Officials said the State Department has provided a license for the sale
of advanced computers for a Syrian border surveillance program, Middle East Newsline reported. They said
the systems were being provided through a United Nations program that could
significantly enhance Syria's military capabilities.
In 2004, President George Bush signed legislation to severely restrict
technology exports to Syria, deemed a gateway of Al Qaida for the war
against the U.S. military in neighboring Iraq. But the legislation allowed
the president to waive sanctions on grounds of U.S. national security.
Officials said the U.S. firm Cisco would supply computers and networking
equipment to Syria under UN program. They said Syria would receive about
$2.2 million in equipment under a program termed "Modernization of Syrian
Customs Directorate," launched in 2005 and meant to be completed in early
Cisco was granted a license by the U.S. Commerce Department to sell the
computers to Syria in September 2006. The UN has confirmed the sale while
the Commerce Department has not responded to the report.
A federal investigation has determined that the U.S. Defense Department
approved the export of spare parts of the F-14 fighter-jet to front
companies for Iran. The aircraft parts as well as other U.S. military
equipment were said to have been purchased by brokers for China and then
relayed to Teheran.