“They never did any verification, like visit our ‘location,’ and most of it was by email,” said Zina Merritt, the Director of the Government Accountability Office’s Defense Capabilities and Management Team. “It was like getting stuff off of eBay.”
The GAO had access to the full selection of equipment provided by the 1033 program but chose only to bid on nonlethal items. As such, the government watchdog obtained scopes, training rifles, night vision googles and simulated pipe bombs.
According to Wayne McElrath, the Director of GAO’s Forensic Audit and Investigative Services Team, GAO received approximately 100 items worth approximately $1.2 million just one week after applying for the program despite the fake police department’s address tracking back to an empty lot.