Defense Department sold $1.2 million in excess equipment to ‘fake law enforcement’
By Brian Seay
A simulated rifle (top), night vision goggles (left), and a simulated pipe bomb were among items transferred to Government Accountability Office investigators. (Photo: Government Accountability Office)
The Department of Defense gave about $1.2 million worth of military equipment to a phony law enforcement agency, according to a new report.
But there’s a twist. The phony agency was actually run by Government Accountability Office investigators who were testing how well the Defense Logistics Agency – an agency within the Defense Department – is prepared against fraud.
Since 1991, the DOD has transferred more than $6 billion worth of excess equipment to more than 8,600 federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies through the Law Enforcement Support Office program. Around 4 to 7 percent of that equipment is “controlled property, which typically involves sensitive equipment and items that cannot be released to the public,” according to the GAO.
The National Defense Authorization Act of 2016 called for a GAO investigation assessing the excess property program.
GAO investigators were able to obtain more than 100 controlled items – those not available for public release – worth more than $1 million. Items included night-vision goggles, scopes, simulated rifles, and simulated pipe bombs, “which could be potentially lethal items if