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ITT fined $100m for shipping night vision goggles to China

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ITT illegally exported military night vision goggles to China. For good measure, it supplied some classified technical data about a laser counter measure known as a "light interference filter". Now it is paying the price for its skulduggery: a whopping $100m fine.

The US defense contractor also sold the goggles to Singapore and the UK, both allies of America the last time we checked. But, here's the rub: the company didn't fill in the necessary paperwork and in some cases it omitted material facts from its Arms Exports Required Reports. According to the US Department of Justice, ITT knew that it was violating its export licenses but failed to take action until just before it was found out by the US Department of State.

Assistant Attorney General Wainstein said, “The sensitive night vision systems produced by ITT Corporation are critical to U.S. war-fighting capability and are sought by our enemies and allies alike. ITT’s exportation of this sensitive technology to China and other nations jeopardized our national security and the safety of our military men and women on the battlefield. We commend the prosecution team and ITT Corporation for developing a plea agreement that addresses the violations of the past, ensures compliance in the future, and serves as a strong warning to others who might be tempted by the profits of such illegal exports.”

According to the DoJ, ITT will be the first major defense contractor convicted of a criminal violation of the Arms Export Control Act. There is a get-out clause of sorts: ITT can reduce its fine by up to $50m if it spends $50m on R&D into building better night goggles. ®

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