20,000 Heat-Seeking Missiles Disappear From Libyan Warehouse

Just when you thought flying could not get more stressful . . . ABC has learned of a secret White House report alerting U.S. officials of the theft of an estimated 20,000 portable, heat-seeking missiles from an Army warehouse in Libya.

While there has long been talk in Congress of the need to consider anti-missile technology for commercial aircraft, no such plans have been implemented. Commercial flights remain easy prey to such weapons. If these missiles fell into the hands of terrorists, it could be a game changer with passengers going through increasingly tough searchers and procedures only to have a plane destroyed in the air from a missile.

With radical Islamic factions and individuals prominent in the new Libyan government, the danger of these weapons moving quickly into the hands of terrorists is quite real.

Source: ABC

8 thoughts on “20,000 Heat-Seeking Missiles Disappear From Libyan Warehouse”

  1. Oh, WOW!! The grand daddy of all “Fast and Furious” type of operations! Now we just follow the 20,000 missiles to the terrorist organizations and we can take out the grand leaders! What a plan! Oh, wait, we lost track of all 20,000 heat-seeking missiles Hmmm. Well, I guess this type of operation will just need more practice to get it right. Now, where are those nukes?

    (Interesting quote from Greg Gotleb (sp?) on Fox news:during a discussion about the the AG/ATF operation, “Fast and Furious” which allowed as many as 2,500 high-powered fire arms to e sold illegally to straw buyers for the drug cartels, opined that the AG Eric Holder is more adverse to law abiding U.S. citizens having legal firearms than to the Mexican drug cartels having firearms)

  2. making the very big assumption that the ABC article has its facts straight…

    A range of “up to two miles” means that an aircraft flying over 12,000 feet would be out of range. (And if your goal is to take down airplanes that are landing or taking off, my understanding is that you don’t really need a sophisticated surface to air missile…)

    Also, the article cites two examples of non-military aircraft being hit by surface to air missiles – both examples were cargo aircraft, rather than passenger aircraft. That seems strange, but maybe it’s just chance.

    “With radical Islamic factions and individuals prominent in the new Libyan government, the danger of these weapons moving quickly into the hands of terrorists is quite real.”

    Yes, but… For example, Saddam was a sadistic, vile bastard, and while he did support “terrorist” organizations in the region, he never, for instance, supplied any of his surface to air missiles to one of these groups to shoot down a US passenger aircraft because, looking to Ghaddafi as an example, he saw that doing so would bring a huge poopstorm down on his nasty little head. I don’t think that the major concern here is that conservatives or Islamists involved in the transitional government will funnel these weapons to outside groups. It’s a huge way to stick your neck out, and I doubt that it would be necessary.

    Given the fact that every Mustafa, Abdel and Tariq (Tom, Dick and Harry) was loading up their pickups and driving off with these things, that means they are “in the bazaar”. If AQIM wants a few, they just have to buy them.

    Maybe it’s a good idea to equip passenger aircraft operating in the area with anti-missile systems, I don’t really know. (But from the article, given Sen. Boxer’s support, I would guess that they are manufactured in California…) But from what I do know, these “missing’ SAMs pose a much bigger threat to military operations in the region, for instance Mauritanian military helicopters supporting ground troops weeding out AQIM and/or bandits.

  3. thus the problem of a simple air war. without the ground forces we have no control. Either go in with a full plan or nothing at all. Now we have to subsidize anti-missile systems on commercial aircraft. I would buy the stock in whatever companies have this technology. Next, secure our borders. Then offer bounties for info leading to the finding/destroying of said items. Finally, the Star Wars Emperor strategy. For the holdouts who illegally possess said items … “Kill them. All of them”. If we can go in with “NATO” on a humanitarian (ha) mission, we can ask for this in return for OUR humanitarian security. Don’t approve? Sorry about that.

  4. From linked article: “Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch first warned about the problem after a trip to Libya six months ago. He took pictures of pickup truckloads of the missiles being carted off during another trip just a few weeks ago.”

    ” “I myself could have removed several hundred if I wanted to, and people can literally drive up with pickup trucks or even 18 wheelers and take away whatever they want,” said Bouckaert, HRW’s emergencies director. “Every time I arrive at one of these weapons facilities, the first thing we notice going missing is the surface-to-air missiles.” ”
    That’s interesting. By the last weeks of March NATO was enforcing a no fly zone and operated in the air with impunity but the rebels were still poorly armed and pinned down and under attack by ground forces. That was the story anyway. Who got the Missiles? They couldn’t all have been stored in rebel-held Bengazi? By Bouchart’s timeline wholesale theft of the missiles was going on 5-6 weeks after the revolt started.

    After the fall of the Soviet Union it was the military that was running the sale of Soviet arms.

    Various reports around the interwebs indicate that rebels most likely got them but, boy Howdy, we’ve probably made some serious enemies in Libya among the rebels and there could be hell to pay. Maybe that’s why we were so quick to recognize the rebel govt. and come to their aid- kiss and make up maybe?

    From Truth Out, an interview:

    “Peter Bouckaert is the emergencies director at Human Rights Watch.

    PETER BOUCKAERT: Among the files we discovered yesterday at Musa Kusa’s office is a fax from the CIA dated May 2004 in which the CIA informs the Libyan government that they are in a position to capture and render Belhaj, who’s now the head of the Tripoli Military Council to Libya. And that operation actually took place. He was captured by the CIA in Asia and put on a secret flight back to Libya, where he was interrogated and tortured by the Libyan security services.

    NERMEEN SHAIKH: The documents expose how the CIA rendered suspects to Libyan authorities, knowing they would be tortured. One of the most prominent suspects rendered to Libya was an Islamic militant named Abdelhakim Belhaj, who is now the military commander for the Libyan rebels. At the time of his capture in 2004, Belhaj was a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a group that had ties to al-Qaeda.”


  5. Wait, wait, don’t tell me…we had armaments in Libya…. Now…whey….oh yeah…Oil….Minerals….

  6. I don’t see the problem. That’s 20,000 that need replacing from weapons manufacturing companies in Russia, the UK and even the good ‘ole USofA.

    It’s economically expansive. The destruction that might occur could be considered economically expansive too; after-all the plane brought down will have to be replaced, there will be estates to distribute, anti-terror industries to expand…..

    As the classic line from the wonderful British “Yes Prime Minister” said;

    “If you sell arms, you have to concede that they eventually end up in the hands of people who are actually prepared to use them”.

    (It’s all part of the same destructive circle of logic that is weapons sales).

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