Editor’s note: The following commentary describes an amazing video documentary now available exclusively through the WorldNetDaily online store. “Gun-runner’s Suite” is the story of a two-year, investigative-reporting sting operation uncovering an active effort by a terrorist nation to buy U.S. munitions and communications equipment – a sting for which the federal government showed precious little interest.
A major terrorist nation’s agents are caught with secret TV cameras trying to buy illegal military equipment from Americans.
Maybe it seemed too unbelievable to be true when it was first broadcast a few years ago.
After Sept. 11, however, the ease with which terrorist gun-runners operate inside the United States will be of much greater interest.
American Investigator Television Newsmagazine reporters went underground in a sting operation posing as arms merchants and secretly taped meetings in New York, Canada and Germany to track down which terrorist nations were searching for U.S. weapons and classified equipment.
The story required two years of investigative journalism to crack. It starts with Frederick Peterson, a retired Marine now working as an international business consultant, being contacted by a foreign national we will call “Mr. M.” He tells Peterson that a foreign nation appears to be trying to buy classified U.S. military equipment. The country is willing to pay $35 million for a 12-page list of encrypted radio equipment and other classified munitions. Peterson suspects the transaction is illegal, so he contacts several U.S. government intelligence agencies.
He waits for more than a week, and, strangely, is not even called back – by any of them!
This investigation began during the Clinton administration, which, did not put a high priority on national security. However, in light of the fact that encrypted radio equipment is a crucial tool for terrorists (the most broadcast picture of Osama bin Laden is of the terrorist using one) the lack of interest baffled Peterson.
Peterson contacted American Investigator Television. A sting operation was set up. American Investigator equipped a hotel room in New York with secret cameras. Peterson agreed to pose as an arms merchant to meet with an intermediary for the foreign nation. A former U.N. ambassador for a Caribbean nation shows up and has dinner with Peterson – a dinner also secretly videotaped.
As they start discussing the deal, they move upstairs to the hotel suite. The technical crew completes the bugging of the room moments before they arrive. Fortunately the equipment works flawlessly and a fascinating full-color record of the meeting is recorded with clear audio. The U.N. ambassador goes beyond the initial $35 million price tag and states that his people want more equipment on America’s official “Munitions List” and the customer has “unlimited funds” to buy them. Peterson informs the agent that it is illegal unless the country has a license for classified munitions.
It becomes clear that the U.N. ambassador is acting on behalf of a country other than his own – an outlaw nation that cannot buy weapons directly from America. He informs them that a “Mr. Bock” (a German) is the man who represents the country in question and that he uses another country to launder the arms shipments.
The U.N. ambassador will not reveal the ultimate customer, but it becomes clear it is an enemy of America – a terrorist nation. Upon reviewing the videotape and the munitions list, a mystery develops. Who wants it, and why do they want to pay more for 1980s Harris Electric encrypted radio equipment than new equipment?
American Investigator interviews top experts in arms control and terrorism to find out. They deduce that it is a nation once aligned with America but now an enemy and that the equipment is likely needed for terrorist operations.
Rob Krott, correspondent for “Soldier of Fortune” magazine and a professional soldier himself immediately identified a danger in the munitions list, pointing out that encrypted radio equipment is a key component of terrorist actions such as bombing buildings and airliners. He says it was crucial for our national security to keep such equipment out of the hands of our enemies. He suggests the Columbian narco-terrorists might be the buyers.
Anthony Cordesman of the Center of Strategic and International Studies, says, “The only country I can think of who might want it is Iran.”
Laura Lumpe, the director of the Arms Sale Monitoring Project, suggests Sudan fits the profile, because it not only is involved in terrorism, it also funnels equipment to others.
Strategic Forecasting or Stratfor Chairman George Friedman performs an exhaustive analysis. He says the buyer is obviously a former U.S. ally who has turned on us. Stratfor concludes the equipment is for a substantial force, the upward limit being 120,000 troops. He also concludes this enemy is on the outs with the Russians, as the equipment would be available from them for less.
Putting all the pieces together, Stratfor concluded the most likely customer was the Taliban government in Afghanistan – a front for bin Laden.
At this point American Investigator realized more undercover work would be necessary to crack the case with certainty. We provided the evidence and our secret videos to U.S. Customs. Our correspondents obviously were risking their lives in this investigation, but wanted to continue the sting operation anyway for national security reasons.
Yossef Bodansky, the now well-known director of the House Task Force on Terrorism and author of “Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America,” uses his extensive sources to help solve the mystery.
In a major break in our two-year investigation, American Investigator was able to set up a meeting with “Mr. Bock” in Germany, by posing as an arms dealer who could fill the munitions list the terrorist country was seeking. We sent in reporter Scott Wheeler posing as “Mr. Liever,” an illicit arms dealer. The meeting was set for the Dusseldorf train station restaurant.
Fortunately, even though the meeting was in a restaurant, American Investigator was able to videotape the meeting from a table nearby, with a hidden camera. Mr. Bock proved to be an intelligent and sophisticated businessman.
This investigative reporting team, employing recording equipment, was able to crack the case and identify the terrorist nation trying to buy the munitions. This incredibly relevant documentary is available to one and all to see for themselves through an exclusive arrangement with WorldNetDaily.
But it raises troubling questions as well – questions about the proficiency of our government’s anti-terrorism operations.
Dana Allen is president of American Investigator Television.