Audit finds inadequate monitoring of U.S. arms sales

WASHINGTON — A U.S. government audit on Friday found inadequate monitoring of American weapons sales to Persian Gulf countries with questionable human rights records or recent clashes with protesters.

The Government Accountability Office said gaps in the State and Defense departments’ monitoring of equipment after it’s sold leaves technology such as night-vision devices “prone to diversion.” It also looked at equipment such as medium range air-to-air missiles and javelin missiles.

U.S. arms deals are likely to increase with Gulf countries concerned about Iranian intentions and how the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq will affect the stability of the region.

The issue is also sensitive because of a proposed $53 million arms deal with Bahrain.

The State Department says the deal is solely for Bahrain’s external defense and that the U.S. will monitor the use of all transferred equipment. But the department has held off on a final decision ahead of a Bahraini probe into the government’s crackdown on protesters earlier this year. The findings of that investigation are expected to be released next week.

Still, the GAO’s 67-page report expressed concerns with how the U.S. government ensures the proper use of military equipment sold to countries such as Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

It noted that the State Department has conducted human rights vetting for hundreds of individuals and units receiving U.S.-funded training in the Gulf. But it hasn’t undertaken similar vetting for recipients of about $188 million of U.S.-funded equipment in Bahrain and Oman. It also cited shortcomings in post-shipment inspections.

“Such vetting is especially critical given Bahrain’s use of its security forces to quell public demonstrations,” the report said.

The State Department did not immediately comment on the report.

The department said last month that the review and monitoring of defense trade is integral to ensuring that weapons are delivered in compliance with U.S. law and foreign policy goals. All possible violations are investigated, the department said, and infractions can warrant increased monitoring, suspension of future deliveries or even a ban on new weapons sales or maintenance agreements with countries.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Lake Stevens resident Rick Trout shows a Feb. 2020 photo of the rising lake level in front of his home after a storm. (Isabella Breda / The Herald)
Some Lake Stevens homeowners now must buy flood insurance

Updated FEMA maps show some lakeside homes now sit in a designated flood hazard area, due to a warming climate.

Voyager Middle School.
Shooting threat at Mukilteo schools was a joke, student says

Four threats of violence in 48 hours were reported at Snohomish County schools in the wake of a shooting at a Michigan high school.

Girl, 1, dies from gunshot wound near Granite Falls

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office deputies were investigating the weapons assault report Saturday night.

Prosecuting attorney, Taryn Jones gives the state's opening statement to start the trial of Ryan Leenders for first-degree murder Friday morning at the Snohomish County Superior Courthouse on December 3, 2021. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Trial opens for Everett man charged with killing party guest

A defense attorney claimed Ryan Leenders mistook a vape pen for a gun when he shot William Harper, who was not armed.

‘Prolonged neglect’: Darrington woman charged with starving horses

After a months-long investigation, the woman is accused of neglecting her animals.

State officials confirm first 3 cases of omicron variant

The cases were found in Thurston, Pierce and King counties, according to the state Department of Health.

Preston "Buddy" Dwoskin served as the head referee at the inaugural Buddy Bowl football game two years ago at Everett Memorial Stadium. (Contributed photo) 20211203
Anti-bullying ‘Buddy Bowl’ game set for Saturday in Marysville

Preston Dwoskin, a public speaker with special needs, organized the football festivities. He would like you to be there.

Police: Student, 13, falsely accused classmate of making threat

The student alleged the classmate called to say there would be a shooting at Hidden River Middle School.

Man dies in 140-foot fall from Arlington cellphone tower

The man, in his 30s, fell about just after 1:30 p.m. Saturday while working.

Most Read