Missing Restricted Military Gear Keeps Popping Up for Sale on eBay

Illustration for article titled Missing Restricted Military Gear Keeps Popping Up for Sale on eBay

A few years ago, the Pentagon started misplacing some very expensive and highly sensitive equipment. As if that weren't embarrassing enough, the equipment has since started appearing on sites like eBay and Craigslist.


It's an astounding story. A Navy intelligence document obtained by The Intercept spells out the situation in clear terms, noting that the devices "are NOT for civilian use and are controlled under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations." Well, apparently some eBay users don't care very much about arms trafficking rules. The Intercept found the above listing for a "Insight CNVD-T Clip-On Night Vision Device Thermal System." It can be yours for just $16,599—with free shipping! That's an enticing 27-percent off the list price. But you'll notice that it's the exact same model listed as missing in the Navy intelligence document:

Illustration for article titled Missing Restricted Military Gear Keeps Popping Up for Sale on eBay

That highly sensitive piece of military equipment is still for sale, by the way. The Intercept also found an expired listing for a "UTMx Universal Thermal Monocular" by a seller from Rincon, George. The auction started at $6,000 and got zero bids. Here's the same device in the Navy intelligence document:

Illustration for article titled Missing Restricted Military Gear Keeps Popping Up for Sale on eBay

It turns out the missing equipment comes from a problematic Pentagon program called RCOS/Keyhole. The agency that funds this program is the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), and it's apparently even more problematic. The Intercept explains:

The RCOS/Keyhole program attracted attention in 2011 when Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer sued BAE Systems, accusing the company of retaliating against him for criticizing the company's possible sale of night vision equipment to Pakistan. Meyer was concerned that advanced U.S. technology sold to Pakistan could end up being used against U.S. forces.


So a problematic Pentagon program that possibly sold equipment to the enemy also lost equipment that's being sold on eBay to whomever has a few thousand bucks. In a remarkable turning of the tables, taxpayers could buy back military equipment that they paid for to begin with. Put another way, the enemy could buy equipment (via PayPal) that was meant to protect American soldiers. Well, eBay always was the spot to buy rare things from total strangers.

[The Intercept]

Contact the author at adam@gizmodo.com.
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This shit doesn't surprise me. AT ALL.

Basic Training on weapons qualification day (including night fire with tracers and trying out nightvision equipment), the battery XO takes one of the nightvision units to try it out for himself. He's the, as it were, second in command of the entire battery, so no one questions it. At some point he goes out to his truck, this shitty little Chevy "cost a fuckton because I think it looked cool" (this is relevent) pickup truck to get something and leaves it in there, completely unsecured, sitting on his passenger side seat with his doors unlocked in the parking lot that was over 300 feet away from where the range was, of which was hidden behind a shield mound (a line of raised dirt to keep misfire chances of going out into the road to a minimum)... so no one is looking that way much. While the road to the range wasn't busy at all, there were a few vehicles that did drive by.

Essentially, the XO left a hugely expensive, sensitive, and protected piece of equipment sit out in his car, in direct summer sunlight, in an unsecured vehicle that someone could have entered at any time and the chances of being seen doing so were slim.

I should add that the XO was a paranoid piece of shit who was convinced that a bunch of trainees were going to fuck up his precious truck, despite the fact that few at the time knew which vehicle was even his and that no one even cared... During the routine police calls for trash to keep us busy, he explicitly bans any trainees from going within 50 feet of the privately owned vehicles, of which included his truck.

Qual day/night ends and the nightvision stuff has to be turned in to be sent back and locked up, as is appropriate... guess what ends up missing in the final count? And guess who gets blamed for it because the dumbass XO forgot he left the nightvision device in his vehicle? The trainees, of course! Everyone is ordered to search up and down the range in the dark looking for the thing, including the parking lot, but we're still banned from going near the vehicles under threat that he'd slap anyone near his precious truck with an article 15 for attempted theft or some bullshit because apparently he was so super smart that he liked to leave things like his wallet, tobacco chew, and ipod/laptop/what the fuck ever.

The training was supposed to end at 10PM, everyone was supposed to be at the barracks and in bed by 11:30PM... Everyone, including the very pissed off people who had signed out the nightvision stuff, were out searching until 1:30AM... and only because dumbass XO decided he was tired and was going to go home to sleep because fuck everyone else. Only then is the nightvision device found, and he comes back with it all like "Aw shucks everyone I dun forgot about this!" and hands it over before taking off. The whole of the battery got back to the barracks at something like 2:30AM, and PT was still starting at 4:30AM. AND people still had to do Fireguard duty.

Icing on the cake was that I heard that because dumbass XO left the nightvision device out on a car seat in the blazing sun for several hours until the sun set, the device no longer worked right and they weren't sure if it could be properly fixed. The XO stayed with the battery up until sometime near when we were supposed to graduate when he went off for some form of training, so I don't know if he got footed with the bill to pay to replace it or if he even got so much as an asschewing. The guy was the pretty stereotypical prick Lieutenant that didn't do shit except parse out duties for other people to do his work for him.

Buuuut, the moral of that long ass story is that with how utterly careless many so-called trusted and "higher ranking" people in the military are, it doesn't surprise me that some of this stuff is ending up on ebay. Had some opportunistic civilian like a food truck person or maintenance contractor seen the device they could have easily taken it if they wanted to, and selling those things for a good chunk of scratch is easy if you're ballsy enough to post on ebay or know people who want it. Militias in particular love that stuff because it'll help them prepare to overthrow Obama or fight in the inevitable 'MURICA crusades/race war/raid on Walmart not having the lowest of low prices.