By Jonah Bennett
Jordanian intelligence officials intercepted a CIA shipment of arms intended for Syrian rebels and resold those weapons on the black market, an FBI investigation has concluded. Worse yet, one of those black market weapons ended up in the hands of a Jordanian police captain in the commission of the murder of two American trainers in an insider attack.
Jordanian police captain Anwar Abu Zaid used black market CIA small arms in an attack in November that killed two Americans, two Jordanians and one South African in Amman, the New York Times reports.
Intelligence officers, who were supposedly in the logistics division, used the proceeds from stolen CIA weapons to buy luxury goods, such as SUVs and iPhones. Other stolen weapons include Kalashnikov rifles, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades. It’s unclear where the majority of these weapons ended up.
Jordanian Minister of State for Media Affairs Mohammad H. al-Momani vehemently denied the claim that his own intelligence officers had been involved in the theft.
“Weapons of our security institutions are concretely tracked, with the highest discipline,” he said, according to The New York Times, adding the Jordanian General Intelligence Directorate is a “a world-class, reputable institution known for its professional conduct and high degree of cooperation among security agencies.”
Yet despite al-Momani’s protests, Jordan has in fact arrested around 36 intelligence officers involved in the scheme, following protest from the United States and Saudi Arabia.
The CIA has run the operation to arm so-called moderate Syrian rebels since 2013, in order to directly bring down the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, unlike the Pentagon’s weapons program, which is designed to take down the Islamic State. On occasion, militias funded by the CIA and Pentagon clash and attack each other, as U.S. intelligence officers have only limited control over these groups once they receive weapons.
Unfortunately for the CIA’s program, Assad is still going strong, as he’s backed by Russian and Iranian support. The CIA program has apparently trained and armed thousands of rebels, but those rebels have since been crushed by the Russians. Much of the training apparently takes place in neighboring Jordan.