The Jordanian Arms Theft Story

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The Jordanian Arms Theft Story

Rebels demonstrate their skills during a graduation ceremony at a training camp near Damascus. (Photo: Bassam Khabieh/Reuters)

The NYT has a blockbuster story reporting that Jordanian officers have been stealing weapons “shipped into Jordan” by CIA, and selling them on the black market. Some of these weapons were used to kill two American contractors at a training facility in November.

Weapons shipped into Jordan by the Central Intelligence Agency and Saudi Arabia intended for Syrian rebels have been systematically stolen by Jordanian intelligence operatives and sold to arms merchants on the black market, according to American and Jordanian officials.

Some of the stolen weapons were used in a shooting in November that killed two Americans and three others at a police training facility in Amman, F.B.I. officials believe after months of investigating the attack, according to people familiar with the investigation.

The existence of the weapons theft, which ended only months ago after complaints by the American and Saudi governments, is being reported for the first time after a joint investigation by The New York Times and Al Jazeera.

I’m still trying to figure out what to make of this story, so for the moment, I just want to unpack it.

First, consider the players. The story is sourced to US and Jordanian “officials,” (a term which can sometimes mean contractors or Members of Congress). The CIA and FBI both refused to comment for the story; the State Department and Jordan’s press people both gave fluff statements.

The story is a joint project — between Qatar’s media outlet, Al-Jazeera (here’s their link to the story), and the “official press” of the US, the NYT. So Americans, Jordanians, and Qataris were involved in this story.

But no Saudis, in spite of the fact that the story reports that Saudis apparently complained some months ago.

Read the full story at EmptyWheel.net

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Marcy Wheeler

Marcy Wheeler writes the blog Emptywheel. and the "Right to Know" column for ExposeFactsorg. Her book, Anatomy of Deceit: How the Bush Administration Used the Media to Sell the Iraq War and Out a Spy, provided a primer on the CIA Leak case surrounding Valerie Plame and her husband, Joe Wilson. She publishes at various outlets including the Guardian, Salon and the Progressive. Wheeler won the 2009 the Hillman Award for blog journalism.

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