I often find myself two steps behind the real geniuses of this world. For example, I never thought of setting up a fake website for a nonexistent law enforcement department to get the federal government to ship me military weapons:
If you’re not a US military or police buff, you probably have never heard of the 1033 Program. It essentially provides a bureaucratic means to transfer excess military grade weapons to local law enforcement agencies. Sure, you may not like local police departments having all types of military gear, such as grenade launchers, helicopters, boats, M14s, M16s, and so on.
And you probably won’t like how the agency seemingly doles out the weapons to anybody. All you have to do is apply, create a fake website, and the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) will oblige. Law enforcement experience is not required. There doesn’t seem to be a requirement that the requesting agency actually be real, either.
That’s according to a new Government Accountability Office report. The government auditing agency created a fake website of a fake police department and applied for the surplus goods. The fake agency was handed $1.2 million in weapons, including night-vision goggles, simulated rifles, and simulated pipe bombs. The simulated rifles and pipe bombs could have been turned into “potentially lethal items if modified with commercially available items,” according to the report. Simulated weapons are used for training purposes.
And here I thought that the Bureau of Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) was the only agency that doled out military hardware to any criminal gang that asked. Apparently you don’t even need a legitimate criminal gang to get military hardware from the Department of Defense (DoD). Unfortunately, now that the Government Accountability Office (GOA) has made a stink about this the DoD will likely start exercising slightly more diligence in verifying that the organization requesting military hardware is, in fact, a legitimate criminal organization. If only I had thought about this first, I too could be cruising around in a Bearcat like my local police department.