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Stolen US Military Equipment Being Sold On eBay

Soulskill posted about 6 years ago | from the i'm-only-borrowing-your-hum-vee dept.

The Military 173

I Buy These From eBay points out a Washington Post story about how stolen military equipment has ended up on eBay and Craigslist. Undercover investigators reported being able to purchase defense-related items with "no questions asked." Let's hope the sellers don't get their hands on any retired rebellious robots. From the Post: "Among the items purchased include two components from F-14 fighter jets, bought from separate buyers on eBay. The warplanes, now retired by the military, could easily be purchased and transferred to the Iranian military, which is seeking its components, the report said. Investigators couldn't determine where the sellers had obtained the F-14 parts. They also purchased from a Craigslist seller a used Nuclear Biological Chemical protective suit, other protective accessories as well as an unused chemical-biological canister, which contained the mask filter used to guard against warfare agents. The property was likely stolen from the Defense Department, the report said."

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Why not buy a Gripen (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | about 6 years ago | (#23053662)

I believe they are available in kit form from Ikea in Teheran.

Re:Why not buy a Gripen (1)

Praedon (707326) | about 6 years ago | (#23054040)

If I am correct, a Gripen is made by Saab... which also makes, well, cars, and a crap load of other stuff that is completely unrelated to cars, like for instance radars and underwater systems for detecting mines and such. I'd love to see a Saab car come equipped with all their other products they make : )

As for the fun happy stuff on eBay and Craigslist, this isn't the first time stolen military equipment was placed on eBay... I can't find the article right now, but it's been happening off and on for the past 3 years. What's even more fun, is the fact that one time it happened, I remember seeing that someone from Afghanistan won and received the auction for a bazooka that slipped through the cracks and was too late by the time eBay let alone customs found out.

Re:Why not buy a Gripen (3, Informative)

budgenator (254554) | about 6 years ago | (#23054550)

I thought that that GM bought the automotive division from Saab and everything else remained.

Re:Why not buy a Gripen (3, Funny)

m.ducharme (1082683) | about 6 years ago | (#23054220)

Yeah, but they take 20-30 years to assemble, and if you lose the special Allen key, you're fucked.

Re:Why not buy a Gripen (2, Interesting)

gripen40k (957933) | about 6 years ago | (#23054382)

Hey! My name finally gets mentioned in /. !

I think the underlying point of your message though is that Iran is more than capable of buying jets from other military hardware producing nations. The trick is finding one that wouldn't mind selling them the stuff. Maybe the French?

F14...HAH (0)

p51d007 (656414) | about 6 years ago | (#23053684)

Wouldn't do them any good. Most of their 14's have been in storage, probably stored improperly. Even if they were able to get them to fly & fight, they would be shot out of the sky easily.

Not smart (4, Insightful)

saibot834 (1061528) | about 6 years ago | (#23053700)

Ebay policy [ebay.com] prohibits sale of stolen items and parts of a F-14 are obviously stolen if on Ebay. So, consequence one will be removal of the auction. Consequence two is, that now Ebay has the IP-Adresses of those people and they properly will give it to the military. They better used Tor or live in a country far far away.

This behavior is IMHO incredibly stupid. If you manage to steal such items, one would think that you also manage to sell them somewhere else than on Ebay.

Re:Not smart (2, Insightful)

Kuroji (990107) | about 6 years ago | (#23053732)

Among the items purchased include two components from F-14 fighter jets ...

I think someone wasn't paying attention down at eBay, but the summary would imply these things were in fact bought.

Re:Not smart (2, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | about 6 years ago | (#23053764)

If memory serves they were radio annetenna's. not turbine parts, or gear parts but turbine.

Also if Iran was smart they would have mothballed everything, and disassembled at least one plane. from there they could duplicate all the mechanical parts, and would only then have to figure out the electronics. Though I highly doubt that those planes are in flying condition anymore. Planes that old need to have every nut and bolt checked.

Re:Not smart (2, Interesting)

Kuroji (990107) | about 6 years ago | (#23053858)

Hey, that's how the Soviets did it.

If the Iranians are smart, they would have torn the planes down in the eighties and made replicas then. Somehow I doubt this is the case, however - they probably went for the lowest bidder as most militaries do when it comes down to something that isn't related to intercontinental bombers.

Re:Not smart (5, Insightful)

Konster (252488) | about 6 years ago | (#23053892)

A lot of things can be replicated on a lathe or whatever. You can replicate its dimensions, but you cannot replicate alloys...get the alloy wrong and the part doesn't work at all. Beyond that, there's the manufacturing technique that needs to be reverse engineered, too. This is not a trivial task. Screw up the process of manufacturing and you've got nothing.

Beyond all those hurdles, you've got to consider the lubricants as well, screw that up and the parts don't work.

Screw up anything in the chain and nothing works.

There's a reason why countries like Iran or whatever aren't flying around in replica F-14's and F-15's. While they may have the dimensions to replicate a part, they don't have the huge amount of engineering required to make that part work, and work reliably.

The engineering know-how that goes into a sophisticated bit of military hardware spans most hardcore sciences spanning many decades of research, know how, genuine talent and knowledge. This cannot be reverse engineered or reproduced on a lathe.

Re:Not smart (3, Insightful)

bberens (965711) | about 6 years ago | (#23053926)

There's a reason why countries like Iran or whatever aren't flying around in replica F-14's and F-15's. While they may have the dimensions to replicate a part, they don't have the huge amount of engineering required to make that part work, and work reliably.
You're talking about a country which my President has told me has a nuclear weapons program. Something tells me if they're capable of getting nuclear engineers, they can figure out how to make a half-decent fighter jet if they really needed to.

Re:Not smart (5, Interesting)

Crayon Kid (700279) | about 6 years ago | (#23054036)

Or buy one. F15 is not the only model in the world. Nor are all fighter planes made by the US.

That's not the point. It's not about getting war tech, it's about studying current american war tech to find weaknesses.

Stuff like this surfacing on eBay is silly for many reasons. Frankly, I'm doubting the entire story, or at the very least the angle.

The WP article is full of inflamatory speculation, slapping together possibly unrelated information to make a troll. Every other paragraph has dubious points in it. What exactly are those "plane parts"? They're not saying. Who bought them? Not a peep, so then why finger Iran if there's no evidence? They say they couldn't figure out where the parts came from, yet they "must" be "stolen", because that's how they automatically define selling certain kinds of Army items.

Granted, any piece of knowledge about the US army may be useful for any foreign power. But if the US army doesn't want stuff to end up on eBay they should guard it more careful. Since they didn't, there's either major incompetence at play, or it wasn't such sensitive material after all.

Seriously, do you really think that truly useful information or material of this kind would be sold on eBay? When there are professional arms dealers and spies out there? Let's give those Hollywood movies a rest, shall we.

If I were to take this article at face value, I'd say it's an attempt at sticking it to the army for not taking better care of its stuff. While I'm all for that, it stops being funny once non sequitur allegations are made about certain foreign countries. Then it becomes a transparent attempt at instilling paranoia among the public. "Oh noes, Iran is buying our planes on eBay! How low have we sunk! We're doomed!" Please.

Re:Not smart (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23054456)

True. Sukhoi 27 ("Flankers", as NATO names them) are way superior fighters than F-18s and have way less electronic gadgets that only give trouble in combat.
Venezuela has bought a couple hundred of those and they are kick-ass planes. And Sukhoi 27s are the oldest of that Russian series. There are Sukhoi 37s in Russia now, with a 360 degree electronic interference device that can melt internal avionics of US B2 bombers and make those billion dollar machines worth less than a Cessna...
Well, everything US does is always overrated...
That is why we let our old Bear bombers fly around, so they can think those are all we have. Meanwhile, our real military backbone is sitting somewhere in the Motherland, swimming in Oil's cash, and waiting for the day we need to use them. We always going to get the SUV-craved Yankees to pay us $110 per barrel of crude...
And, AFAIK, there is no military embargo against Iran, so we can sell them some toys if they need, as we sold those 3 nuclear reactors before...

Re:Not smart (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23054532)

Man, you'r smart, good job. I totally agree with you.

Re:Not smart (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23054222)

No, they contract most of the hard stuff out to Russia.

The middle east consists entirely of a bunch of chattering monkeys. Left to their own devices, they don't accomplish much.

Re:Not smart (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23054468)

Take your political rhetoric and cram it. You anti-Bushies are just as bad as the "Bush can do no wrong" ilk. When you have 9,000 centrifuges you essentially have a nuclear weapons program.

Re:Not smart (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23054524)

Basic nuclear weapons were developed in the 40's. The F14 was developed in the late 60's.

Re:Not smart (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23054614)

You're talking about a country which my President has told me has a nuclear weapons program.
That President fellow tells us a lot of things. For instance, he told us Iraq had WMD. I ain't too sure it's a good idea to go around citing his wisdom.

Re:Not smart (2, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 6 years ago | (#23054666)

Something tells me if they're capable of getting nuclear engineers, they can figure out how to make a half-decent fighter jet if they really needed to.

They likely could, but it's still difficult and requires more than just some smart engineers. As has been pointed out, it's a manufacturing / design / maintenance chain that's complex and expensive. In addition, one or two nuclear weapons constitutes a "win" in this game. One or two reverse engineered F14's constitutes target practice for the Israeli Air Force.

The modular nature of aircraft makes it more useful to find spare parts wherever you can rather than make expensive, complex modules. You still have the non trivial task of putting the things together and keeping them their. And there are lots of used F14's out there [businessweek.com] . The Ebay stuff is a pretty marginal market for this kind of thing.

Re:Not smart (1)

Keebler71 (520908) | about 6 years ago | (#23054930)

Nuclear weapons were first developed in the 40's. As such it might be more reasonable to assume that if they have engineers capable of building a nuclear weapon - then they should be able to make a nice piston engine fighter.

Re:Not smart (0, Flamebait)

laddhebert (570948) | about 6 years ago | (#23054336)

You know..a lot of people have this image of Iranians being Arab and without any technical, mechanical, or engineering aptitude, but that couldn't be further from the truth. The fact is, the Iranian people are actually Persian (Aryans) and probably have more of the aptitudes listed above in their genetic makeup than most people. I think they could reverse engineer pretty much anything.

Another interesting fact is that Iran's Saegheh fighter jet is on par with the F-18.


Re:Not smart (4, Informative)

elguap0 (758827) | about 6 years ago | (#23054594)

A quick search shows that the Saegheh is simply a copy of the US Air force's F-5 from the 1960s! And who says it's on par with the F-18? Why, Iran of course! I'm not saying that Iran doesn't have some smart engineers, but the Saegheh doesn't seem to be proof of that.

Re:Not smart (1)

laddhebert (570948) | about 6 years ago | (#23054856)

Ah, I'm sorry, it is good to see that you have become such an expert on Iranian military aircraft by doing a few searches on the internet and making such an educated decision on what the Saegheh is, or its capabilities. Thanks for enlightening me. The truth of the matter is, Iran engineers and manufactures ALL of their military equipment in house and tends to be very tight lipped about it.

The intent of my original post was to point out that the Iranians are not stupid people, they do not have a weak military force, and they are far from being inept in the engineering of military machinery (or machinery of any type for that matter).


Re:Not smart (1)

clichescreenname (1220316) | about 6 years ago | (#23054778)

You know..a lot of people have this image of Iranians being Arab and without any technical, mechanical, or engineering aptitude, but that couldn't be further from the truth. The fact is, the Iranian people are actually Persian (Aryans) and probably have more of the aptitudes listed above in their genetic makeup than most people. I think they could reverse engineer pretty much anything.
Am I missing something, or did this racist POS post just get modded up as being "informative"? Please, somebody, mod parent down.

Re:Not smart (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23055250)

Racist how? It says Ayrabs are thick, which they are. Not that being a bit less thick than them is much to brag about.

Why does Iran want F-14 parts? Iran threat? No. (4, Informative)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about 6 years ago | (#23054450)

Exactly. Thanks for adding some reason to the discussion.

Quote from the Slashdot story: "The warplanes, now retired by the military, could easily be purchased and transferred to the Iranian military, which is seeking its components, the report said."

Why does Iran want F-14 parts? I'm guessing that is because the war industry in the U.S. sold the Iranian government F-14s, with the permission and the aid of the U.S. government. Presumably that happened when the Shah was in control. The Shah was a U.S. government puppet, installed in 1953 after the U.S. government destroyed the administration of the democratically elected President Mohammed Mossadegh" [wikipedia.org] . That's right, those who control the U.S. government were against democracy, for violence, for interference in the operation of other countries, and they put profit above all other issues.

Also, Iran is not the threat that is being presented to U.S. citizens. Those who control the U.S. government are trying to demonize Iran the way they demonized Iraq. They want a war, and the entire reason they want a war with Iran is the same as the reason they wanted war with Iraq: to make more money. Those who control the U.S. government have a sickness about money. They will do anything to get more money, even lie and kill other people.

At the beginning of the first U.S. government-Iraq war, U.S. weapons companies were still delivering weapons to Iraq, under a long-term contract. Those who control the U.S. government and weapons companies want war, continous war.

The U.S. government is the biggest promoter of violence in the world. Don't say "we" when talking about war. There is no "we", unless you are part of the group that makes the profits, while stealing from U.S. taxpayers.

If you love your wife, and she is having a difficult time, you don't turn your back on her. You get involved and try to help. It's the same with your country. If you love the U.S. like I do, you will help stop the violence.

Re:Not smart (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about 6 years ago | (#23054606)

iran has supposedly reverse-engineered northrop f-5e for building the hesa azarakhsh. f-14 would be the next step.

Re:Not smart (2, Insightful)

budgenator (254554) | about 6 years ago | (#23054684)

Not everything can be taken apart in a way that preserves dimensions some pieces of the airframe for example may take 2 pieces of different aluminum alloys, glued together with high-strength epoxy and held together with rivets until the epoxy cures; good luck getting that apart. Often the order of assembly can change a brain numbingly difficult step into a totally impossible one; how many times have you had to redo step 12 correctly so you could do step 27 when putting together one of the pressed saw-dust board entertainment centers for WallMart! Like the entertainment center the parts have to be assembled correct and often in the correct order because just they will not go together out of order, also like the entertainment center, the individual part are often very fragile and easy to break, they are only strong when put together. Even more difficult, aircraft like high-performance fighter can have part at wildly different temperature a leading edge might be 600-700 C, a foot back on the wing might be -50, everything not only has to be put together but stay together as the aircraft cycles through those temperature range every flight.

Re:Not smart (4, Informative)

penix1 (722987) | about 6 years ago | (#23053890)

And this is something new?!?! Government surplus has been with us as long as government procurement has.

http://www.govliquidation.com/list/c7007/lna/1.html [govliquidation.com]

Get just about any aircraft parts directly from the government. Everything from engines to rotary blades for helicopters to complete aircraft shells. Nothing new here...

Re:Not smart (1)

budgenator (254554) | about 6 years ago | (#23055202)

Government Liquidators are a private auction company commissioned by the USG, we've gotten a few things from them, bought a whole lots to get one or two items for less then the item would sell for on Ebay. Sometimes you get total junk, sometimes you get something that has never been used. Stuff from the Navy and Air Force is usually in the best shape, Army stuff is usually used to death. You also have to be careful to include shipping costs which can be considerable at times.

FUD (5, Funny)

Missing_dc (1074809) | about 6 years ago | (#23053956)

This is all FUD, I did a search on ebay and this is what I got:

0 items found for: stolen military equipment

How do they expect us to believe an article if we can't verify the sources ;)

Re:Not smart (2, Interesting)

Albert Sandberg (315235) | about 6 years ago | (#23053972)

The scary thing is that this might be the top of the iceberg, how much of the militarys material is stolen each year?

When I served in the army here in sweden it was more or less custamory to "lose" some stuff and keep it for yourself. Normally this was t-shirts or similar stuff but it was still pretty normal.

Then I lost stuff (which you do) you couldn't help to feel guilty about it as if you would have stolen it because it was that common, and I can safetly say that the only thing I "stole" was a few empty shells to keep as souvenirs from the whole experience.

Re:Not smart (5, Informative)

an.echte.trilingue (1063180) | about 6 years ago | (#23054052)

This behavior is IMHO incredibly stupid. If you manage to steal such items, one would think that you also manage to sell them somewhere else than on Ebay.
You would be surprised how easy and wide spread this is. I got out about a year and a half ago, but it was already pretty common. We had a guy in our commo unit who stole a projector and got caught because he sold it on Ebay. My battalion's head cook was selling MRE's on Ebay and got caught. Our sister unit had a First Sergeant whose wife (also an NCO) was mailing stolen equipment out of Iraq and got caught by selling it on Ebay. Of course, for everybody who gets caught, 10 get away with it. I once did a report of survey for a lost light amplifier (the sensitive piece of night vision goggles) and we wrote it off as a loss. It could have been the unit armorer or XO, it could have been the maintenance specialist, it could have been the maintenance NCO; there was just no way to tell. I heard through the grape vine a couple months later that CID had recovered it off of Ebay, but the original seller/thief was a mystery.

People like to use the US's phenomenal military budget as evidence of the country's militarism, but in my admittedly limited experience, it has more to do with massive lack of accountability on an institution-wide scale. Anybody I have ever spoken to who has been in military logistics for a long period of time can tell you about the time he watched a million dollars get wasted in a day.

Re:Not smart (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23055330)

well, obviously they can learn a bit from the german military.
they may receive a condom per soldier (both m/f) per month, but will have to return the used ones...
also, german military does have a tendency for increasing equipment available while on a training or mission - they occasionally returned with more than what we had when we left.
however that turns up, is the question still...
but thats still not as worse as with the german fema equivalent.
missing your bus-stop or phone booth ? har har.

the stupid article says stolen military tech is for sale - on ebay... I need names, numbers, prices !
just kidding - anonymously for a reason :*)
some one from the united states of lawyers might just have no humour...

Re:Not smart - obviously??? (4, Informative)

rubycodez (864176) | about 6 years ago | (#23054098)

Obviously stolen? the F-14 has been scrapped. they're in junkyards here and abroad. entire decommissioned aircraft like the Harrier have been sold on eBay, perfectly legal. There's a hobbyist market for the parts for all manner of aircraft too. You can buy decommissioned howitzers, tanks, jets...parks and VFWs have them. And uniforms and MRE, anyone can buy those, perfectly legal.

Re:Not smart - obviously??? (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 6 years ago | (#23055244)

Typically the DoD sells war items for scrap under a license that specifically forbids the buyer from selling on any item whole or in part as a usable piece of equipment. There was an ex Blue Angels F-18 that made it to Ebay because the DoD had disposed of it in an irregular manner (legitimately, just not the normal way they did it) and they didn't get the buyer to sign the agreement. The F-14s are heavily scrutinised precisely because Iran still has active aircraft - the DoD went so far as to have several museum pieces removed from display and disposed of because of lax security.

Re:Not smart (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23054112)

Typical media.... "Investigators couldn't determine where the sellers had obtained the F-14 parts.".. which would imply they don't know if the parts are stolen, but sensationalists won't have a story without a headline saying the parts are stolen. And now everyone is excited and creating conspiracy theories and Iran is going to take over the world with 3 f-14 parts they bought... whatever.

Re:Not smart (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23054812)

You all have never seen the black market operate overseas. You can get anything! Some of it is sold right out in the open like a flea market. These guys are lazy

Re:Not smart (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23055030)

think about it. they are in the military for one reason. because they arent smart. thats how our country disposes of retards.

Should have suspected something....... (5, Funny)

edwardpickman (965122) | about 6 years ago | (#23053708)

When the same guy kept driving off with a different Humvee each day with F-14 parts stuffed down his pants.

Re:Should have suspected something....... (1)

DarkOx (621550) | about 6 years ago | (#23054046)

Hey he must have done it

"One pice at a time so it didn't cost him a dime"

He could have easily stuck the parts in his big lunch box. Johny Cache claims in to gotten a free car out GM that way in one of his songs...

I wonder (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | about 6 years ago | (#23053754)

If one could steal something like this, what else is available on the black market... a nuke!?

Re:I wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23053784)

one can already 'acquire' nuclear weapons from the stockpiles left in former soviet countries.

And this is on the Internet.... (1)

blankoboy (719577) | about 6 years ago | (#23053758)

what other US mil weaponry do you think is being sold in the black market that doesn't even show a blip on the radar? Yeah, that's the stuff that should be keeping you all awake at night. With all the stockpiles of nuclear weaponry, you know something's going (or already) has gone missing/unaccounted for.

Re:And this is on the Internet.... (1)

jo42 (227475) | about 6 years ago | (#23053888)

In other news, Investigators found that screw drivers, hammers, screws, nails, chunks of wood, bits of metal and fabric, memory chips, CPUs, hard drives and computers cases with windows, now retired by the military, could easily be purchased and transferred to the Iranian military, which is seeking these components, the report said.

Fear mongering? (5, Insightful)

bkraptor (851368) | about 6 years ago | (#23053796)

What's this called? (hint: fear mongering?) Why was the Iranian military mentioned in the article? Are Iranians the only ones out there that can possibly hurt the US? No, anyone can buy that stuff and damage other countries. The US isn't the only country on this planet. Please, for the sake of the future, stop acting like everyone is out to get you.

Re:Fear mongering? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23053832)

Exactly. Terrorists have hijacked commercial airplanes and crashed them into buildings in dozens of countries. Oh wait. No they haven't.

Re:Fear mongering? (4, Insightful)

Null Perception (914562) | about 6 years ago | (#23054332)

Far more terrorist related deaths have occurred in countries other than the US. Everyone should stop referring to a single incident as if it is the defining moment which makes all fear-mongering justified.

Re:Fear mongering? (2, Informative)

trash eighty (457611) | about 6 years ago | (#23053848)

As some of the parts were for F-14 fighters and Iran are the only operators of the type now why not mention them? There wouldn't really be much point Al-Qaeda or North Korea buying F-14 spares, unless they were going to throw them at GWB's head.

Re:Fear mongering? (1)

bytta (904762) | about 6 years ago | (#23053850)

So true.

If you treat everyone like they're out to get you, in the end many of them will want to...

Re:Fear mongering? (2, Insightful)

MrNaz (730548) | about 6 years ago | (#23053854)

Please, for the sake of the future, stop acting like everyone is out to get you.

I think a more appropriate request would be "stop doing things that make everyone want to get you".

Re:Fear mongering? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23053878)

besides Iran probably can MAKE F14 parts if they really want them... it's not like other country's military respects patents.

The F14 is a 30+ year old EOL aircraft. It's too bad there are so many fear-mongers out there because nobody will be able to keep a few birds flying for air shows and such. After WW2 & Korea you could buy excess 2 1/2 ton trucks, flack jackets, guns, & prop planes by the dozen. Even retired Howitzers and Shermans made their way parked in front of many VFW posts. Army Surplus in the 60's, 70's, & 80's was the big thing. Some of that stuff is still used by guys like the "Michigan Militia" (not associated with the state)

Nothing is like going to an air show and seeing those old B17's or B25's or P51's or the old "heuey" choppers that somebody scavanged from the scrap heap and worked hard to hand make parts for. After 9/11 people started harassing even the VFW people for those inoperable cannons and tanks they have out front. That means nobody will keep any of that history alive for fear of the paranoid and the govt spooks. That is sad.

Re:Fear mongering? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23054970)

Not just after Korea. Surplus 6x6 M35 2 1/2 ton trucks are available for about $5-10k these days, depending on mileage, model and condition. These cold-war trucks are currenty being replaced by a different model. That makes the idiot down the street with a hummer look even dumber imho.

Re:Fear mongering? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23054010)

I think the point is that they are not allowed to legally purchase those parts.

Re:Fear mongering? (1)

jcnnghm (538570) | about 6 years ago | (#23054064)

You don't think that someone stealing and selling military hardware on the Internet is a problem? It was explained why Iran was mentioned in the very first line of the article, because they've been actively seeking some of the parts that were available for sale. Burying your head in the sand doesn't make your problems go away.

Re:Fear mongering? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23054182)

No, I don't think it's a problem. I hope the seller made some good money and that the buyer has fun with the parts. There you go.

Re:Fear mongering? (1)

optimistic_cynic (1272302) | about 6 years ago | (#23054674)

First of all, I'd seriously doubt the equipment was stolen. Our government doesn't have particularly stellar accountability for its property. Particularly the Department of Defense and Justice. Does anyone remember the number of laptops the Justice Dept. "lost"? Not to mention the weapons the FBI "loses" on a regular basis. The items that were supposedly listed on E-Bay could concievably have been purchased legally through the Defense Reutilization and MARKETING Office (DRMO). As for the comment about Iran, can we all say "fear mongering?" sure we can

Re:Fear mongering? (1)

jcnnghm (538570) | about 6 years ago | (#23055064)

What do you think is meant when these departments report losing inventory? That they collectively misplaced it? I suppose the loss prevention teams at major retailers are there to make sure large quantities of merchandise aren't being misplaced around the store as well. Or perhaps the massive employee theft and internal fraud problems that plague the private sector also exist in government, and hot high ticket items fall off the back of trucks or leave the office with someone and never come back.

You are delusional if you believe that there aren't people at every organization that will try their best to rob the place blind. The corollary to that is, you're also delusional if you believe there aren't countries and world leaders that given the opportunity, wouldn't do you harm. Pull your head out of the sand, remove your rose-colored glasses, and get real.

Re:Fear mongering? (1)

optimistic_cynic (1272302) | about 6 years ago | (#23055302)

Yeah, well, there are undoubtedly people in cloaks carrying daggers creeping around stealing equipment that is readily available at most, if not all, military surplus stores, but it still boils down to the absolutely lack-luster attempt the government makes to protect its property. How much of the m(b)illions of dollars of equipment we simply left behind in...oh say..Viet Nam, Afganistan, Iraq, Grenada, Panama, and God know how many other "clandestine" operations all over the world do you honestly think didn't end up in the hands of "someone" who could do harm to another human, be it me or anyone else? For God's sake we can't even keep track of nuclear warheads that fly across the country illegally. If my head is in the sand, it seems as though we share the same sandpile.

Re:Fear mongering? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23054080)

It is not so much fear mongering as an inaccurate assumption that everyone knows that in the late 1970's the US exported a fleet of F-14s to Iran. Obviously when the current government came into power we stopped exporting parts to them, so they are probably one of the few countries that would actually be more threatening if they got their hands on some random F-14 parts.

Re:Fear mongering? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23054242)

Well the Iranians are mentioned because IIRC they are the ONLY country that operates the F-14.

Re:Fear mongering? (2, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | about 6 years ago | (#23054246)

If I were a major government I would have much more sophisticated methods of acquiring stolen property than ebay. Ebay has not privacy guarantees, and has no incentives to keep any particular customer or seller happy. If one goes another will take the place.

It is fear mongering. If the Iranian government can get machinery to refine nuclear materials, then why not an plane. And what are they going to do with one plane, other than use it create other planes, in which case they need a whole plane to begin with, not bit and pieces.

To put it plainly, Ebay may be where someone like the Eric Rudolf and the Army of God might buy stuff to kill women and children. And while a group like that could use an F-16, I do not see the US administration monitoring radical US traditional churches, just people whose beliefs disagree with their own.

Re:Fear mongering? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23054386)

Exactly. Whoever wrote the original article is largely misinformed and probably incompetent. The Iranians DON'T have a military. Everyone knows the most powerful countries in the middle east are Israel and the U.S. The only threat Iran poses is that of an ant to a boy (the US) with a magnifying glass on a very sunny day.

Stolen parts (5, Funny)

Wowsers (1151731) | about 6 years ago | (#23053808)

I'm sure that they could get the stolen parts back, don't Paypal have an excellent record for helping all sides in disputes?

Nothing new here (4, Informative)

Hojima (1228978) | about 6 years ago | (#23053814)

People have been selling military equipment from the US for years. Ever seen "Lord of War"? Not all of it was fiction you know. Probably the only surprise is that it was sold on ebay. And chances are that the military equipment wasn't stolen either. Many parts from scrapped vehicles are given or sold to boneyards to be sold again. Hell, the old motors from Vietnam's apache helicopters are actually in use on speedboats up to this day.

Re:Nothing new here (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23054284)

Uhmmm we had apache helicopter's in Vietnam? wow.. :) And if I recall right, most of Lord of War was actually based off of a true story.

More fearmongering? (5, Informative)

ParaShoot (992496) | about 6 years ago | (#23053820)

The Register [theregister.co.uk] has their usual perspective-giving article up, for those of you who might be inclined to start screaming OMG TERRORISTS as the US Government no doubt wants you to.

Which is scarier? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23053830)

The fact that stuff is been stolen from the military or the fact you can buy it all from Ebay of all places?

Fines involved (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23053880)

Copy a single song recorded in 1950 and not heard on the radio for decades so that you can practice it on your guitar? WIth these new laws being proposed, you could owe the publisher millions in fines and fees.

Sell stolen US F-14 parts for profit to anyone, so that you can buy some crack? Misdemeanor.

Re:Fines involved (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23055168)

When I read that, a Johnny Cash song got stuck in my head ("One Piece at a Time").

It seems clear that there is a problem.... (1)

3seas (184403) | about 6 years ago | (#23053886)

... with US security of military supplies.

Certainly this is more serious than any supposed terrorist country or terrorist group buying such property.

Play with matches and you will burn yourself.

What a crock of shit (5, Insightful)

AIFEX (1036394) | about 6 years ago | (#23053932)

"The property was likely stolen from the Defense Department, the report said."

Ok, probably the F-14 parts, but being ex-forces I myself have about 3 NBC suits and a box full of respirator canisters, amongst god knows what else, from clothes to tins, helmets, gortex. It's all just surplus you pick up during your time in. Half of it you can buy and any army surplus store/warehouse anyway.

Re:What a crock of shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23053992)

Exactly! The person buying the suit is most likely another soldier who lost his in the field and has to turn one in to clear the post before leaving the military or for another assignment - not some terrorist.

Re:What a crock of shit (1)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | about 6 years ago | (#23054400)

I think what they are trying to say is that if you have it and didn't give it back when you out processed "technically" it's stolen. It might not be a nefarious thing such as "Hey lets steal this so we can sell it online, but it is something that they were supposed to give back. Selling it just makes it look worse.

Re:What a crock of shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23054882)

Here's the thing though, if you just turn in an extra set some other soldier can't get a replacement for the one he needs to clear. It's better off sold to the off-post military surplus store so when someone needs to clear they can run off post and buy it rather than fill out forms and over-pay for new equipment to replace the one some do-gooding soldier turned in already. Also it's not really like it's theft as long as it stays within the food chain of the u.s. military. Most likely the buyer of these lost items is responsible for their own set of lost items...it's a one for one. Consider the profit from these sales a finders fee for returning a lost item.

I'm speaking from experience here too, I lost something and had to buy it when I cleared. I'm thankful someone found something and sold it to the off-post surplus store.

Re:What a crock of shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23054568)

Never mind that. You can get all that fancy "nuclear/biological protective gear" by opening an ordinary scientific supply catalog and ordering it. There are dozens of companies. And, my god, most of those companies also have ordering ON THE INTERNET!

NBC Suit loss is common (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23053962)

Every soldier is issued an NBC suit (including mask and filters) and they are one of the first things to get lost on field deployments - not a major theft of some military secret equipment.

Goos invenrory keeping (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23053982)

>>> To correct the problem, the Army started a program in 2006 to account for all of its inventories. To date the Army has accounted for more than 20,000 items worth more than $135 million, she said.

So they can account for 20000 items with 1,426,713 active members in the army ? Sounds like they can't even account for all their uniforms.

Don't know about the US army but... (5, Interesting)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | about 6 years ago | (#23054078)

.. My grandfather always has these kindof stories from when h e lead different sections in the Belgian army. Mostly it was because of the paperwork. I recall him telling about an inspector asking for a specific vehicle. My grandfather would look it up in the logbooks and reported it being at a certain base. After his reporting, he got a reply asking wherever he was "really sure". So he sent out a soldier to verify it, he came back, reported the vehicles present in that base. But the guy never checked the chassis numbers and such. He just confirmed there were vehicles of that type present.

Turned out, the bordercontrol had arrested some guys who'd stolen some vehicles. Officially they weren't gone as they weren't reported missing.

Same with selling overstock; Every month a train came by bringing soldiers' cigarettes. They were picked up from the town and brought to base. At a certain point the soldier ordered to pick them up reported the shipment being picked up by "unknown" individuals. (so some Germans have been imposing as an army unit to pick up the shipment cigarettes). Since then my grandfather was put in charge for a new order, with the order to order 20% extra "just in case".
Instead of piling up the 20%, they devised a plan to sell it consistently through an external contractor and the profits where split. Until bordercontrol noticed an unusual high amount of soldiers going home for the weekend and they've searched some vehicles.

This is all post-WW erra with a bloathed army with paper reporting, but still. I can imagine there are still people trying to make a profit like this or the same logistic problems.

Oh yea, my grandfather went on trail for that and got away clean because they had to sign a statement they couldn't sell "their own" rations. He stated he didn't, he had sold overstock. After that he was put in charge of all logistics instead of his own regiment and the statement was adjusted.

Feedback (5, Funny)

base3 (539820) | about 6 years ago | (#23054258)

Great F-14, kills infidels wonderfully. Allahu Ackbar! A++++++

Re:Feedback (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23055342)

Would buy again, but died in suicide crash.

Posting anon^H^H^H^Hposthumously for obvious reasons.

don't let the truth spoil a good story (3, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 6 years ago | (#23054308)

Given the headline that says the items were stolen, how come later it says they were "likely" stolen and also that "the investigators couldn't determinewhere the sellers had obtained ..."

It mentions a couple of "components" from F14's - what? Nut and bolts or complete avionics - there's a huge difference. I would expect that if it had been anything significant, they wouldn't named them - so my money is on a few small pieces of easily machined metal.

The article then makes the subtle leap from talking about buying these F14 spares to say "The warplanes, now retired by the military, could easily be purchased and transferred to the Iranian military, which is seeking its".

Pardon me, but nowhere are they claiming to have actually *bought* the planes. They just seem to be sowing FUD in the readers mind.

It's a pity these guys couldn't find any journalistic integrity for sale on eBay - or maybe that's where theirs went.

Re:don't let the truth spoil a good story (1)

Repossessed (1117929) | about 6 years ago | (#23055204)

Iran is the logical endpoint for black market F-14 parts actually, since Iran owns actual F-14s, and needs parts for maintenance.

I do not remember seeing any F-14 parts (4, Insightful)

Reconmax (1272280) | about 6 years ago | (#23054404)

I was in the army 15 years ago and the pawn shops around post were full of military equipment. Not just the stuff that soldiers are expected to buy for their job either. I remember soldiers who lost their NBC (nuclear/biological/chemical) mask would go buy one at a pawn shop so they would have something to turn in when they PCS (Permanent Change of Station). However, I do not remember seeing any F-14 parts...

Nevermind ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#23054458)

...checking up on F-14 parts, make sure all that Coltan is accounted for.

Priorities, people!

Its not all stolen... (4, Informative)

missileman (1101691) | about 6 years ago | (#23054556)

Heaps of guys in the hobby have built home sims using parts from real jets. F15s, F16s, A7Es etc. There *are* legitimate ways of getting hold of cockpit parts that aren't stolen. Since the F14 is no longer in service it would not be a stretch at all to find bits of a broken up one for sale. One guy got a whole F15 cockpit for his project. http://www.f15sim.com/index.html [f15sim.com]

He got it from the Olympia Air Museum. Prior to that it was PURCHASED from McChord AFB in Tacoma after being struck off the register. It was used for training battle damage repair.

Aircraft parts from wrecked, scraped airframes often legitimately come up for sale on Ebay, IMO this report / article is just a way to promote an agenda. Congress are probably planning some new bill defining everyone who possesses ex-military equipment a terrorist. I guess I'm a cynic.

Used? (1)

shadow42 (996367) | about 6 years ago | (#23054704)

Don't worry about it. The new owner of the used radiation protection suit probably won't have a chance to use it for very long.

Stockpiling Ammo and Guns (1)

failedlogic (627314) | about 6 years ago | (#23054732)

Its been long known that some soldiers, etc. have been keeping guns and ammo for themselves including rifles and machine guns. In Canada a few years ago some soldiers robbed a bank and were armed to the teeth: C7s, handguns, flashbangs.

I wouldn't be surprised that high explosives and such are also stolen. I've gone to military bases before and you seriously don't want to mess with the military police. I don't even want to think what would happen - or who would go after you - if you stole F-14 parts or chem-bio suits with the special filters in the gas masks.

I certainly hope, that there's more of a crack down on stealing equipment. At the least, stealing guns and ammo poses a serious risk to the public at large.

"Likely stolen" (3, Interesting)

menace3society (768451) | about 6 years ago | (#23055288)

The DoD spokesjerk says the kit was "likely stolen". These guys have been misplacing shit for years, and they have the audacity to assume some junk sold on the internet is stolen?

I saw an documentary on the war in Iraq. One segment focused on a particular base where various units would be stationed temporarily before being moved on to somewhere else. Any material or equipment that they didn't want to take with them at the end of their stay just got dumped because they didn't want to do the paperwork to return it to the quartermaster. It all just ended up being a big pile of junk in the middle of the desert, and there are apparently dozens of these across Iraq. You expect me to believe that no one just picks that stuff up takes it home?

If the Defense Department wants to stop this stuff being sold online, they should stop misplacing it in the first place. They have no one but themselves to blame.
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