How Fake Cops Got $1.2 Million in Real Weapons
A federal sting reveals lax oversight in the Defense Department’s gear giveaway program.
By ELI HAGER
When you think of a federal sting operation involving weaponry and military gear, the Government Accountability Office doesn’t immediately jump to mind. The office is tasked with auditing other federal agencies to root out fraud and abuse, usually by asking questions and poring over paperwork.
This year, the agency went a little more cowboy. The GAO created a fictitious law enforcement agency — complete with a fake website and a bogus address that traced back to an empty lot — and applied for military-grade equipment from the Department of Defense.
And in less than a week, they got it.
From left, examples of night-vision goggles, a simulated M-16A2 rifle and a pipe bomb trainer obtained from the Department of Defense by the Government Accountability Office through a fictitious law enforcement agency.