You tell me. All’s I know is, this is supposed to be a major no-no.
Fighter jet parts and other sensitive U.S. military gear seized from front companies for Iran and brokers for China have been traced in criminal cases to a surprising source: the Pentagon.
In one case, federal investigators said, contraband purchased in Defense Department surplus auctions was delivered to Iran, a country President Bush has branded part of an “axis of evil.”
Federal investigators are increasingly anxious that Iran is within easy reach of a top priority on its shopping list: parts for the precious fleet of F-14 “Tomcat” fighter jets the United States let Iran buy in the 1970s when it was an ally.
In one case, convicted middlemen for Iran bought Tomcat parts from the Defense Department’s surplus division. Customs agents confiscated them and returned them to the Pentagon, which sold them again — customs evidence tags still attached — to another buyer, a suspected broker for Iran.
“That would be evidence of a significant breakdown, in my view, in controls and processes,” said Greg Kutz, the Government Accountability Office’s head of special investigations. “It shouldn’t happen the first time, let alone the second time.”
The Pentagon recently retired its Tomcats and is shipping tens of thousands of spare parts to its surplus office — the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service — where they could be sold in public auctions. Iran is the only other country flying F-14s.
“It stands to reason Iran will be even more aggressive in seeking F-14 parts,” said Stephen Bogni, head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s arms export investigations. Iran can produce only about 15 percent of the parts itself, he said.
If this stinks of hypocrisy to you, pat yourself on the back. It IS hypocrisy of the rankest sort. Remember, this is the same bunch that reneged on a decades-old contract with Venezuela to service and supply spare parts for its aging fleet of F-16 jets. According to Slate, that contract arose during the Reagan era, when then-president Luis Herrera Campins got behind Reagan’s SOB in El Salvador. As you can see, loyalty has its rewards.
Unfortunately, the current president of Venezuela is a rather independent-minded guy. He won’t get behind Washington or any of its sons of bitches anywhere. So, in an effort to render him impotent, Washington has decreed that he can buy no more plane parts, or any other military hardware, made in the USA. Anyone who sells US war junk to him is up to the eyeballs in ca-ca. So he went and bought Russian planes instead.
Item: said independent minded president of Venezuela is on rather friendly terms with fellow OPEC nation Iran. Hmm, maybe they can negotiate a deal with these middlemen for Chavecito. Could it possibly hurt to try? After all, the Pentagon seems to think it’s fine for middlemen to sell to Iran!