For some reason the following story reminded me of Deal of the Century, a 1983 comedy starring arms dealers Chevy Chase (aka Eddy Muntz), Sigourney Weaver, and Gregory Hines. The movie plot is about how several arms dealers “compete” to sell weapons to a South American strongman.
“Please sign on the dotted line” and your F-5B fighter jet will be on its way to Iran, or so read the contract. Was this fellow serious? We will soon find out because yesterday the U.S. charged Marc Knapp of California with two felony counts for attempting to export controlled technology to Iran.
In addition to the F-5, Knapp tried to sell five Anti-G suits, F-14 emergency procedure manuals in print and electronic formats, two F-14 ejection seats, and four survival radios.
With regards to the F-5, he planned to arrange for the plane to be flown fromCalifornia to Delaware in order to get it crated for transshipment to Iran via Hungary. Knapp detailed his plans to an undercover agent during a side trip to Budapest earlier this year.
There is nothing funny about what this fellow was up to. Who knows if he tried and succeeded in the past. And, unlike Muntz that ends his arms smuggling career to sell cars, Knapp could spend as much as forty years behind bars. Something tells me that the new Export Coordination Enforcement Center (ECEC), announced last month by the Obama Administration, will net a few more Muntz-like characters in the future.
Read the DHS, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) press release, here.