“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.