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article imageTrial raises questions over Navy's order for silencers

By Martin Laine     Oct 13, 2014 in Politics
What started out as an investigation into an alleged contract fraud scheme by a U.S. Navy directorate involving untraceable rifle silencers has raised questions about whether they were part of a secret mission or rogue operation.
Two brothers face separate trials beginning later this month in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va. Prosecutors say the two charged the Navy $1.6 million for 349 untraceable rifle silencers that should have cost only $8,000 in labor and materials, according to an article in the Washington Post.
Untraceable weapons and silencers can be used in clandestine missions so that they can't be traced back to the United States.
The trials are the culmination of a two-year investigation by the Navy.
Because much of the pre-trial testimony and documents involve classified material, the court has sealed much of the information.
One of the men, David W. Landersman, a civilian, was senior director for intelligence in the Navy’s directorate for plans, policy, oversight and integration intelligence. In a 2013 article, the Washington Post reported that David Landersman contacted his brother Mark, a California auto mechanic, about manufacturing the silencers.
Shortly after, Navy finance officials approved his request for an additional $2 million for “studies, assessments and research.”
The money was transferred to the account of a major Naval intelligence contractor, who was then instructed to order the silencers from a newly-created company that Mark Landersman had formed.
The unanswered question is who wanted the silencers and why.
The civilian-run directorate provides support and oversight to Navy and Marine intelligence, but is not directly involved in intelligence operations.
One un-named witness said the silencers were intended for a Navy SEALS outfit, but representatives from the SEALS testified they had not ordered the silencers.
To complicate matters, Mark Landersman's attorney has charged that the Navy had destroyed a secret stash of foreign-made automatic rifles that the silencers had been manufactured for. Further discussion in open court was halted because it involved a classified matter.
And documents from the directorate’s offices relating to the rifles and silencers were burned by Navy security officers just a few days after the 2013 Post article was published. The officer who burned the documents said she didn’t think they were pertinent during testimony at a pretrial hearing in July.
The Post article reports that unnamed sources suggest that the silencers were intended for some unknown rogue operation. No other details were offered.
More about Navy directorate, untraceable silencers, Navy seals
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