The Navy secretly trying to ship hundreds of firearm silencers across the U.S.

The Navy secretly trying to ship hundreds of firearm silencers across the U.S.

February 8th, 2016, by JD Heyes

Is there a civil war approaching?

A federal judge in recent days sentenced a civilian U.S. Navy intelligence official sentenced to six months in prison and an associate of his – a hot rod mechanic from California – to 60 days in jail, in a case that many observers say is both odd and mysterious.

As reported by the Washington Post, the pair were at the center of a weird – and, obviously, criminal – scheme to manufacture hundreds of silencers for rifles, allegedly for a military project that is being kept under wraps.

In sentencing civilian Navy intel official Lee M. Hall, U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema said she took “no pleasure” in doing so. However, she said the sentencing was necessary in order to deter anyone else in the future from acting as he did. In an earlier hearing, she sentenced mechanic Mark S. Landersman to his term, as noted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Both of them were convicted in late 2014 of a conspiracy to build 349 silencers that would be untraceable by law enforcement or, presumably, U.S. intelligence agencies. The pair then conspired to ship them across state lines for some sort of sensitive mission that was never explained fully in open court.

Federal prosecutors claimed that the arrangement was a $1.6 million sweetheart deal to make Landersman rich; his brother, David Landersman, was Hall’s boss in the Navy, and he too, has also been charged, the Post noted.

Defense attorneys for the convicted said their clients were operating under the belief that their project was legitimate. In court, Hall apologized to the Navy and the U.S. government for “having to deal with this very difficult issue,” all the while maintaining that he never believed he was doing anything wrong.

“At the time I took my actions, I truly believed there was a need for these materials,” he said.

After announcing her verdict, Brinkema said she would suspend Hall’s sentence if he filed an appeal. The Post did not say whether he would.

In its own statement on the case, the Justice Department gave a better description of Hall, whom they said lives in Potomac Falls, Va. If a reader merely relied on the Post’s report, which was very brief, they would not know that Hall was more than just a Navy civilian intelligence guy, and that the silencers were actually tested by the Navy at some point.

DoJ said Lee was a former director of intelligence for the Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy Office of Plans, Policy, Oversight and Integration (PPOI) Intelligence Directorate – here is a chain of command for that structure. Also, technically, Justice said Hall was “convicted…of conspiracy to transport unregistered firearms, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, and theft of government property.” That last charge – “theft of government property” – proves (or should have) that the silencers were indeed part of a Navy intelligence program or operation, so they weren’t just rogue pieces of equipment that Hall and Landersman concocted to make the latter “rich.”

Also, the DoJ statement, dated October 2014, noted that David Landersman is currently the PPOI Senior Intelligence Director, further indicating that this was some sort of special operation.

There’s more. Based on the charges that DoJ outlined, Hall faced a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison – but was only given six months behind bars, according to the sentence which the judge “took no pleasure” in handing out. This, too, indicates that there is every likelihood that these two were involved in something that may have been sanctioned at one time, but later rescinded for some reason.

According to the DoJ, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (yes, the same NCIS you see on primetime broadcast network TV), seized the silencers that had been shipped from California at a warehouse in Maryland. The Navy then tested the silencers, but they failed a series of flash and sound suppression tests.

Now, it is possible that this operation was not sanctioned, but the fact that it involves some very high-ranking current and former civilian Navy intelligence officials, coupled with the light sentences, indicates something more here than what meets the eyes.


The Washington Post

Department of Justice

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