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The Military The Almighty Buck Technology

Stolen US Military Equipment Being Sold On eBay 173

Posted by Soulskill
from the i'm-only-borrowing-your-hum-vee dept.
I Buy These From eBay points out a Washington Post story about how stolen military equipment has ended up on eBay and Craigslist. Undercover investigators reported being able to purchase defense-related items with "no questions asked." Let's hope the sellers don't get their hands on any retired rebellious robots. From the Post: "Among the items purchased include two components from F-14 fighter jets, bought from separate buyers on eBay. The warplanes, now retired by the military, could easily be purchased and transferred to the Iranian military, which is seeking its components, the report said. Investigators couldn't determine where the sellers had obtained the F-14 parts. They also purchased from a Craigslist seller a used Nuclear Biological Chemical protective suit, other protective accessories as well as an unused chemical-biological canister, which contained the mask filter used to guard against warfare agents. The property was likely stolen from the Defense Department, the report said."
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Stolen US Military Equipment Being Sold On eBay

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  • I believe they are available in kit form from Ikea in Teheran.
    • by Praedon (707326)
      If I am correct, a Gripen is made by Saab... which also makes, well, cars, and a crap load of other stuff that is completely unrelated to cars, like for instance radars and underwater systems for detecting mines and such. I'd love to see a Saab car come equipped with all their other products they make : )

      As for the fun happy stuff on eBay and Craigslist, this isn't the first time stolen military equipment was placed on eBay... I can't find the article right now, but it's been happening off and on for the p
    • by m.ducharme (1082683) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @11:03AM (#23054220)
      Yeah, but they take 20-30 years to assemble, and if you lose the special Allen key, you're fucked.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by gripen40k (957933)
      Hey! My name finally gets mentioned in /. !

      I think the underlying point of your message though is that Iran is more than capable of buying jets from other military hardware producing nations. The trick is finding one that wouldn't mind selling them the stuff. Maybe the French?
  • Not smart (Score:5, Insightful)

    by saibot834 (1061528) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @09:19AM (#23053700) Homepage
    Ebay policy [ebay.com] prohibits sale of stolen items and parts of a F-14 are obviously stolen if on Ebay. So, consequence one will be removal of the auction. Consequence two is, that now Ebay has the IP-Adresses of those people and they properly will give it to the military. They better used Tor or live in a country far far away.

    This behavior is IMHO incredibly stupid. If you manage to steal such items, one would think that you also manage to sell them somewhere else than on Ebay.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Kuroji (990107)
      Among the items purchased include two components from F-14 fighter jets ...

      I think someone wasn't paying attention down at eBay, but the summary would imply these things were in fact bought.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by peragrin (659227)
        If memory serves they were radio annetenna's. not turbine parts, or gear parts but turbine.

        Also if Iran was smart they would have mothballed everything, and disassembled at least one plane. from there they could duplicate all the mechanical parts, and would only then have to figure out the electronics. Though I highly doubt that those planes are in flying condition anymore. Planes that old need to have every nut and bolt checked.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Kuroji (990107)
          Hey, that's how the Soviets did it.

          If the Iranians are smart, they would have torn the planes down in the eighties and made replicas then. Somehow I doubt this is the case, however - they probably went for the lowest bidder as most militaries do when it comes down to something that isn't related to intercontinental bombers.
          • by pjt33 (739471)
            Not entirely. The Soviets had a massive section of their espionage devoted to science and technology, Directorate T of the KGB.
        • Re:Not smart (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Konster (252488) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @09:58AM (#23053892)
          A lot of things can be replicated on a lathe or whatever. You can replicate its dimensions, but you cannot replicate alloys...get the alloy wrong and the part doesn't work at all. Beyond that, there's the manufacturing technique that needs to be reverse engineered, too. This is not a trivial task. Screw up the process of manufacturing and you've got nothing.

          Beyond all those hurdles, you've got to consider the lubricants as well, screw that up and the parts don't work.

          Screw up anything in the chain and nothing works.

          There's a reason why countries like Iran or whatever aren't flying around in replica F-14's and F-15's. While they may have the dimensions to replicate a part, they don't have the huge amount of engineering required to make that part work, and work reliably.

          The engineering know-how that goes into a sophisticated bit of military hardware spans most hardcore sciences spanning many decades of research, know how, genuine talent and knowledge. This cannot be reverse engineered or reproduced on a lathe.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by bberens (965711)

            There's a reason why countries like Iran or whatever aren't flying around in replica F-14's and F-15's. While they may have the dimensions to replicate a part, they don't have the huge amount of engineering required to make that part work, and work reliably.

            You're talking about a country which my President has told me has a nuclear weapons program. Something tells me if they're capable of getting nuclear engineers, they can figure out how to make a half-decent fighter jet if they really needed to.

            • Re:Not smart (Score:5, Interesting)

              by Crayon Kid (700279) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @10:30AM (#23054036)
              Or buy one. F15 is not the only model in the world. Nor are all fighter planes made by the US.

              That's not the point. It's not about getting war tech, it's about studying current american war tech to find weaknesses.

              Stuff like this surfacing on eBay is silly for many reasons. Frankly, I'm doubting the entire story, or at the very least the angle.

              The WP article is full of inflamatory speculation, slapping together possibly unrelated information to make a troll. Every other paragraph has dubious points in it. What exactly are those "plane parts"? They're not saying. Who bought them? Not a peep, so then why finger Iran if there's no evidence? They say they couldn't figure out where the parts came from, yet they "must" be "stolen", because that's how they automatically define selling certain kinds of Army items.

              Granted, any piece of knowledge about the US army may be useful for any foreign power. But if the US army doesn't want stuff to end up on eBay they should guard it more careful. Since they didn't, there's either major incompetence at play, or it wasn't such sensitive material after all.

              Seriously, do you really think that truly useful information or material of this kind would be sold on eBay? When there are professional arms dealers and spies out there? Let's give those Hollywood movies a rest, shall we.

              If I were to take this article at face value, I'd say it's an attempt at sticking it to the army for not taking better care of its stuff. While I'm all for that, it stops being funny once non sequitur allegations are made about certain foreign countries. Then it becomes a transparent attempt at instilling paranoia among the public. "Oh noes, Iran is buying our planes on eBay! How low have we sunk! We're doomed!" Please.
              • Re:Not smart (Score:5, Informative)

                by couchslug (175151) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @04:42PM (#23056092)
                "If I were to take this article at face value, I'd say it's an attempt at sticking it to the army for not taking better care of its stuff. While I'm all for that, it stops being funny once non sequitur allegations are made about certain foreign countries. Then it becomes a transparent attempt at instilling paranoia among the public."

                You are quite right!

                The list of stuff isn't impressive. We should be impressed by a fucking used NBC suit? Literally millions of the things have been produced from the Cold War onward. They are not classified. The "used" (= charcoal no workee no more, washed multiple times so it doesn't stain your uniform black) suits are in every G.I.s NBC training bag and many surplus stores and are NOT illegal to possess!

                Neither are uniforms, with the caveat that you must buy them or be issued them and not (no shit) steal them. Anybody who wants to can buy them (or nicer private brands) online at U.S. Cavalry, Brigade Quartermasters, etc. G.I.s often spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on aftermarket gear.

                Wanna legal mask?
                http://www.approvedgasmasks.com/msa-mcu2p.htm [approvedgasmasks.com]

                Whole NBC ensembles?
                http://www.approvedgasmasks.com/mask-kits.htm [approvedgasmasks.com]

                I'm sure some illegal gear ends up on Ebay (SAPI plates, etc) but it would be nice to see WHICH "F-14" parts were there. Just because a National Stock Number crosses to an F-14 doesn't make it strategic material.

                Wanna see everything that's for sale legally from Uncle Sugar? You can even bid online:
                http://www.govliquidation.com/ [govliquidation.com]

                I did 26 years (Comm/Nav. Engines,Crew Chief) in the USAF and am familiar with aircraft, parts, supply, and buying stuff outta surplus even before it was outsourced to GovLiquidation. The WaPo piece is IMO bullshit fearmongering and reflects their dislike for the military.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by ColdWetDog (752185) *

              Something tells me if they're capable of getting nuclear engineers, they can figure out how to make a half-decent fighter jet if they really needed to.

              They likely could, but it's still difficult and requires more than just some smart engineers. As has been pointed out, it's a manufacturing / design / maintenance chain that's complex and expensive. In addition, one or two nuclear weapons constitutes a "win" in this game. One or two reverse engineered F14's constitutes target practice for the Israeli Air

            • by Keebler71 (520908)
              Nuclear weapons were first developed in the 40's. As such it might be more reasonable to assume that if they have engineers capable of building a nuclear weapon - then they should be able to make a nice piston engine fighter.
              • by drinkypoo (153816)

                Nuclear weapons were first developed in the 40's. As such it might be more reasonable to assume that if they have engineers capable of building a nuclear weapon - then they should be able to make a nice piston engine fighter.

                Could you please explain why place any prop-driven plane has in a dogfight today?

                One or two HE 20mm cannon rounds and anything like that is going to drop right out of the sky. And because it's basically standing still compared to any fighter jet, it has basically no chance to even score a hit. F-14s can launch missiles at something like eight independent targets; others can usually handle less but still multiple targets.

                The only weapon really useful to an underdog nation is a nuke. Everything else is bu

                • by Keebler71 (520908)
                  I think you missed my point entirely. The GP had suggested that if they have smart enough engineers to build a nuclear program, they should have the ability to build jet fighters as well. My point was that historically that is not the case -that historically nations developed prop fighter technology in about the same period as they developed nuclear programs.
            • by Kadin2048 (468275)

              You're talking about a country which my President has told me has a nuclear weapons program. Something tells me if they're capable of getting nuclear engineers, they can figure out how to make a half-decent fighter jet if they really needed to.

              A basic nuclear device is cutting-edge 1940s technology. They haven't been really high-tech since television has been in color. That they're not widely available is a testament to the economies of scale necessary to produce the nuclear material, and (much, much less so) the efforts on the part of countries that already have them to discourage other countries from acquiring them. (And also the disinterest of many countries who would be capable of producing them, if they really wanted to; a list that incl

          • Exactly. Thanks for adding some reason to the discussion.

            Quote from the Slashdot story: "The warplanes, now retired by the military, could easily be purchased and transferred to the Iranian military, which is seeking its components, the report said."

            Why does Iran want F-14 parts? I'm guessing that is because the war industry in the U.S. sold the Iranian government F-14s, with the permission and the aid of the U.S. government. Presumably that happened when the Shah was in control. The Shah was a U.S. government puppet, installed in 1953 after the U.S. government destroyed the administration of the democratically elected President Mohammed Mossadegh" [wikipedia.org]. That's right, those who control the U.S. government were against democracy, for violence, for interference in the operation of other countries, and they put profit above all other issues.

            Also, Iran is not the threat that is being presented to U.S. citizens. Those who control the U.S. government are trying to demonize Iran the way they demonized Iraq. They want a war, and the entire reason they want a war with Iran is the same as the reason they wanted war with Iraq: to make more money. Those who control the U.S. government have a sickness about money. They will do anything to get more money, even lie and kill other people.

            At the beginning of the first U.S. government-Iraq war, U.S. weapons companies were still delivering weapons to Iraq, under a long-term contract. Those who control the U.S. government and weapons companies want war, continous war.

            The U.S. government is the biggest promoter of violence in the world. Don't say "we" when talking about war. There is no "we", unless you are part of the group that makes the profits, while stealing from U.S. taxpayers.

            If you love your wife, and she is having a difficult time, you don't turn your back on her. You get involved and try to help. It's the same with your country. If you love the U.S. like I do, you will help stop the violence.
            • by Dun Malg (230075) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @05:59PM (#23056714) Homepage

              The Shah was a U.S. government puppet, installed in 1953 after the U.S. government destroyed the administration of the democratically elected President Mohammed Mossadegh" [wikipedia.org].
              Nice propaganda, but it isn't true. The US has indeed fomented rebellion and installed puppet dictators, but the Shah of Iran was not one of them. Shah Pahlavi was the last in a line of Iranian kings that goes back hundreds, and arguably thousands of years. The Shah, as head of the constitutional monarchy removed Mossadeq from his position as head of parliament after he 1) demanded full control of the military, 2) moved to abolish anonymity in popular voting, and 3) moved to dissolve parliament, a power reserved for the Shah. It was, in fact, Mossadeq who was trying to install himself as dictator. All the US did was strongly encourage the Shah to act within his power as head of state in removing a populist would-be dictator from a dangerous position. Now, Shah Pahlavi was no saint, to be sure, and the wisdom of our involvement in the region is debatable (see Pakistan today); but the popular myth that it was any sort of "coup" fails in the face of fact. Even the hideously anti-US slanted wikipedia entry admits that "Operation Ajax", the so-called "coup", was nothing of the sort:

              "The plot, known as Operation Ajax, centered around convincing Iran's monarch to use his constitutional authority to dismiss Mossadegh from office"

              Ah yeas, spreading stories about Mossadeq and lobbying the constitutional leader of the country to act within his powers to remove a man contrary to our interests, yes, that's the same as arming revolutionaries to storm the presidential mansion! In that case, anyone who's ever written a letter asking congress to impeach Bush, they are also attempting a "coup".

              Really, if you want an example of US malfeasance, go look at that asshole Kissinger with regard to Chile and Pinochet. Iran just ain't fuckin' it, no matter how much airhead intellectual leftist tell each other it was.
              • Protest: Your recounting of the story left out the most important details.

                1) The CIA, a secret organization, acted in a hidden way to interfere with the political operation of a sovereign nation.

                2) The hidden, sneaky U.S. government action had ONE purpose: To help private groups, oil companies, make more profit.

                3) The Iranians elected President Mossadegh in a democratic manner, believing they had some control over the political future of their country. The U.S. government's secret departments destr
              • by rtechie (244489)

                Shah Pahlavi was the last in a line of Iranian kings that goes back hundreds, and arguably thousands of years.

                Pahlavi's claim to the Iranian throne was always suspect. His father overthrew the previous Shah and he himself was appointed by the West to replace his father. Monarchs, who are dictators, have no valid mandate to rule anyone. Monarchies are inherently tyrannical.

                The Shah, as head of the constitutional monarchy removed Mossadeq from his position as head of parliament after he 1) demanded full control of the military, 2) moved to abolish anonymity in popular voting, and 3) moved to dissolve parliament, a power reserved for the Shah. It was, in fact, Mossadeq who was trying to install himself as dictator.

                Except that the Shah was also a dictator who was moving to overthrow him.

                The real issue was the fact that parliament, and Mossadeq in particular, nationalized the British oil company (now BP) that owned the Iranian oil industry. The population o

          • iran has supposedly reverse-engineered northrop f-5e for building the hesa azarakhsh. f-14 would be the next step.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Memnos (937795)
            I agree. I was involved in the construction of F-14's in th '70s, and the engineering requirements for the construction process were as complex as for the aircraft itself. Try doing high precision manufacturing with finicky Titanium, just to name one example.
            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              Try doing high precision manufacturing with finicky Titanium, just to name one example.

              I personally know a guy who lives in Santa Cruz county who does this in his garage. He used to make parts for NASA. Last I talked to him he was working on a project to make and install titanium valves and seats in his harley sportster so that it might be reliable.

              These people are out there in the world. Give them the right motivation, and they'll make your parts.

              Depending on the complexity of the part, it might be easiest just to let the computer do the machining, too. You can get a used bridgeport 2.5d

              • by Memnos (937795)
                You're correct, and it has gotten easier and the mills are far more cheap and capable than back in the day. But, building even a 70's era fighter jet required a big complex infrastructure, of which working with Titanium was but one part. Precision turbine blades were/are another. Getting all the damn pieces to actually work together w/o blowing up is another. But on your point, you're right, and the guy you spoke of is certainly more of an expert on that aspect than I was.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by budgenator (254554)
          Not everything can be taken apart in a way that preserves dimensions some pieces of the airframe for example may take 2 pieces of different aluminum alloys, glued together with high-strength epoxy and held together with rivets until the epoxy cures; good luck getting that apart. Often the order of assembly can change a brain numbingly difficult step into a totally impossible one; how many times have you had to redo step 12 correctly so you could do step 27 when putting together one of the pressed saw-dust b
      • Re:Not smart (Score:5, Informative)

        by penix1 (722987) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @09:58AM (#23053890) Homepage
        And this is something new?!?! Government surplus has been with us as long as government procurement has.

        http://www.govliquidation.com/list/c7007/lna/1.html [govliquidation.com]

        Get just about any aircraft parts directly from the government. Everything from engines to rotary blades for helicopters to complete aircraft shells. Nothing new here...
        • Government Liquidators are a private auction company commissioned by the USG, we've gotten a few things from them, bought a whole lots to get one or two items for less then the item would sell for on Ebay. Sometimes you get total junk, sometimes you get something that has never been used. Stuff from the Navy and Air Force is usually in the best shape, Army stuff is usually used to death. You also have to be careful to include shipping costs which can be considerable at times.
    • FUD (Score:5, Funny)

      by Missing_dc (1074809) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @10:11AM (#23053956)
      This is all FUD, I did a search on ebay and this is what I got:

      0 items found for: stolen military equipment

      How do they expect us to believe an article if we can't verify the sources ;)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      The scary thing is that this might be the top of the iceberg, how much of the militarys material is stolen each year?

      When I served in the army here in sweden it was more or less custamory to "lose" some stuff and keep it for yourself. Normally this was t-shirts or similar stuff but it was still pretty normal.

      Then I lost stuff (which you do) you couldn't help to feel guilty about it as if you would have stolen it because it was that common, and I can safetly say that the only thing I "stole" was a few empty
    • Re:Not smart (Score:5, Informative)

      by an.echte.trilingue (1063180) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @10:35AM (#23054052) Homepage

      This behavior is IMHO incredibly stupid. If you manage to steal such items, one would think that you also manage to sell them somewhere else than on Ebay.
      You would be surprised how easy and wide spread this is. I got out about a year and a half ago, but it was already pretty common. We had a guy in our commo unit who stole a projector and got caught because he sold it on Ebay. My battalion's head cook was selling MRE's on Ebay and got caught. Our sister unit had a First Sergeant whose wife (also an NCO) was mailing stolen equipment out of Iraq and got caught by selling it on Ebay. Of course, for everybody who gets caught, 10 get away with it. I once did a report of survey for a lost light amplifier (the sensitive piece of night vision goggles) and we wrote it off as a loss. It could have been the unit armorer or XO, it could have been the maintenance specialist, it could have been the maintenance NCO; there was just no way to tell. I heard through the grape vine a couple months later that CID had recovered it off of Ebay, but the original seller/thief was a mystery.

      People like to use the US's phenomenal military budget as evidence of the country's militarism, but in my admittedly limited experience, it has more to do with massive lack of accountability on an institution-wide scale. Anybody I have ever spoken to who has been in military logistics for a long period of time can tell you about the time he watched a million dollars get wasted in a day.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by pjt33 (739471)

        My battalion's head cook was selling MRE's on Ebay
        Wait. People were buying MREs?
        • by n3tcat (664243)
          I once saw a rack full of MREs in the Commisary. They were for sale at $6 each. The rack stayed full for like two weeks before being removed.

          I guess military meals just don't hold the same novelty value with those who are experienced with them. ;)
    • by rubycodez (864176) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @10:46AM (#23054098)
      Obviously stolen? the F-14 has been scrapped. they're in junkyards here and abroad. entire decommissioned aircraft like the Harrier have been sold on eBay, perfectly legal. There's a hobbyist market for the parts for all manner of aircraft too. You can buy decommissioned howitzers, tanks, jets...parks and VFWs have them. And uniforms and MRE, anyone can buy those, perfectly legal.
      • They're scrapped, but they're not in junkyards. The government is specifically destroying them all rather than risk selling them off in any form, because the only buyer besides hobbyist collectors or museums is Iran.

        http://sayanythingblog.com/entry/pentagon_spending_900000_to_destroy_f_14_tomcats/ [sayanythingblog.com]
      • Typically the DoD sells war items for scrap under a license that specifically forbids the buyer from selling on any item whole or in part as a usable piece of equipment. There was an ex Blue Angels F-18 that made it to Ebay because the DoD had disposed of it in an irregular manner (legitimately, just not the normal way they did it) and they didn't get the buyer to sign the agreement. The F-14s are heavily scrutinised precisely because Iran still has active aircraft - the DoD went so far as to have several
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by BitZtream (692029)
        While you are partially correct, you left out some important information.

        Buying an F-14 airframe has been something thats been possible for years. You will however, not find an air ready F-14. They get stripped of many things, like avionics and turbines.

        Without the avionics, the F-14 won't fly. You can hack together a lot of things to make it somewhat flight ready, hell you may be able to even get it in the air if worked hard enough. But what you put in the air, would in no way be a fighter jet other th
        • by gad_zuki! (70830)
          >, I'm sure someone else can chime in with it, but there was a band which had one of its members buy a tank to drive in England, perfectly legal

          Youre probably thinking of Richard D. James of Aphex Twin. He doesnt own a proper tank. Its a Daimler Ferret Mark 3 armored scout car, which looks like a mini tank. He also bought a working russian submarine recently for 40,000 pounds.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Typical media.... "Investigators couldn't determine where the sellers had obtained the F-14 parts.".. which would imply they don't know if the parts are stolen, but sensationalists won't have a story without a headline saying the parts are stolen. And now everyone is excited and creating conspiracy theories and Iran is going to take over the world with 3 f-14 parts they bought... whatever.
    • I'm a federal geek providing technical support to the agency that sells this stuff.

      Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service is the DoD agency that gets rid of damaged and excess military equipment. They sell all kindsa stuff to the general public. If you want to buy a whole pallet of old computers or uniforms or something they're the place to go.

      That said, they also used to sell F-14 parts that had been through or didn't require demilitarization to the general public - but DRMS no longer sells F-14 par
  • by edwardpickman (965122) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @09:20AM (#23053708)
    When the same guy kept driving off with a different Humvee each day with F-14 parts stuffed down his pants.
  • If one could steal something like this, what else is available on the black market... a nuke!?
    • Aren't the Russians missing a few suitcase size nukes? Or was that just fear mongering from the 90's?
      • Missing doesn't always mean the something as stolen, they might have been cannibalized
          for repair parts to repair others or decommissioned and the serials numbers not deleted, or sitting in a bunker somewhere and the transfer paper work lost as well as thew more likely physically stolen
  • what other US mil weaponry do you think is being sold in the black market that doesn't even show a blip on the radar? Yeah, that's the stuff that should be keeping you all awake at night. With all the stockpiles of nuclear weaponry, you know something's going (or already) has gone missing/unaccounted for.
    • by jo42 (227475)
      In other news, Investigators found that screw drivers, hammers, screws, nails, chunks of wood, bits of metal and fabric, memory chips, CPUs, hard drives and computers cases with windows, now retired by the military, could easily be purchased and transferred to the Iranian military, which is seeking these components, the report said.
  • Fear mongering? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bkraptor (851368) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @09:39AM (#23053796)
    What's this called? (hint: fear mongering?) Why was the Iranian military mentioned in the article? Are Iranians the only ones out there that can possibly hurt the US? No, anyone can buy that stuff and damage other countries. The US isn't the only country on this planet. Please, for the sake of the future, stop acting like everyone is out to get you.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by trash eighty (457611)
      As some of the parts were for F-14 fighters and Iran are the only operators of the type now why not mention them? There wouldn't really be much point Al-Qaeda or North Korea buying F-14 spares, unless they were going to throw them at GWB's head.
    • by bytta (904762)
      So true.

      If you treat everyone like they're out to get you, in the end many of them will want to...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MrNaz (730548) *

      Please, for the sake of the future, stop acting like everyone is out to get you.

      I think a more appropriate request would be "stop doing things that make everyone want to get you".

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      besides Iran probably can MAKE F14 parts if they really want them... it's not like other country's military respects patents.

      The F14 is a 30+ year old EOL aircraft. It's too bad there are so many fear-mongers out there because nobody will be able to keep a few birds flying for air shows and such. After WW2 & Korea you could buy excess 2 1/2 ton trucks, flack jackets, guns, & prop planes by the dozen. Even retired Howitzers and Shermans made their way parked in front of many VFW posts. Army Surplus
    • by jcnnghm (538570)
      You don't think that someone stealing and selling military hardware on the Internet is a problem? It was explained why Iran was mentioned in the very first line of the article, because they've been actively seeking some of the parts that were available for sale. Burying your head in the sand doesn't make your problems go away.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fermion (181285)
      If I were a major government I would have much more sophisticated methods of acquiring stolen property than ebay. Ebay has not privacy guarantees, and has no incentives to keep any particular customer or seller happy. If one goes another will take the place.

      It is fear mongering. If the Iranian government can get machinery to refine nuclear materials, then why not an plane. And what are they going to do with one plane, other than use it create other planes, in which case they need a whole plane to begi

  • by Wowsers (1151731) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @09:40AM (#23053808) Journal
    I'm sure that they could get the stolen parts back, don't Paypal have an excellent record for helping all sides in disputes?
  • Nothing new here (Score:4, Informative)

    by Hojima (1228978) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @09:40AM (#23053814)
    People have been selling military equipment from the US for years. Ever seen "Lord of War"? Not all of it was fiction you know. Probably the only surprise is that it was sold on ebay. And chances are that the military equipment wasn't stolen either. Many parts from scrapped vehicles are given or sold to boneyards to be sold again. Hell, the old motors from Vietnam's apache helicopters are actually in use on speedboats up to this day.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Uhmmm we had apache helicopter's in Vietnam? wow.. :) And if I recall right, most of Lord of War was actually based off of a true story.
  • More fearmongering? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ParaShoot (992496) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @09:42AM (#23053820)
    The Register [theregister.co.uk] has their usual perspective-giving article up, for those of you who might be inclined to start screaming OMG TERRORISTS as the US Government no doubt wants you to.
  • They got the F-14 from there Pepsi points but they where sent out part by part.
  • Fines involved (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 13, 2008 @09:55AM (#23053880)
    Copy a single song recorded in 1950 and not heard on the radio for decades so that you can practice it on your guitar? WIth these new laws being proposed, you could owe the publisher millions in fines and fees.

    Sell stolen US F-14 parts for profit to anyone, so that you can buy some crack? Misdemeanor.
  • ... with US security of military supplies.

    Certainly this is more serious than any supposed terrorist country or terrorist group buying such property.

    Play with matches and you will burn yourself.
  • by AIFEX (1036394) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @10:07AM (#23053932)
    "The property was likely stolen from the Defense Department, the report said."

    Ok, probably the F-14 parts, but being ex-forces I myself have about 3 NBC suits and a box full of respirator canisters, amongst god knows what else, from clothes to tins, helmets, gortex. It's all just surplus you pick up during your time in. Half of it you can buy and any army surplus store/warehouse anyway.
    • I think what they are trying to say is that if you have it and didn't give it back when you out processed "technically" it's stolen. It might not be a nefarious thing such as "Hey lets steal this so we can sell it online, but it is something that they were supposed to give back. Selling it just makes it look worse.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Every soldier is issued an NBC suit (including mask and filters) and they are one of the first things to get lost on field deployments - not a major theft of some military secret equipment.
    • wish I had a dollar for every M17 mask turned in for a lost M17A2
      • by Dun Malg (230075)

        wish I had a dollar for every M17 mask turned in for a lost M17A2

        Hah! Been there! Another good one is helmets. When my unit deployed to Afghanistan, some of us had old PASGT helmets issued due to inventory shortages on the ACH. Amusingly, despite enough ACHs being issued in theater to replace nearly all the PASGTs, when it came time to turn equipment back in, a surprising number turned in PASGT helmets. One particularly humorous one was even a rare early "Mk I" PASGT, 1.5x as thick and heavy as the "full production" version that saw widespread issue. It was probably wor

  • by ZeroExistenZ (721849) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @10:41AM (#23054078)
    .. My grandfather always has these kindof stories from when h e lead different sections in the Belgian army. Mostly it was because of the paperwork. I recall him telling about an inspector asking for a specific vehicle. My grandfather would look it up in the logbooks and reported it being at a certain base. After his reporting, he got a reply asking wherever he was "really sure". So he sent out a soldier to verify it, he came back, reported the vehicles present in that base. But the guy never checked the chassis numbers and such. He just confirmed there were vehicles of that type present.

    Turned out, the bordercontrol had arrested some guys who'd stolen some vehicles. Officially they weren't gone as they weren't reported missing.

    Same with selling overstock; Every month a train came by bringing soldiers' cigarettes. They were picked up from the town and brought to base. At a certain point the soldier ordered to pick them up reported the shipment being picked up by "unknown" individuals. (so some Germans have been imposing as an army unit to pick up the shipment cigarettes). Since then my grandfather was put in charge for a new order, with the order to order 20% extra "just in case".
    Instead of piling up the 20%, they devised a plan to sell it consistently through an external contractor and the profits where split. Until bordercontrol noticed an unusual high amount of soldiers going home for the weekend and they've searched some vehicles.

    This is all post-WW erra with a bloathed army with paper reporting, but still. I can imagine there are still people trying to make a profit like this or the same logistic problems.

    Oh yea, my grandfather went on trail for that and got away clean because they had to sign a statement they couldn't sell "their own" rations. He stated he didn't, he had sold overstock. After that he was put in charge of all logistics instead of his own regiment and the statement was adjusted.

  • Feedback (Score:5, Funny)

    by base3 (539820) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @11:11AM (#23054258)
    Great F-14, kills infidels wonderfully. Allahu Ackbar! A++++++
  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @11:19AM (#23054308)
    Given the headline that says the items were stolen, how come later it says they were "likely" stolen and also that "the investigators couldn't determinewhere the sellers had obtained ..."

    It mentions a couple of "components" from F14's - what? Nut and bolts or complete avionics - there's a huge difference. I would expect that if it had been anything significant, they wouldn't named them - so my money is on a few small pieces of easily machined metal.

    The article then makes the subtle leap from talking about buying these F14 spares to say "The warplanes, now retired by the military, could easily be purchased and transferred to the Iranian military, which is seeking its".

    Pardon me, but nowhere are they claiming to have actually *bought* the planes. They just seem to be sowing FUD in the readers mind.

    It's a pity these guys couldn't find any journalistic integrity for sale on eBay - or maybe that's where theirs went.

    • Iran is the logical endpoint for black market F-14 parts actually, since Iran owns actual F-14s, and needs parts for maintenance.
  • by Reconmax (1272280) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @11:32AM (#23054404)
    I was in the army 15 years ago and the pawn shops around post were full of military equipment. Not just the stuff that soldiers are expected to buy for their job either. I remember soldiers who lost their NBC (nuclear/biological/chemical) mask would go buy one at a pawn shop so they would have something to turn in when they PCS (Permanent Change of Station). However, I do not remember seeing any F-14 parts...
  • by missileman (1101691) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @12:00PM (#23054556)
    Heaps of guys in the hobby have built home sims using parts from real jets. F15s, F16s, A7Es etc. There *are* legitimate ways of getting hold of cockpit parts that aren't stolen. Since the F14 is no longer in service it would not be a stretch at all to find bits of a broken up one for sale. One guy got a whole F15 cockpit for his project. http://www.f15sim.com/index.html [f15sim.com]

    He got it from the Olympia Air Museum. Prior to that it was PURCHASED from McChord AFB in Tacoma after being struck off the register. It was used for training battle damage repair.

    Aircraft parts from wrecked, scraped airframes often legitimately come up for sale on Ebay, IMO this report / article is just a way to promote an agenda. Congress are probably planning some new bill defining everyone who possesses ex-military equipment a terrorist. I guess I'm a cynic.
  • Its been long known that some soldiers, etc. have been keeping guns and ammo for themselves including rifles and machine guns. In Canada a few years ago some soldiers robbed a bank and were armed to the teeth: C7s, handguns, flashbangs.

    I wouldn't be surprised that high explosives and such are also stolen. I've gone to military bases before and you seriously don't want to mess with the military police. I don't even want to think what would happen - or who would go after you - if you stole F-14 parts or chem-
    • by zakezuke (229119)

      Its been long known that some soldiers, etc. have been keeping guns and ammo for themselves including rifles and machine guns.

      Some? I shouldn't say all, and I'm not military my self, but from my understanding soldiers who want to bring ammo home is the sort of thing that might be encouraged as it gives them a chance to enjoy target practice during their off hours. I would think that this is the sort of thing that should be encouraged to a degree.

      High explosives? Grenades? That's there I would draw the line.

      • by Dun Malg (230075)

        I'm not military my self, but from my understanding soldiers who want to bring ammo home is the sort of thing that might be encouraged as it gives them a chance to enjoy target practice during their off hours. I would think that this is the sort of thing that should be encouraged to a degree.

        Yeah, you've obviously never been in the US military. When you leave the firing range or come out of a combat zone, they just about make you turn out your pockets to make sure you don't have any stray ammo that you might shoot someone with. Back when I was with the 7th Light Infantry, they not only wouldn't let us have bayonets in garrison (might stab each other), but they took away our E-tools (shovels) because a couple infantry guys got in a shovel fight!

        • by zakezuke (229119)

          Yeah, you've obviously never been in the US military. When you leave the firing range or come out of a combat zone, they just about make you turn out your pockets to make sure you don't have any stray ammo that you might shoot someone with.

          /me looks at his tins of .30 caliper ammo and scratches his head.

          Seriously I would like to know when the US changed their attitude on ammo. I'm not military but I know that I have ammo that was fetched from the shotting range some decades back, and have spent time with military types who seem to have endless supplies of ammo that they pretty much nicked from uncle sam.

          While I never presumed it was official policy to give solders free ammo... there seemed to be much of it floating about, something I didn't

    • by Dun Malg (230075)

      Its been long known that some soldiers, etc. have been keeping guns and ammo for themselves including rifles and machine guns.
      Known by whom? They keep a pretty tight accounting of firearms in the military, at least in garrison. Now, in theater you can take your pick amongst the AKs, RPKs, ever old M-16A1's at the local hadji market, but bring it back here to the US? No way.
  • "Likely stolen" (Score:4, Interesting)

    by menace3society (768451) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @02:06PM (#23055288)
    The DoD spokesjerk says the kit was "likely stolen". These guys have been misplacing shit for years, and they have the audacity to assume some junk sold on the internet is stolen?

    I saw an documentary on the war in Iraq. One segment focused on a particular base where various units would be stationed temporarily before being moved on to somewhere else. Any material or equipment that they didn't want to take with them at the end of their stay just got dumped because they didn't want to do the paperwork to return it to the quartermaster. It all just ended up being a big pile of junk in the middle of the desert, and there are apparently dozens of these across Iraq. You expect me to believe that no one just picks that stuff up takes it home?

    If the Defense Department wants to stop this stuff being sold online, they should stop misplacing it in the first place. They have no one but themselves to blame.
  • by superwiz (655733) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @02:34PM (#23055430) Journal
    What's next? A virus "could" come about that wipes out humanity? A company "could" decide that it will destroy humanity for profit? This could happen and that could happen is not news. It's not even speculation. It's just fud.
  • Alarmist crap (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FeatherBoa (469218) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @02:48PM (#23055482)
    The story is just alarmist garbage making sound like people are scoring RPGs or artillery pieces in back alleys. The stuff is the same surplus gas-masks, boots and canteens you've been able to buy since Moses was a boy. The "F-14 parts" are dashboard lightbulbs and tire-valve caps. Oooh a MILSPEC 3876783-4786478-3478647 instrument cable! wow!
  • military surplus (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CompMD (522020) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @02:49PM (#23055484)
    Working in the aerospace field has exposed me to tons of interesting surplus. I have an F-14 canopy, various B-57 parts, and a ton of clothing and tools. A friend of mine owns a P-51 fighter that he keeps hangared at our local airport. It replaces another fighter from his collection, one of the last surviving F4F Wildcats that he sold to a museum. There are tons of Aero Vodochody fighter trainers flying around the US. And if you've ever flown in a Cessna Citation, that's technically a dual use aircraft; some eastern European countries have retrofitted Citations with missile pylons. Heck, the Learjet 25 was *designed* to be a fighter.

    If you count foreign military surplus, all of my firearms are military surplus, including Mosin-Nagant rifles, a Nagant revolver, a Romanian AK-47, and Sig Sauer and Tokarev pistols.

    There's a good story about a rich guy who bought a MiG-23 from Poland (I think) and had it imported. It would have been totally legal except for one problem: when the aircraft was pulled off the flightline, it wasn't disarmed. In the shipping crate, were armed air-to-air missiles, the Russian equivalent of a Sidewinders, and in the nose section the gun was still loaded and armed. US Customs took exception to this and confiscated the aircraft. Shortly thereafter it was given to the Air Force and is now on display at Wright Patterson AFB.

    So, bottom line, is there are legal ways to own all kinds of military equipment.
    • by kaszeta (322161)
      Working in the aerospace field has exposed me to tons of interesting surplus. I have an F-14 canopy, various B-57 parts, and a ton of clothing and tools.

      Same here. Amongst my collection of items gotten through legitimate surplus channels (DMRO, Govt Auctions, or auctions from government suppliers), I've got a rather healthy collection of geiger counters (Texas Department of Health surplus), kevlar vests, first aid kits in nice pelican cases, helmets, gas masks, tools (including a nice titanium crowbar),

  • No problem (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rui del-Negro (531098) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @03:33PM (#23055676) Homepage
    When you add the eBay and PayPal fees, it's actually cheaper to develop this stuff from scratch.
  • I strongly suspect that
    a) American front line aircraft have substantially better avionics than the F-14s sold to the Shah in the 1970's.
    b) if the Iranians did have a spare parts problem for their aircraft, the advance of computers, avionics, CNC lathes etc would make it substantially easier to fabricate spare parts. The only problem, and I do accept it is a big one, would be getting any alloy composition right, but again I'm willing to bet chemical analysis is up to the job nowadays.

    Iran in any case got a w

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