Intelligence: Spies Love Salesmen


August 24, 2008:  U.S. arms manufacturer Lockheed-Martin agreed to pay a $4 million fine for revealing classified information about the Hellfire missile, while attempting to sell 460 of the missiles to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Sales personnel revealed the secret data to UAE officers. The sale was never made, and Lockheed-Martin insists that the leak was unintentional. Such illegal disclosures are a common occupational hazard for arms sales personnel. Prospective buyers are often knowledgeable military officers or experts, and demand to know exactly what they are getting. In some cases, high-tech weapons cannot be sold to foreigners, or only to "trusted" nations that have a track record of keeping American secrets.

The Hellfire/UAE case was particularly bothersome because the Hellfire is widely used against Islamic terrorists, and Moslem nations contain many fans of Islamic terrorist groups.


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