The Government Accountability Office has discovered a giant loophole for individuals to secure military equipment generally reserved for law enforcement- all you need is a fake agency, address and a website.
According to a GAO report, the auditing agency created a fake police department, complete with website and an address that led to an abandoned lot, resulting in over $1.2 million in weapons through the “1033” surplus recycling program (as well as night vision goggles and other supplies) being transferred directly to them.
The agency more than happy to hand it all over? None other than the Defence Logistics Agency (DLA), who did little to no checking beforehand on whom they were sending the hardware to.
“The biggest problem is that DLA’s internal control processes for this program were really broken,” said GAO director Zina Merritt, who orchestrated the sting. “We found, for example, that when we applied for the program as a fake organization, no one ever even called us to verify information. They didn’t attempt to come out to the location to visit us. Secondly, when the investigators went to the location, they were actually able to get the items without presenting the proper identification. Third, they were able to get a quantity of items that wasn’t consistent with what we bid for; actually, we got more items. And fourth, we found that [the DLA] just [doesn’t] have a framework in order to do fraud mitigation at all stages of the program. Essentially, that puts any organization at risk of this happening again.”
The DOD said in the report that it was taking “actions to address identified weaknesses in its excess controlled property program.”
According to Arstechnica, the DLA has given away up to $6 billion worth of weapons and gear to LE Agencies under the 1033 program.