April 12, 2008

Ebay Quickly Becoming a Shopping Cart for Terrorists and Conduits

The GAO (Government Accountability Office) of the United States has recently made some disturbing finds: they are purchasing aircraft parts off of Ebay that are listed in their books as classified. Most of these parts are coming off of old F-14 Tomcats and are being mothballed. The F-14s were retired earlier this century and were replaced by the Navy's FA-18 Hornet, which should soon be replaced by the JSF (F-35) Lightning II.
Besides Tomcat parts, supplies such as ammunition, night vision, and IR patches are widely available and can be illegally exported outside of the United States. The patches are a big problem: insurgents can use them to trick US soldiers into believing that they are friendly. I would suggest making sure that those are secure, or find a new way to tell a friend from foe.

Why is the selling of classified secret technology over Ebay bad? besides the obvious, countries such as Iran are looking desperatly for spare parts for their wings of F-14 Tomcats still in service. Selling these stolen parts allows them to get their planes back up in the air. I think the GAO needs to push for tighter security of the mothball fleets and wings. Some of these parts are just too valueable to be stolen; I mean they are just sitting out there in the desert rusting. Although it would cost a lot of money, and Congress might hate it, the GAO should really have stations that are securing this equipment away from the mothball fields.

The reports at the Congressional Hearing were startling if not a cause for concern. Lawmakers wish to ban the sale of military parts which do not have a Department of Defense approval on them for disposal. If I have the room, the money, and the guts, I can purchase almost the entire forward canopy section of an F-14 Tomcat for around $15,000 USD. Ebay is trying to regulate sales of illegal items, but with so many new items a day it is nearly impossible to stop them all. I think tighter secuity checks and inventory checks are needed to reduce the amount of supplies reaching hands that do not need these supplies. I am sure with today's technology that shouldn't be a problem.

Original Article: http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/36895/118/

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