The family that mines Pentagon data for profit

As the two sat down for lunch, Botha delivered Posey a shopping list of technical data and manuals for Newport Air to procure. South Africa will eventually order documents related to a range of components, including the powerplant for the C-130 transport aircraft and its past favorite GE jet engine. Some of these items are on the U.S. munitions list — technology, weapons and information, the export of which is strictly controlled, especially to pariah countries like South Africa.

Posey later insisted on dealing with the South African military through intermediary companies. “I can’t deal with anyone on the surface. I have to stay underground so that I’m safe from scrutiny,” he told Botha. When Botha asked him what he meant by “immune from scrutiny,” Posey replied, “You know, immunity from FBI scrutiny.”

It’s too late. The FBI has heard and seen it all.

Ibbotson was listening when Posey told Roberta the deal would make Newport Aeronautical $98,000 ($260,000 in today’s dollars), and when Posey wooed British-born aerospace consultant Edward James Bush as the company’s courier listen. manual and then laundered the money through his Canadian bank account. Bush later said the two had worked together. The previous year, Posey had provided him with technical manuals for the F-4 and F-5 fighter jets destined for the Iranian Air Force.

In early February 1987, a team of FBI agents followed Posey and Bush as they scrambled to print and package South African documents. Bush plans to travel to South Africa via Argentina, where Posey hopes he will provide the Argentine Air Force with some additional technical manuals on space and missile systems.

While the men were sorting and packing documents at the Newport Airways office, the FBI listened for breaches in the office. “It’s not just some day-to-day work. You’re violating export laws,” Bush said, according to Ibbotson. “Fuck A,” replied Percy, and he and Bush went on with their plan.

On the afternoon of February 7, Bush checked three white boxes and a blue suitcase into the boarding area of ​​Los Angeles International Airport. There, he was apprehended by FBI and U.S. Customs agents. Around the same time, the FBI raided the Newport Aviation office and Posey’s house in Costa Mesa. When Posey, Roberta, and their 2-year-old son returned home, they found unmarked FBI vehicles and more than a dozen agents crawling among their belongings – including the dictionary codebook that Posey used to communicate with Van Wulin .

Posey’s brother Robert, who is also an employee of Newport Airlines, bravely answered questions from reporters. “It’s not like we really want to hide anything,” he told los angeles times. “It would be one thing if we shipped guns or missiles, but these are books!”

In March, according to Los Angeles Times, Posey became the first person to be charged under anti-apartheid laws. Like Bush, he was also charged with conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act. The indictment named (but not charged) South African naval attaché Walster, who reportedly left the country in a hurry. “I had no personal contact with these gentlemen, and of course I never met them,” Walst told Wired by email after retiring in South Africa. Bush was quick to admit to violating the Arms Export Control Act. , and cooperated with the FBI. However, Posey wants to spend his day in court.

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