Procurement: Good News And Bad News

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February 1, 2016: In January 2016 it was revealed that the U.S. had recently indicted a Pakistani businessman (Syed Vaqar Ashraf) who was accused of conspiring since 2012 to obtain restricted (requiring an export permit) UAV technology and components for the Pakistani military. Ashraf pretended he was seeking the tech and components for a Belgian company. But the Belgian firm was controlled by Ashraf and used to move the restricted items to a Pakistani company that was secretly controlled by the Pakistani military research organization. Ashraf was, at American request, arrested in Belgium in early 2015 and resisted extradition. But by late 2015 Ashraf was in the United States facing charges based on an investigation that went on for over a year and found numerous cases of fraud, misrepresentation and blatant efforts to evade export controls.

Ashraf, like many such technology thieves and smugglers do it for the money and for their government. Going to jail is one of the risks. But Iran recently demonstrated that the Americans are now vulnerable to an ancient technique for getting imprisoned agents released. Simply grab people the nation running the prison values and offer to make a trade. For a long time the Americans refused to do this but that resolve is apparently weakening and smugglers can rejoice.

 


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