A must read on a really, really big mistake. “Oops, we want our missile radar back: Department of National Defence.”

Courtesy of Kevin Diakiw, the Surrey Leader:


Someone walked into a government auction in Surrey four years ago, placed a winning bid of $37 for a piece of radar equipment, took the device and left.

However, according to news reports last Friday, the government never meant to sell the highly sophisticated missile defence mechanism, which was actually worth $29,000.

So the Department of National Defence wanted it back.

The information is being reported by Montreal newspaper La Presse. The news outlet received details through a Freedom of Information request, outlining federal Defence Minister Peter McKay’s reaction to the sale of “controlled” equipment to a civilian in Surrey.

The purchaser’s identity has not been revealed, nor is it known what punishment, if any, he or she faces.

LaPresse is reporting ministry officials found out three years after the auction that the civilian bought the highly prized device and offered to reimburse the the $37 the person paid in exchange for the return of the device.

The buyer refused, so the government upped the ante to $2,000.

When the buyer refused that offer, the government issued a 48-hour order to return the mechanism.

When the purchaser failed to comply, the RCMP was called and the piece of equipment was retrieved, LaPresse reported

And who is in charge of national security again?

13 Comments on “A must read on a really, really big mistake. “Oops, we want our missile radar back: Department of National Defence.”

  1. If you read the entire story, the RCMP actually took it back when he wouldn’t sell it for the offered price by the government…. lol

  2. that is too funny for words. What idiot put that up for auction. Didn’t anyone check? Guess not!

    The RCMP took it back?????? Gee if I sold something for less than it was worth and took it back, I’d be in jail. They owe the original purchaser a lot more than a$2K. I’m sure the person who purchased it, knew what is was and was planning on using it or selling it at a profit. So what happened to free enterprise?///

  3. I am not overly concerned about the Defence Ministers’ reaction but I am concerned about how this piece of advanced or sophisticated technology got out of the DND inventory and control. It kind of begs the question: Has anything else gone astray that shouldn’t have? T

    This is definitely not an OOPS situation this is an OMG situation. In Canada, we have very stringent controls on the official export of sensitive technologies, many of which are at the behest of our neighbour to the South and for some pretty good reasons.

    This item could very easily have left Canada undetected in an Ocean Freight container of say personal household effects and no one would have been the wiser. All the purchaser needed to have said was sorry, it was stripped it down and the usable electronics were sold off and the rest went to scrap.
    Not every export container is scanned and very few are examined prior to vessel loading.

    • Extremely good points Stan. How did this get into the hands of a public auction? Where is the accountability when the discovery happened three years after the fact? Good grief- how much are we paying these people?

      • Good grief- how much are we paying these people?

        by all accounts, FAR TOO MUCH.

        The guy who had this taken should definitely get a lawyer. A sale’s a sale…. to offer something for it and when it’s not accepted just call the local cops to go seize it .. it’s a little bit like a bully action, no?

        Unless the guy’s got some missiles in the backyard, not much he could do (in national security interests) with the piece otherwise. (unless the govt is firing off missiles that they don’t want tracked?).
        Not saying the govt shouldn’t get it back, but they must realize that errors are COSTLY and they should have offered a decent price to the guy if this was something of tantamount importance.
        I’d like to know if the guy offered a price of his own?
        And, while we’re at it, should change the hypocritical police mantra “to serve and protect” (with hints at public) to “protecting and enforcing our masters’ will”.
        Might as well have SOME honesty here 🙂

      • And therein lies the biggest story of the internet decade(s).

        In the bad old days when print journalism had some form of integrity, once a paper was published, it couldn’t be taken back. What was printed was there for the ages.

        In how many instances in the past year or so have controversial stories and comments been yanked?

        Unless someone has done a screen capture, it’s like the words were never printed.

        Talk about revisionist history.

        • Which is why I take screen shots all the time and secure them offsite. 🙂 Google headquarters have already been here this morning. It is common government policy to complain to Google that a link should be removed for whatever reason and Google does usually comply.Screenshots are the only evidence often that a link or story existed. I swear, you couldn’t make this stuff up.

  4. My God, George Orwell couldn’t make this stuff up.
    Unfortunately, since most govt employees are almost totally unaccountable for their actions. They can “throw out” that equipment with impunity. Perhaps a written warning or a firing would wake up the dolts at DND that let this piece of “sensitive” equipment walk out the door.
    I remember about 15 years ago when the Feds moved the Vancouver Immigration center to its current location on Hornby St. And of course, A new building requires all new furniture, computers, everything………
    The previous location was left in a complete shambles. Govt Computers were left logged in to Ottawa’s database and on. Personal application files(photos, personal records, fingerprints, etc. were scattered on the floor everywhere in the hundreds, Phone systems were left on. We called someone to come and look…..nada response. Couldn’t have cared less. We cleaned it up , boxed the files and turned everything off to save power.The Feds paid the rent on this empty floor for another 3 years.
    After the lease expired the tenant was responsible to demolish the space back to “base building” So carpet, walls, everything was removed…..6 months later Telus showed up to recover “their” $40,000 phone system that was leased to the feds……Gone, in the garbage with the demo……Feds got billed.

    Your tax dollars at work.

    And this happens every week, Provincially and Federally all across Canada.
    Zero accountability = Zero taxpayer savings