Some years back, a Navy Chief Warrant Officer at NAS Point Mugu sells off four F-14 Tomcats to a scrap dealer without ensuring that they are completely de-militarized first. An error, sure, but the CWO probably doesn't sweat it too much; after all, they're going to a scrap dealer, right?
The scrap dealer realizes that he has four unflyable but still very sexy-looking fighter jets, and he in turn sells them off intact. Two wind up with the production company that makes the TeeWee show JAG, while the other two land in museums. There they all sit for many years, quietly gathering dust.
Fast forward to the present. The head psycho in charge in Iran is rattling sabers left and right; the UN is threatening to send him to bed without his supper, and the Iranians are trying to buy up F-14 parts to keep their thirty year-old crates at least partially airworthy.
At this point, if you, private citizen Joe Schmoe, realized that you had mislaid four F-14s without de-milling them, what would you do? That's right, you'd call the guy you sold them to and ask what he did with them. That's what my government did, too. Kinda-sorta. Except they told us about it in an official
statement issued Tuesday by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which worked with the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in a 17-month investigation.17 months. Two government agencies. To pick up the phone and ask "Hey, Fred, how's the wife and kids. Say, do you remember those four jet fighters I sold you back in '98? What'd you do with those?" I'm sure the government way involved stakeouts. And expense accounts.
Anyhow, once the government obtained the information that the plane-shaped objects in question were residing in a couple of museums and with the TeeWee company, what do you think they did next? The smart and sane thing would be to round up a couple of Navy wrench jockeys who knew where all the naughty bits were on the Tomcats, go knock on their current owner's doors, and say "Hey sorry about this, but when we sold those to you we might have accidentally forgotten to take off a few hush-hush bits. The Iranians are acting all crazy right now, and for your own protection and national security reasons, we'll just make sure we've removed those parts. Sorry about the mess in the foyer. Here's some taxpayer money, go buy some burgers and a fake threat warning receiver antenna."
That would be the sane thing. The smart thing. The good P.R. thing.
But not the government thing.
The government thing sounds more like this:
The jets will be partially dismantled and taken to the military's Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center in Tucson, Arizona, for storage and final demilitarization.Imbeciles.