In January of 2007, three young stoners from Miami Beach won a $300 million Department of Defense contract to supply ammunition to the Afghanistan military. Read more...
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In January of 2007, three young stoners from Miami Beach won a $300 million Department of Defense contract to supply ammunition to the Afghanistan military. Incredibly, instead of fulfilling the order with high-quality arms, Efraim Diveroli, David Packouz, and Alex Podrizki--the dudes--bought cheap Communist-style surplus ammunition from Balkan gunrunners. The dudes then secretly repackaged millions of rounds of shoddy Chinese ammunition and shipped it to Kabul--until they were caught by Pentagon investigators and the scandal turned up on the front page of The New York Times.
That's the "official" story. The truth is far more explosive. For the first time, journalist Guy Lawson tells the thrilling true tale. It's a trip that goes from a dive apartment in Miami Beach to mountain caves in Albania, the corridors of power in Washington, and the frontlines of Iraq and Afghanistan. Lawson's account includes a shady Swiss gunrunner, Russian arms dealers, corrupt Albanian gangsters, and a Pentagon investigation that impeded America's war efforts in Afghanistan. Lawson exposes the mysterious and murky world of global arms dealing, showing how the American military came to use private contractors like Diveroli, Packouz, and Podrizki as middlemen to secure weapons from illegal arms dealers--the same men who sell guns to dictators, warlords, and drug traffickers.
This is a story you were never meant to read.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-04-06
- Reviewer: Staff
In early 2007, two men from Miami Beach, both in their mid-20s, won a Department of Defense contract to supply $300 million worth of ammunition intended for the Afghanistan military. Efraim Diveroli and David Packouz (who were later joined by their buddy Alex Podrizki) were already running a successful arms-dealing organization, but this order was of a size and scale that they were wildly unprepared for, forcing them to bend rules and subsequently pad their wallets. In this highly specific account, Lawson (Octopus: Sam Israel, the Secret Market, and Wall Street’s Wildest Con) details the backroom machinations, corruption, red tape, and intrigue that go along with high-stakes arms deals. Diveroli, the leader of the group, is portrayed as a master manipulator. His insatiable greed, combined with constantly changing regulations and the Department of Defense’s convoluted and conflicting requests for large quantities of ammunition and arms at the lowest possible prices and the regulations that seemed to change every day, created a perfect setup for corruption and corner-cutting. Lawson’s eye for detail and extensive research are commendable, though the book often veers into the weeds as he details the mercurial minutiae of government contracts and international diplomacy. (June)