According to a March 12 US Naval Criminal Investigative Service report published by The Intercept, Department of Defense officials misplaced equipment from a $750 million shipment of tools aimed at helping US soldiers track and disable improvised explosive devices. Some of the 32,000 sensitive, restricted pieces of equipment distributed through the program were only found after they were posted for sale on websites like eBay and Craigslist.
“Since 2009, some of this advanced hardware has been reported as missing and is actively being sold or discussed on the global market on a variety of websites,” said the report. The items, which include capabilities like night vision and thermal optic imaging, appeared for sale on 13 websites, including texasguntalk.com and sportfishermen.com, listed as equipment for outdoor activities like hunting and camping.
Jana Winter and Sharon Weinberger at The Intercept wrote that they “found an eBay listing from Dec. 2014 for one of the pieces of equipment listed in the the NCIS document — the OASYS-BAE Systems Universal Thermal Monocular; it was listed for sale in Dec. 2014 for $6,000, with free standard shipping. Another item, currently listed for sale, is a CNVD-T Clip-On Night Vision Device Thermal System; it is advertised for $16,599.00 in ‘new condition!'”
The NCIS report concluded, “NCIS asks for your help in identifying and recovering these items to keep foreign entities from exploiting the technologies in these devices and using them against the U.S. military, NATO allies, or civilian law enforcement personnel during the course of their duties.”
The US Navy’s Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, which acquires and issues the equipment, has been criticized in a 2012 Government Accountability Office report for its failure to oversee $18 billion in expenses. Military.com is reporting that the DOD is working on a downsizing plan for JIEDDO, complete with budget and personnel cuts, a claim which JIEDDO spokesperson David Small denied in comments to The Intercept.