WASHINGTON HC — WASHINGTON -- The State Department inspector general issued a report yesterday asserting that department officials have for years failed to act on numerous reports indicating that Israel was violating U.S. laws by making unauthorized sales of sensitive U.S. military technology to third countries.
The report by the inspector general, Sherman M. Funk, does not mention Israel by name, but refers to the "major recipient" of U.S. military assistance.
Administration officials said that was a reference to Israel.
The report states he found "many reports of significant alleged violations" of arms-transfer laws "by a major recipient of U.S. weapons and technology."
Apparently referring to intelligence reports, it states that they describe "a systematic and growing pattern of unauthorized transfers of sensitive U.S. items and technology by the recipient dating back to about 1983."
The asserted violations included sales of sensitive U.S. equipment and technology "to countries prohibited by U.S. law from receiving such items," the report says, in an apparent reference to sales to South Africa and China, two major customers for Israeli arms in the period.
The report was issued without comment by senior State Department officials, but the document includes a recommendation by Deputy Secretary Lawrence S. Eagleburger to forgo disciplinary action against officials who were responsible for enforcing the arms-transfer law.
The Feb. 18 memorandum from Mr. Eagleburger, referring to the alleged violations by Israel, states, "A strong message has been delivered to an appropriate official of that government, indicating that the alleged activity must stop."