THE STING: Arms Dealer Busted For Trying To Sell F-5 Fighter Jet To Iran Over Lunch In Philly

INQUIRER: The investigation is the second recent major undercover arms investigation carried out by members of a small counter-proliferation unit based in Philadelphia, part of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s division of Homeland Security Investigations.[…]Much of the case is laid out in a 39-page affidavit unsealed late Wednesday at the federal courthouse in Wilmington. In the affidavit, an ICE agent alleges the following: Knapp’s first contact with the undercover ICE agent was a telephone call a year ago on Christmas Eve. During the call, Knapp offered to sell an F-14 ejection seat for $29,000. Sure, the agent said. Let’s meet in January for lunch in Philadelphia. But let’s be careful, the agent said. It’s illegal to send military gear overseas without the proper licenses. No one wants to wind up in jail. They met Jan. 4, and discussed the ejection seats, F-14 parachutes, flight suits, emergency pilot radio beacons, and a state-of-the-art pilot’s helmet. Knapp also mentioned that he knew a man in California willing to sell two F-5 fighter jets, adding that the owner would not know to whom Knapp was selling them. The agent agreed that they should say the plane’s final destination would be England and the men discussed whether the plane could be smuggled via Canada, Switzerland, or Mexico. When Knapp remarked that the Iranians might be interested in obtaining an updated flight manual for the F-4 and F-14 jets, the agent asked Knapp if he were worried about a potential U.S. enemy’s obtaining such information. No, Knapp allegedly responded. He told the agents he could “compartmentalize,” and justify the sale to Iran, because he believed the United States could shoot down any F-5. MORE

PHAWKER: But more importantly,  where did they have lunch?

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