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March 28, 2008

22-year-old defense contractor will testify before Congress

Henry Waxman wants 22-year-old Efraim Diveroli to testify about how his company, AEY Inc., landed over $300 million in government contracts between 2004 and 2007.

In a letter dated March 25, the Army informed Diveroli that he and AEY were debarred from future federal contracts because Army investigators concluded that AEY had passed off old Chinese ammunition as Hungarian-made. The US military is not allowed to buy from Chinese military companies.

Many news accounts have remarked on the age of the ammo--some of it was manufactured over 40 years ago. Note that the Army knew it was buying some pretty old rounds. AEY said that the ammo was made between 1965 and 1975. Most of it was actually produced between 1962 and 1974.

I reviewed some government contracting records and learned that AEY wasn't just a defense contractor. The firm had contracts with the IRS, the EPA, the DOE, the State Department, and other agencies.

AEY contracted to provide the following goods, in addition to weapons and ammunition for the Army, the Navy, and the Coast Guard:

-Small arms to a branch of the Department of Energy that protects nuclear installations
-Commercial printing for the EPA
-Computer phone cords to the IRS
-Sporting goods for the air force
-Cartridge and propellant devices for the US Embassy in Bogata, through a State Department contract
-Miscellaneous weapons for the US Special Operations Command
-Equipment for the Diplomatic Security/Anti-terrorism Assistance office of the State Department

AEY also had federal contracts to supply body armor, scopes, scaffolding and concrete forms, composite food packages, forklifts, and many other items.

Diveroli is also the president of the Florida company Ammoworks, according to Nick Juliano of Raw Story. Ammoworks, shares office space in Miami Beach with AEY, but does not appear to have received any federal contracts.

The Army investigated the sketchy ammunition that AEY sold them, but it's not clear whether any other agencies are checking the quality and source of the materials they got from Diveroli and AEY.

The National Nuclear Security Administrative Services Center should probably take a good look at the guns they bought from AEY to defend nuclear reactors.

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Comments

As far as I can tell (based on the links you provided) the case against Diveroli and AEY are still allegations at this point. I think the presumption of innocence is a principle worth preserving and that your post would be better if the word "allegedly" was included in your reporting. Juliano's description of Diveroli does the trick: The 22-year-old Florida man who allegedly provided old, substandard Chinese-manufactured ammunition to troops in Afghanistan. You might consider adopting a similar practice. Remember Richard Jewel? Remember Steven Hatfill?

"I think the presumption of innocence is a principle worth preserving and that your post would be better if the word 'allegedly' was included in your reporting."

Which of the sentences above are in need of this amendment?

Cass, I think the original post has been edited. The following line is one I think was changed:

In a letter dated March 25, the Army informed Diveroli that he and AEY were debarred from future federal contracts because Army investigators concluded that AEY had passed off old Chinese ammunition as Hungarian-made. .

Lindsay, did I misread the post, or did you originally write that AEY had sold old Chinese ammunition as Hungarian-made rather than that Army investigators had concluded that AEY had passed off Chinese munitions as Hungarian?

Vietnam-War-era 7.62mm ammunition of Chinese manufacture was notorious for its high percentage of duds, IIRC more than 1 round in 30. The Vietnamese preferred Soviet- or Czech-manufactured ammo, when they could get it, for just this reason. 30-40 years older, it could only be worse. AEY's fraud could well have meant additional combat deaths for customers who had to clear the chambers of their Kalashnikovs of the bad rounds before they could resume firing.

I've seen a number of stories bashing this kid. What I want to know is, who's the gigantic idiot who signed the other side of those contracts? Nobody felt a little funny getting arms shipments from a 22 year old Floridian? I'm not saying the kid shouldn't be adjuticated. But doesn't some responsibility fall on the government representative too?

The kid is out of the country and the father swears he had nothing to do with that $300 million arms deal that "boy genius" Efraim cooked up with his buddies.

I'm certain that his father had way more to do with AEY than he's letting on. I've got a new post discussing the links between Michael Diveroli and AEY here.

Lindsay, did you revise the second paragraph of this story after you originally posted it?

As written I don't have a problem with the paragraph. Assuming it's correct, the Army conducted an investigation, came to a conclusion. Lindsay is reporting that conclusion. It's not a criminal case. If he is charged with a crime, then his status is alleged (and the report will be entered into evidence).

As to the ammo. Age isn't a problem, so long as the ammo isn't overheated, or corroded. I've used ammumtion which was more than 60 years old (recently). I'd be wary of anything from before the late '20s; because nitrocellulose has some odd properties if it breaks down; it stops being a deflagration (which is the fancy way of saying gunpowders don't explode, the burn real fast) and actually explodes. This can be bad.

Moisture is the real killer (which is why that photo is terrifying; for a soldier not so much for a hunter/target shooter). It gets in the seams (primer to case, or bullet to case) and bad things happen; usually leading to duds.

A dud is better than something where the powder is dead, and the primer isn't. Primers explode. The energy in the primer is enough to drive the bullet halfway up the barrel. The next round that goes off, hits that one. The barrel may burst. At the leat it will be "ringed" (the air between the two bullets gets very hot, from the compression, and burns the barrel) which is hell on accuracy, and makes a burst barrel more likely.

As written I don't have a problem with the paragraph. As written, pecunium, I don't have a problem with it either. But I think the message has been revised since it's originally posted. I've asked directly twice, and Lindsay hasn't answered, even though she's posted to this thread since my question appeared.

Lindsay, I'd appreciate an answer to the question: did you revise the post after it was originally published?

Parse, I think you misinterpreted the original.

I reworked that whole paragraph, but not in response to parse's comment. I expanded the paragraph to explain what the army is upset about, as far as the ammo is concerned.

Much of the discussion centered on how old the rounds were, but the army's most strenuous objection is that it contracted for Hungarian ammunition but received Chinese ammo of a similar vintage (which the army isn't allowed to buy).

Lindsay, can you repost the paragraph as it originally appeared? People might agree or disagree with my remark, but I think it's sensible in response to the original languague, whereas it's a non-sequetir as a response to what you have now.

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