June 4th, 2009
11:48 AM ET
9 years ago

Investigation finds U.S. military hardware easily bought at home

WASHINGTON (CNN) – U.S. military hardware that can be used in nuclear devices and ground fighting can be easily purchased at home and shipped overseas, an undercover government investigation revealed Thursday.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) watchdog agency set up fake companies to obtain so-called dual use items – which have both military and commercial use – in the United States and ship them overseas, according to testimony at a House subcommittee hearing.

Items purchased in the bogus transactions included parts for making nuclear devices and guiding missiles that could carry nuclear warheads, as well as night-vision goggles, body armor and other hardware for ground combat, Rep. John Dingell, D-Michigan, said in opening the hearing of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee.

"There appears to be a gigantic loophole within our laws that makes it easy for our enemies to get hold of our superior military technology and use it against us," Dingell said.

Witnesses scheduled to testify at the hearing included GAO investigators and representatives of companies that sold the items to them.

The hearing focused on both the easy procurement of military technology in the United States, and the equal ease in shipping the items out of the country. Committee members stressed that no laws were broken by any companies, which they said made the situation more troubling.

"The scandal here may be what is legal, not what is illegal," said Rep. Greg Walden, R-Oregon.

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Danny

    That, my dear politicians, is what happens when military work is completely contracted out to private corporations. Say Haliburton? And now they're surprised at this? Unbelievable.

    June 4, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  2. Reformed Republican

    But I thought the rethuglicants were supposed to be keeping us "safe" over the last 8 years?
    Now we're finding out that Bushy and Cheney were passing non-regulatory laws that allowed Haliburton and the like to sell our best military secrets and hardware to the Islamic terrorists!
    Nice job GOPers....

    June 4, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  3. Jon in CA

    "There appears to be a gigantic loophole within our laws that makes it easy for our enemies to get hold of our superior military technology and use it against us," Dingell said.

    I thought Obama just made a grand speech in Cairo? Aren't we safe now? Haven't our enemies been dazzled by his oratory skills and given up the desire to harm America??

    Why should we care about loopholes allowing our enemies to acquire weapons to be used against us???

    June 4, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  4. Lucy Jeanne

    Well, Duh.... As Eisenhower mentioned so long ago, the military industrial complex is not about patriotism, values, even peace – it’s about profit. We should be afraid of entities that make money no matter who wins, who make more in protracted conflict. Very afraid.

    June 4, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  5. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Well we can't have this going on. Customs needs to crackdown on this. I see how it can be simple to transport a weapon across borders. You just simply have to break it down into pieces that can be shipped independently. There needs to be a mor thorough screening of packages being shipped like this.

    June 4, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  6. Don

    Wow this is great. Why don't you give a blow by blow process exactly how to do this? Incidently this is not all Haliburton there my friend.

    June 4, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  7. Lisa, Laughlin NV

    I don't see one word in this article that even mentions Haliburton, Bush or Cheney.

    It speaks about a loophole in the law and that is why we need to make sure said loopholes are closed.

    When are the democrats going to start taking responsibility for anything. It is so darn easy to sit her and blame Bush for the next 31/2 years and that way Obama comes out smelling like a rose. But remember Congress (democratic led since 2006) has not closed these loopholes and that is the body that has the power to do it not the White House.

    June 4, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  8. Melissa

    Thats not exactly a surprise. And yet, for some insane reason, the Republicans still like to claim that smaller gvt and no regulation is better.

    June 4, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  9. Lynda/Minnesota

    This has been going on since for more years than I care to count. When Eisenhower was in office he coined it greed.

    June 4, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. mike

    hey Jon in CA June 4th, 2009 12:03 pm ET
    you get laid off or something? speeches to muslims and weapons smuggling are a bit different, you grouchy old white man.

    June 4, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  11. pence

    it is clear where the arms are made, USA, what kind of money is involved, who makes the wars, USA, and how laws are made and circumvented.
    Why is it everyone is so suprised when a tidbit is revealed about our dark underbelly?

    June 4, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  12. B.H.

    The great MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX is alive and well folks.
    Every generation has to have its wars to keep them in business..

    Just think about what is spent globally to maintain this madness.

    June 4, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  13. katiec

    More proof of how irresponsible the pentagon has become.
    Unlimited, unchecked spending, granting no bid contracts, and an ego beyond belief. They have been raping the American taxpayers
    for years and getting away with it.
    It has to stop!

    June 4, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  14. ironclub

    GM is selling the Hummer division to a company in China. Does this include the Hummer vehicles our Military uses?

    June 4, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  15. Republican in PA

    I think many of you are misunderstanding the investigation. They are speaking of multi use products. For example, the seals in your car can also be used in military products. This is the tip of a very large iceburg. They are some very strick regulations most of us follow but there are too many gov contractors who do not and get away with it for a number of reasons. This is not about out sourcing as Bush did but about Bush allowing military specifications to be opened.

    June 4, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  16. William, from Cali!

    CHANGE THE LAWS!...............................THEY DID IT FOR BANKING, HOUSING, etc., etc.,.................................................

    June 4, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  17. Ren from Baltimore

    Now, why don't Rush and Hannity and company dig up this stuff? Because it's been going on since Bush? It really seems to have been going on forever. Here's a worthwhile topic to take on, for the benefit of the entire country.

    Guys, put up or shut up-either you're good for this kind of digging or you need to sit still for the next six months.

    June 4, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  18. shoegazer


    June 4, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  19. Randolph Carter

    Lucy Jeanne:
    Well, Duh…. As Eisenhower mentioned so long ago, the military industrial complex is not about patriotism, values, even peace – it’s about profit. We should be afraid of entities that make money no matter who wins, who make more in protracted conflict. Very afraid.

    Well said. Declaring a "war on terror" enables us to constantly redefine who the terrorists are, thus maintaining an eternal state of warfare. Brilliant, really. Evil but brilliant. Have a nice day!

    June 4, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  20. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    There needs to be a way to secure the material for WMD. Unfortunately, I think that there will be a way for people to get this to use against our military and civilian populations no matter how hard we try.

    June 4, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  21. Michael M, Phoenix AZ

    No wonder so many automatic and other weapons make it across the border to Mexico and the drug cartels.

    June 4, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  22. ReardonMetal

    This article sucks, more of the hate-Bush routine. Be a little more specific with your reporting CNN. What hardware? heaven forbid the terrorists buy nuts and bolts from us.

    June 4, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  23. Sick -n- Tired

    For all of you mentally challenged (which is about 99% of you as far as I can tell from reading some of the comments) It's called the Military Industrial Complex! I think some of you would benefit greatly from spitting out that mouthful of grass that all you sheep have been feasting on for the past 8 years and wake up! I'm just saying!

    June 4, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  24. LouAz

    Someone needs to explain just what these items really are. A transistor can be used in anything electric. That does not mean it IS being used in a nuclear device. The bad guys use cell phones to detonate IUDs. Shall we quit cell phone export ( although I doubt any are exported from the US. They maybe made in third world countries by US companies) ? Is someone crying WOLF here ? Even if we controlled export of "?", almost everything is available from some other country. Seems we don't do anything about AK-47s and the ammunition ? Why not start there ? Because we can't. So figure out something else folks.

    June 4, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |