Jets shredded, kept away from 'bad guys'

Among other tactics, middlemen for the countries misrepresented themselves to gain access to the Defense Department’s surplus sales or bought sensitive surplus from U.S. companies that had acquired it from Pentagon auctions and weren’t supposed to allow its export. —Sharon TheimerJets shredded, kept away from ‘bad guys’ (Yahoo! | AP (will expire))

My kids were watching an episode of Batman from the 60s. In it, Batman calls up a naval officer and asks whether Uncle Sam has recently sold any top-secret submarines. An officer looks in an index card file and says yes, in fact they recently sold a submarine to a Mr. “P. N. Gwynn,” who left a post office box for an address. Upon hearing Batman’s curt response, the officer looks like a chastened puppydog and says something like, “Was that bad?”

The story notes that the government changed the way it handles sensitive surplus equipment after the AP reported how unfriendly forces were getting their hands on sensitive surplus equipment. Noting the chronology is not the same thing as explicitly claiming a cause/effect relationship, but the implication is clear.

Here’s a great quote that helps create a mental picture:

The shearing machine, which uses pincers to rip apart the planes, weighs 100,000 pounds. The shredder is 120,000 pounds. An F-14 weighs about 40,000 pounds.