What's the Max Bid on a Tank?
Feds find military surplus equipment being sold via ebay, Craigslist
By Richard Whittaker, 12:25PM, Fri. Apr. 11, 2008
Looking for some sensitive military equipment? Try Craigslist!
That's the findings of a new General Audit Office report, called Internet Sales: Undercover Purchases on eBay and Craigslist Reveal a Market for Sensitive and Stolen U.S. Military Items, in which they claim that a lot of stolen army kit is turning up in online marketplaces (frankly, this is what used to be called "quarter-master's bonus".) They found items included on their Munitions List, meaning overseas sales are restricted. This included mil-spec night vision goggles, body armor, and spare uniforms. They also found a "robust market" for military meals, ready-to-eat (MRE). And if you don't think they count as a munition, you've never eaten one.
The headline item, they claim, is that two vendors were selling spare parts for an F-14 Tomcat on ebay: since the only airforce flying these is Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force, which still flies 20 of its original fleet of 79, the inevitable buyer seems to be them, or a very passionate Top Gun fan.
One could argue that, if the biggest worry that the U.S. has from Iran is the fleet of F-14s it sold to the Iranian airforce in 1976, that's not much of a worry. However, those old Tomcats possibly wouldn't be airworthy if, as the GAO found out last year, the Pentagon had been accidentally selling surplus spare parts to middlemen arms dealers.