CIA weapons for Syrian rebels sold to black arms market: NYT

CIA weapons for Syrian rebels sold to black arms market: NYT

NEW YORK: (APP) Weapons shipped into Jordan for Syrian rebels by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Saudi Arabia were stolen by Jordanian intelligence operatives and sold to arms merchants on the black market, The New York Times (NYT) reported, citing 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, according to a joint investigation by the NYT and Al Jazeera.

A Jordanian officer shot dead two U.S. government security contractors, a South African trainer and two Jordanians at a U.S.-funded police training facility near Amman before being killed in a shootout, Jordanian authorities had said in November.

The paper said the proceeds from the weapons, which included AK47s, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades, went towards mostly luxury items including SUVs and iPhones. In total, the theft amounted to millions of dollars.

The Jordanian government has denied allegations of any wrongdoing by its intelligence officials. Mohammad H al-Momani, Jordan's minister of state for media affairs, dismissed the accusations as "absolutely incorrect".

However, a senior aide to a number of Jordan's previous prime ministers, Husam Abdallat, told the New York Times there were some corrupt GID (General Intelligence Directorate) officials but said the whole institution could not be considered corrupt.

"The majority of its officers are patriotic and proud Jordanians who are the country's first line of defense," he was quoted as saying.

Officers involved in the scheme sold the weapons at several arms markets in Jordan including at the main markets of Ma'an, Sahab and the Jordan Valley.

The weapons used in the shooting had originally arrived in Jordan for the Syrian rebel training programme, the paper reported, citing American and Jordanian officials.

Theft of the weapons, which ended months ago after complaints by the American and Saudi governments, has led to a flood of new weapons available on the arms black market, the New York Times said.

The CIA could not be immediately reached for comment.