Sellers Drop Military Gear On eBay, Craigslist

    April 11, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

Items stolen from the military ended up being fenced through sales online, as GAO investigators handed a House Subcommittee a laundry list of sensitive items they purchased.

This may come as a shock to some buyers out there, but just because you found it on eBay, doesn’t mean you should have been able to pick up something banned for resale by the federal government.

A study by the GAO, titled “INTERNET SALES – Undercover Purchases on eBay and Craigslist Reveal a Market for Sensitive and Stolen U.S. Military Items,” listed goodies that people who hate America probably have on their shopping lists. The GAO conducted their undercover investigation over a 15-month period ending in March 2008, at the behest of the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs.

GAO found plenty of items up for sale that should not have been available to the highest bidder. F-14 components, of value currently to the Iranian military, showed up in a couple of transactions. Military-spec night-vision gear turned up on eBay. Stolen body armor showed up on Craigslist.

Both Jim Buckmaster, Craigslist’s CEO, and Tod Cohen, eBay’s VP of government relations, appeared before the Subcommittee to discuss the matter with curious Representatives.

Buckmaster talked about the Craigslist business model, and assured the Subcommittee in his testimony that “Craigslist did not collect so much as a penny” on the sales GAO made through listings on the site. He also complained that the GAO report implied only one person at Craigslist works on enforcing terms of service in combating fraud, saying this is a “top priority for a majority of our employees.”

Cohen said in testimony eBay has policies, people, and technology in place to help keep prohibited items off of the site as well as removing them when they appear. He said eBay looks forward to coming up with more ways to keep prohibited military items off the site.