right. I should have googled it to make sure.

  8. avatar Nanashi says:

    So the GAO filed some paperwork to see if another branch was actually checking their papers? I oppose most government “stings”, but this seems pretty reasonable.

  9. avatar Joe in San Antonio says:

    So they scored 2nd gen nvgs, (pvs 7s) old est 2000 M16s (that will take one hell of a mod to get firing) and eod/cied training aids. I applaud holding the government accountable but no one is in immediate danger.

  10. avatar Hannibal says:

    “Perhaps the GAO should have, I dunno, written a memo? Issued a directive? And if that sort of thing doesn’t work, what does it say about Uncle Sam’s efficiency and security when the Pentagon has to be shamed into protecting military assets?”

    You don’t think the memos and current directives state that you’re only supposed to ship this stuff to actual police departments? You can write all the policies and memos you want, but eventually you might want to find out if they work. High-security targets like nuclear plants and military installations (as well as cyber targets) are protected but you still want to employ intrusion attempts (red teams) to see where the weak points are so you can fix them… before someone else exploits them.

    1. avatar Bob Jones says:

      The government has plenty of corrupt/incompetent/ignorant employees and it is important to remove these miscreants from the payroll. They need to focus more on Congressional employees, too, like Wasserman-Schultz’s IT man who was charged with wire fraud and it has now been discovered that US taxpayers have given him and his family $4,000,000 over the past few years..

      Trump may be rude, offensive and obnoxious, but the SWAMP NEEDS DRAINING.

  11. avatar Elvis says:

    Those look like props for a FATs simulator. The rifles that I’ve seen were made by bushamster, but they were not complete rifles. They used an air based system to move the bolt when firing for added realism, and have a bunch of electronics in them also. To make the rifle work, you’d have to replace the…rifle (as a minimum, the barrel and lower receiver, then you’d need a trigger group, a BCG and a buffer system.

    Really, it’s a set of furniture, and maybe an upper. I suspect the night vision is equally worthless, and I’m sure the pipe bomb isn’t either.

  12. avatar Ragnarredbeard says:

    Those sim M-16s would take a lot of work to get running. The barrel is fake, the lower has non-standard holes for the trigger group, etc. Its almost like they made them un-fireable on purpose.

  13. avatar BierceAmbrose says:

    “And now the government is stinging itself?”

    Set a thief to catch a thief. I seem to have read that somewhere.

  14. avatar Guardiano says:

    I don’t understand why this whole “the Ferguson (or insert PD here) PD looked like a standing army instead of a police force” thing is a problem. Police in the US have ALWAYS been paramilitary, and have ALWAYS mimicked the military uniforms, weapons, and to some degree tactics of the time. Look at police uniforms through the ages, and then the contemporary military uniform and you’ll see what I mean. The modern era is different, where we have a distinct “police look” that I’ll wear every day when I graduate the academy, and then the BDUs (of any camo pattern) that I used to wear every day and I now wear only on the weekends. SWAT teams nationwide wear some form of BDUs, which again is nothing new or unusual. I dunno if I’m really making a point here, I guess I’m just mystified as to what’s the big deal.

  15. avatar Just Someguy says:

    I have a problem with sting operations when they come in the form of the police encouraging citizens to commit crimes and then busting them. Ruby Ridge showed how that can be problematic. I don’t have a problem with the GAO using stings to expose problems with how the government does things though.

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