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US military-grade equipment ends up for sale on Craigslist, eBay

RT -

In the course of the investigation by the FBI and the Navy’s Criminal Investigation Service, the Pentagon admitted it had lost track of some equipment from a $750 million program meant to be used by US forces to locate improvised explosive devices, according to a document released by The Intercept.

READ MORE: LA Times sues Pentagon over bonus payouts for contractors of flawed $40bn defense system

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,” says an intelligence brief by the US Naval Criminal Investigative Service and its Multiple Threat Alert Center.

The Navy’s Criminal Intelligence Brief said 13 websites had been found listing military equipment for sale, among them Craigslist, eBay, texasguntalk.com and sportfishermen.com

Items have been marketed as sporting goods; hunting equipment; bird-watching equipment and camping supplies,” the report notes.

$750 Million of U.S. Military Equipment Lost, Some Now Being Sold on eBay and Craigslist: http://t.co/VdkZ9cqqLG pic.twitter.com/hI13BMnXRH

— Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) March 26, 2015

The report says there were more than 32,000 pieces of equipment originally ordered with the $750 million military contract, and some had gone missing because the military had poor control over equipment. The report says the devices “are NOT for civilian use and are controlled under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.”

One of the items currently available for sale on eBay, a 'Clip-On Night Vision Device Thermal System,' is going for an auction price of over $16,000, with 53 watchers keeping an eye on it.

READ MORE: ‘Compromised & gone’: Pentagon lost $500mn of weapons, equipment in Yemen

In a related story, US military officials admitted to Congress earlier this month they had lost track of millions in small arms, ammunition, night vision goggles, patrol boats, vehicles and other supplies donated by the US to the Yemeni government. The US had supplied more than $500 million in military aid to Yemen since 2007 through programs managed by the Defense Department and State Department. But in January, the Yemeni government was toppled by Shiite Houthi rebels – backed by Iran and critical of US drone strikes in the country – who also took over government military bases in the north.

'Killer in the cockpit'

BBC World News -

Friday's papers are full of speculation about what may have led the co-pilot of the Germanwings Airbus 320 to deliberately crash the jet, and on how airlines can protect themselves from such occurrences.

Win Or Lose, Discrimination Suit Is Having an Effect On Silicon Valley

Slashdot -

SpzToid sends word that the Ellen Pao vs. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers discrimination case wrapped up yesterday. No matter what the outcome turns out to be, it has already effected how business is being done in Silicon Valley. "'Even before there's a verdict in this case, and regardless of what the verdict is, people in Silicon Valley are now talking,' said Kelly Dermody, managing partner at Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, who chairs the San Francisco law firm's employment practice group. 'People are second-guessing and questioning whether there are exclusionary practices [and] everyday subtle acts of exclusion that collectively limit women's ability to succeed or even to compete for the best opportunities. And that's an incredibly positive impact.' Women in tech have long complained about an uneven playing field — lower pay for equal work, being passed over for promotions and a hostile 'brogrammer' culture — and have waited for a catalyst to finally overhaul the status quo. This trial — pitting a disgruntled, multimillionaire former junior partner against a powerful Menlo Park, Calif., venture capital firm — was far from the open-and-shut case that many women had hoped for. More gender discrimination suits against big tech firms are expected to follow; some already have, including lawsuits against Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Hookers & blow: Colombian drug cartels funded DEA sex parties with prostitutes

RT -

When looking into cases of sexual misconduct and sexual harassment allegations within the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Department of Justice's (DoJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found that up to 10 DEA agents – including an assistant regional director (ARD) – “solicited prostitutes and engaged in other serious misconduct while in the country,” but that those incidents were not reported to the DEA’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).

The report did not name the country, but Politico reported that the activities took place in Colombia.

Colombian sex parties

The OIG investigators interviewed a former host-country police officer who told them he had “arranged ‘sex parties’ with prostitutes funded by the local drug cartels for these DEA agents at their government-leased quarters, over a period of several years” from 2005 to 2008. Another foreign officer said that he had provided protection for the DEA agents’ weapons and property during the parties and that “in addition to soliciting prostitutes, three DEA [supervisory agents] in particular were provided money, expensive gifts, and weapons from drug cartel members.”

READ MORE: Obama’s dirty dozen: Secret Service men behaving badly in Colombia

“Although some of the DEA agents participating in these parties denied it, the information in the case file suggested they should have known the prostitutes in attendance were paid with cartel funds,” the OIG report states.

Two of the DEA agents who were subjects of the investigation told the OIG that one of the supervisory agents “frequented a prostitution establishment while in their overseas assignment and often took agents serving on temporary duty to this establishment and facilitated sexual encounters there.”

A DEA inspector who worked with the investigators told them that “prostitution is considered a part of the local culture and is tolerated in certain areas called ‘tolerance zones,’” and that “it is common for prostitutes to be present at business meetings involving cartel members and foreign officers,” the report states.

READ MORE: ‘More than 10' – Pentagon says prostitute scandal could be bigger than first thought

The inspector added that the acceptability of this type of behavior affects the way in which federal law enforcement employees conduct themselves in Columbia, noting that agents needed better training that explicitly prohibits this type of conduct prior to arriving in the country.

The OPR did not report the sex parties or employment of prostitutes to the DEA Office of Security Programs to identify security risks to the DEA and to assess the agents’ continued eligibility for security clearances. This was despite the fact that the DEA inspector had explained to OPR management that most of the “sex parties” occurred in government-leased quarters where agents’ laptops, BlackBerry devices, and other government-issued equipment were present, which created potential security risks for the DEA and for the agents who participated in the parties, potentially exposing them to extortion, blackmail, or coercion, she told OIG.

READ MORE: Secret Service prostitution scandal investigator resigned after being accused of paying for sex

On top of security risks to the US, the agents’ activities also risked prosecutions against the drug cartels in Colombia.

“We found that some of the DEA Special Agents alleged to have solicited prostitutes were also involved in the investigations of the two former host country police officers who made these allegations,” the OIG investigators wrote. “If these Special Agents had served as government witnesses at the trials of these defendants, their alleged misconduct would have had to be disclosed to defense attorneys and would likely have significantly impaired their ability to testify at trial.”

In the end, seven of the 10 agents admitted attending parties with prostitutes while they were stationed. The DEA, which first learned of the parties in 2010, imposed penalties ranging from a two-day suspension to a 10-day suspension. One agent was cleared of all wrongdoing.

But the linking of DEA agents to prostitutes in foreign countries didn’t end there.

Partying with prostitutes in Thailand

“The Acting Assistant Regional Director who supervised the two special agents in [Colombia] was also alleged to have solicited prostitutes” in Thailand, the report states. “In that case, the AARD allegedly engaged in sexual relations with prostitutes at a farewell party in the AARD’s honor. There were also allegations operational funds were used to pay for the party and the prostitutes who participated.”

In Thailand, DEA agents patronized prostitutes “on a regular basis,” held several loud parties with prostitutes that occurred at an agent’s government-leased quarters, and frequented a brothel. One of the agents was accused of assaulting a prostitute following a payment dispute. The DEA management in the country did not report the accusations up their chain of command or to OPR, “treating these allegations as local management issues,” the report found.

READ MORE: DEA covertly paid hundreds of thousands for open information on train passengers

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) told Politico that there would be major action coming from the House Committee on Government Oversight & Reform, which he chairs, when the House returns from a two-week recess in April.

“You can’t ignore this. This is terribly embarrassing and fundamentally not right,” Chaffetz said. “We need to understand what’s happening with the culture...anytime you bring a foreign national into your room, you’re asking for trouble.”

The House Judiciary Committee may also look into the discoveries outlined in the OIG report.

"Once again, some federal law enforcement agents are acting like they belong in a college frat house rather than at a taxpayer-funded law enforcement agency tasked with interdicting illegal drugs," House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said in a statement. "It's extremely troubling that federal drug agents lacked the common sense to know that engaging with prostitutes hired by drug cartels was a bad idea."

"We must ensure that everyone involved is appropriately held accountable for their actions," he added.

READ MORE: Party over: US Secret Service agents sent home over drunken Netherlands incident

The Justice Department said in its formal response that the agency “will develop policy guidance that communicates the Department's expectations regarding the solicitation of prostitutes in foreign jurisdictions even when the conduct is legal or tolerated, and ensure that [it includes] language prohibiting this conduct.”

The accusations against the DEA were part of a broader investigation into how the Justice Department's law enforcement agencies handle sexual harassment and misconduct allegations. The probe also found issues with the FBI, US Marshals Service, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

GAO Denied Access To Webb Telescope Workers By Northrop Grumman

Slashdot -

schwit1 writes In a report as well as at House hearings today the GAO reported that Northrop Grumman has denied them one-on-one access to workers building the James Webb Space Telescope. "The interviews, part of a running series of GAO audits of the NASA flagship observatory, which is billions of dollars overbudget and years behind schedule, were intended to identify potential future trouble spots, according to a GAO official. But Northrop Grumman Aerospace, which along with NASA says the $9 billion project is back on track, cited concerns that the employees, 30 in all, would be intimidated by the process." To give Northrop Grumman the benefit of the doubt, these interviews were a somewhat unusual request. Then again, if all was well why would they resist? Note too that the quote above says the cost of the telescope project is now $9 billion. If the project was "back on track" as the agency and Northrop Grumman claim, then why has the budget suddenly increased by another billion?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


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