November 16, 2008

The FBI and Flash Bang Grenades

Posted: 09:32 PM ET

“We cannot confirm or deny.”


That is the phrase reporters are used to hearing from the typically tight-lipped FBI public information officer.  Not this time.

In this case, three active FBI agents were given special clearance to speak publicly about the day in 2004 that a flash bang grenade went off while they were on assignment during a hostage stakeout. They say it could easily have killed one of them.

The three agents say they were sitting in their car, when the grenade went off without warning.  All three agents say they suffer hearing loss, and the agent closest sustained other injuries, due to the unexpected explosion.

A flash bang grenade is considered a non-lethal weapon.  When one is deployed, it emits a bright flash and a deafening bang, often used to shock and disorient the enemy.  Flash bangs are widely used in the military, as well as by FBI. agents, and local law enforcement officers.

Pyrotechnic Specialties Inc. or P.S.I, of Byron, Georgia,  is the company that manufactured the flash bangs in question.  Earlier this year, a federal indictment against PSI alleged the company knew its flash bangs were defective, and even knew how to fix the problem, which would cost the company just $3.72 per grenade. But federal investigators say the company chose not to fix problem, and instead relabeled the faulty devices, and then sold them to local law enforcement agencies and to the FBI.  One of them ended up in the hands of the three FBI agents I interviewed.

The criminal trial against the company is set for January 2009, and there are several civil cases still in the discovery phase.  P.S.I, its CEO and other defendants in this case all pleaded not guilty, saying the charges against them are vague and/or confusing.

The one thing the agents expressed to me time and again was the shock and disappointment they felt that an American company could knowingly sell a defective product to its own servicemen and women.

One agent said, “We expect risks to come from the bad guys – The people who we try to protect the American people from.  For those risks to come from an American company is just unconscionable for me.  It’s infuriating.”  Whether PSI is at fault is at the heart of each of these lawsuits.

But looking at the bigger picture, how common is it for American companies to cut corners on safety to save a few bucks? How thorough are regulations and oversight?   When you see the “made in the U.S.A.” label, what does that mean to you?

In addition, we are interested in knowing of other cases where people have been injured by a flash bang either here or abroad.

Filed under: Abbie Boudreau

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Mick (Ohio)   November 16th, 2008 10:44 pm ET

Having personally known both US Forces and Local Police persons, I find this sad on many levels. I don't think I need to really go into it. I would like to always think, "MADE IN U.S.A." meant quality. We often pay more for things made in America. I believe we all feel quality is something we stand behind. Unfortunately, we have bad eggs in every profession in every community in America. People who do the least possible at their jobs. Or, intentionally cut corners such as this. These are certainly unfortunate. I am very sorry to the agents as well as their lifestyles that will certainly be impacted. Hearing is our most conscious sense we use. It is likely one of the most important sense a Federal Agent would need in combination with his / her sight. If found guilty in court, I would hope that the agents would receive medical and appropriate other compensation. However, more than this, we need to bankrupt such companies. Not penalize them. This is a root evil. Not an employee error. This is often from the core of a business such as an owner. I would suggest the courts do what is necessary to bankrupt such companies. Whether it means eliminating all US contracts and dragging out the court case for years until they are broken. Or whether the court itself cases to step up and put a stop to these type of business practices. America's voice is loud and clear right now that we are tired of what's been going on behind business glass. Aside from this, I wish our agents well. Thank you for your services to our country. Our court system won't let you down.

Lisa   November 17th, 2008 11:58 am ET

Are these the same devices (flash-bangers) that were used by ATF/FBI on the little children in the Branch-Davidian complex in Waco?

Phil   November 17th, 2008 11:59 am ET

The term "Made by the lowest bidder," was tossed around my former Army Reserve unit and it's sadly true. Despite the obvious fact that saving money is on every agenda in every office (federal, state, military, or local government), you'd hope safety would still be priority no matter the price tag. But in this case, it's apparent that the company would rather save $4/unit than fix a potentially deadly design flaw. This only emulates what happened in the recent Bangkok riots where protesters had limbs blown off by tear gas grenades with gunpowder as the igniter. The fact that anyone would let a "non-lethal" product roll off it's shelves knowing that they could fail should have their business licenses pulled for good. What's next? Pepper spray topped off with mustard gas?

dk (Virginia)   November 17th, 2008 12:03 pm ET

This is not a new problem. I lost hearing in one ear and was burned from face to fingertips in an FBI training exercise at Quantico in 1984. Vendor quality control is an on-going problem with these valuable – but potentially dangerous – devices.

Jennifer (LA)   November 17th, 2008 12:11 pm ET

Agreed - bankrupt this piece of @$#% company – don't just penalize them. I hope the CEO and all senior management responsible for this are put away for life, and their personal fortunes stripped. Their greed and lack of integrity - or basic civility - is disgusting. They deserve major jailtime with hardened criminals! And when they get released, strip them of their citizenship and make them live in Iraq!

rae gambardella   November 17th, 2008 12:13 pm ET

If guilty this fraud should be considered treason.

Elizabeth Fucci   November 17th, 2008 12:13 pm ET

I agree with the previous comment, but would add that those responsible should be locked in a car full of those defective devices until all of them have detonated. What they have done is far worse than any punishment they are likely to receive. Believe this: until they are permanently removed from society, they WILL do this again, to someone else, from somewhere else.

My heart goes out to the agent(s) and soldier(s) who have suffered so needlessly. They give us their best. Don't they deserve the same from us?

MH   November 17th, 2008 12:17 pm ET

The agent is alive and will be able to stand in a court room. Represents all that matters it would seem

Needless to say, thanks for a great story.

Mark Hutton
Graduate Graduate Div.
John Jay College Criminal Just.
Center on Terrorism

bev ritz   November 17th, 2008 12:17 pm ET

My sympathies to the injured FBI agents and to the young soldier who were injured due to purposely created faulty "flash bang grenades." My son is with the DEA, and I am very fearful of his being injured in such a fashion. As for the manufacturers and owners and personnel of P.S.I., if found guilty of this evil scheme, the courts should show no mercy. How is it that government cannot regulate life-saving devices by working closely with defense contractors? There has to be more vigilance on behalf of our government.

Mylon Stark   November 17th, 2008 12:18 pm ET

In the matter of alleged wrongdoing in the flash grenade case, due process should be executed. Should due process find the manufacturer and/or management of the devices to be guilty of any or all of the charges, the full weight of the law should fall upon them.

No plea bargaining, no "good behavior," nothing but a full sentences assignment to each of the evil-doers (should any be found guilty).

In such an alleged egregious act(s), if our society wasn't so "wimpy," the sentences would be "at hard labor." Further, the business should be confiscated and sold, with proceeds going to the affected injured parties and their families.

It's time for more justice and less joke in our courts.

Ron   November 17th, 2008 12:22 pm ET

This is just typical of the business culture in America – it's all good until you are caught. The small percentage of individuals that are truly hurt is an acceptable cost of doing that business. Pyrotechnic Specialties Inc. of Byron, Georgia is small time. What is happening today in the banking, insurance, and real estate industries is more of the same (just to name a few).

Jay   November 17th, 2008 12:26 pm ET

I agree with Mick 100% that the company should be out of business completely, but I honestly feel it should go even further than that. It may sound harsh, but I don't see any difference between what these company leaders knowingly did the members of our military and police agencies, and a spy who sells secrets they know will harm their country and its agents. I think these acts were treasonous and should be treated as such. David Karlson and his fellow conspirators are scum that should be removed from society permanently. I am so sick of the corruption and greed that seems to be so prevalent today. It is time that the Justice Department, Congress and the courts take things up a notch and make the penalties for these types of crimes far outweigh the possible benefits.

Debra   November 17th, 2008 12:30 pm ET

What do you mean that this (or these companies) that sold this defective equipment for our federal agents and our military is still in business? This business should be temporarily and completely shut down until the end of the criminal trial. If these persons are found guilty, then the company is then permanently out of business. By temporarily closing, this company hasn't been able to sell "defective" merchandise in the interim. All in the name of greed. Pathetic pathetic people.

BOB S.   November 17th, 2008 12:32 pm ET

We are involved in two wars. During time of war, anyone performing a deliberate act detrimental to the interests or knowing harmfull to the U.S. or it's people should be considered traitors and subject to the penalties dictated in the articles of war. So forget about the money, greed is everywhere and is the underlying cause of almost all our countries troubles. Execute a couple of them or give them a life term and see how fast things will turn around.

dana spratt   November 17th, 2008 12:33 pm ET

It is very sad to hear this story. One of the reasons for this happening as with many other instances is that the old policy of keeping the goverment out of business will not work no more. We need to regrulate and keep track of all companies because people have gotten so greedy and corupt that they will do anything to make a buck. Caring for your country or moral values are long gone!!!

Alana (Washington)   November 17th, 2008 12:35 pm ET

This has really showed what people are willing to do. To risk the lifes of people that are here to protect our country. These people woulnd't not have done that if they had a friend or even a relative in that situation, they wouldn't have risked it. They should be selling defaulty equipment, if the grenades were meant to do that to other people they could easily do that to you. They should have not even risked it it was stupid and not risked it. I am really disappointed in those people.

Debbie   November 17th, 2008 12:37 pm ET

When companies like P.S.I. of Byron, Georgia intentionally sell defective warfare equipment such as the flash bang grenades to the United States, whether it be for our soldiers, FBI agents, or local police forces, their intention is greed, which is one of the 7 deadly sins. Maybe their intention was not to harm, but as this story goes it has harmed meaningful members in our society who's lives will never be the same. This company should lose all their manufacturing rights and like previously stated forced into losing their business forever. People like this know the loopholes in the courts and can always change their names, but a stigma should be enforced on them forever. I believe that this neglect teeters on being a traitor to your own country. The law should come down on the people responsible for this conspiracy for harming the people who protect this country!

MurphyMorseJohnson   November 17th, 2008 12:38 pm ET

Is it possible these grenades are detonating on certain rfi frequencies?

Raiseuone   November 17th, 2008 12:38 pm ET

And we wonder why we are in the mess we are in? Government regulation won't bring our economy down, however, the lack of integrity alleged to PSI will. Greed has always been a deal killer. I do not agree with Mike, however, that the government should employ the same lack of integrity by using the courts to intentionally bankrupt ANY company. PSI, if found guilty, should do jail time (no country clubs for these guys), be denied access to any government contracts at any level ,and Owners, executives, and directors, should be barred from doing business with any government organization for life. This would include local, county, state, federal, and to the extent possible under law any international government contracts. Thanks for reading.

Carl Owens   November 17th, 2008 12:42 pm ET

Need to recall a few of the problem children and make these guys where them around their waist 24/7 Might want to include the lawyers too. See if thay are as brave as the lawmen and troops that count on them. Nothing will ever repay those agents sitting that car..Time for morons like this to pay for this crap and I don't mean a fine or time at a fed resort. I mean hard time at a real prison for many years..Our troops have their hands full now...every body says support the troops well here is a real chance to show them we do care and ain't gonna put up with this stuff. Make an example out of these clowns. Thats why our country is screwed up now is because of these kinds of people and bad service/goods....clo

dan smith   November 17th, 2008 12:42 pm ET

I think that CNN should mind their business and report the case based on what is discussed and decided in a court of law as opposed to editorializing hearsay information, even if they believe the information is true and that the people giving it are credible. CNN is a troubled entity confusing their right to free speech with that of becoming judge, jury and executioner. These incidents are sad and have right to be understood in a cour of law as does the intent of the manufactuer. I wish thata you reported so slantingly about the war crimes committed and the people murdered by Bush and Chaney, then I wouldn't tell you to shut up.

ACEd   November 17th, 2008 12:43 pm ET

Sentence the guy and all top officers of PSI to wear at least 1 of the defective devices in their pockets with no kevlar vest – as for top guy I'd give him one each in front pants pocket and shirt pocket.

Tea   November 17th, 2008 12:45 pm ET

The CEO and Top Execs should be made to stand behind their product. Literally. Make them carry their devices in a front pocket for an extended period of time.

John VanGorder   November 17th, 2008 12:47 pm ET

War Profiteers of the worst sort–a legacy that should haunt the Republican's and their political appointees charged with dealing with such matters for a long time,.

Warwick   November 17th, 2008 12:48 pm ET

It is disgusting that there are people like these in American society. When caught there should be no expense spared to indict them, and if proven guilty, no expense spared to part them from their ill gotten gains. Laws should also be passed and implemented where the death penalty can be given in cases where the culprits knew they were supplying defective products that could impact on our soldiers and police, who go into harm’s way on a daily basis.

Chris   November 17th, 2008 12:50 pm ET

It is very unfortunate for the FBI agents and Army Offices to have been handicapped by their injuries, but it is far more bothersome when someone is injured and/or handicapped delibertly. Local, State and Government officials routinely suject the public to these devices in so-called "raids". People innocent of any wrongdoing have also been injured and/or handicapped with little or no compensation. Because of the stipulations placed upon suing the government, many of these individuals are left to fend for themselves. Note: I am not in defense of the criminals. But I am in defense of the innocent ; the individuals who happen to occupy the same dwelling of the criminal, with no knowledgeof it. One example are children. The FBI and Military personel will be compensated for their injuries and/or handicap by their employeer. But what about the little kid who lost his hearing or eye sight due to one of these devices? Who do they sue when the government says it's offices were simply doing their jobs?

Diana Ballistreri   November 17th, 2008 12:52 pm ET

This is outright treason. In a time of war, for a defense contractor to knowingly supply faulty weaponry is tantamount to aiding and abetting the enemy. Jail time is due the management in charge, and they should consider themselves fortunate if the death penalty is not imposed. Our soldiers put their lives on the line every day – they should be able to do so with full faith in the equipment they are provided to carry out the mission we have charged them with. Similarly our police and protective agencies also risk their lives in service to us, and have every right to reliable equipment. Is there no oversight or testing of this equipment – we manage to do so for children's toys – why not soldier's weapons?

Melissa   November 17th, 2008 12:54 pm ET

Honestly wouldnt this be considered a type of "terrorism." They are being sold to US soldiers and FBI agents in the hopes of stopping illegal activities. Those people knew they were defective and they sold to our own. They should be prosecuted as the criminals they have shown to be. If they knew they were defective how could you sell them. Those 3 agents were there to save another life...the hostage..and in the end they were injured by an item that shouldve been able to help them get the hostage to safety. I know they have/had injuries, but I am glad they were able to live to say that!

Howard   November 17th, 2008 12:55 pm ET

Once again, shortcuts, greed, and self-serving interests know no bounds. Aside from the fact that there should be criminal prosecution, compensatory damages, bankruptcy and anything else that can be levied if legally appropriate, I'm once again not surprised that this type of issue surfaces. While there's many questions regarding accountability at all levels, methods to insure quality and consistsency of product, here's a question for those individuals charged: What would they be thinking if the organizations and individuals that received the defective grenades had to respond to a personal matter of their own to relieve or save loved ones only to find out that the grenades didn't work properly and/or inflicted damage on those that were charged with protecting them?

Steve from Tn   November 17th, 2008 12:57 pm ET

Sign of the times. Shrub said "you are with us or against us". No doubt which side this company supports, their pocket book. Similar to Halliburton., RBK, Blackhawk, and all the other war profiteers. Due process and then hang 'em high !

steve Ellis   November 17th, 2008 12:59 pm ET

These folks should be taken down and put away. Unbelievable.

LEO Friend   November 17th, 2008 12:59 pm ET

String 'em up!
Shame! Schande!
This is like that theatrical play based on defective armaments manufactured and sold for World War II military use, that the manufacturers knew were defective and would explode, or would not work when our brave soldiers needed the weapons to work properly.

I say this is TREASON!
PSI mouthpiece lawyer liar says they don't know specifics of what the Govt. says they did wrong? HAH! They knew full well what they did wrong!

String 'em up!

Doug   November 17th, 2008 1:01 pm ET

PSI has had an accidental exposion on their site. There is a story about one in 2006 in the link below:

The land that PSI occupies used to me a Nike missile base in the 50s and 60s. The link below shows the history.

I used to work in the area and always wondered what PSI did. The allegations against them are shameful.

Other strange trivia about the area is that the Atlanta Pop Festival, the Woodstock of the South, took place in 1970 about 2 miles away from the PSI site.



Rebecca Negron   November 17th, 2008 1:01 pm ET

If this report is true, the people involved in the production and sale of this product should be charged with treason. This is betrayal of the public trust in its worst form.

We have had too many instances of greed being of greater import than the safety and well-being of Americans, as in the Haliburton stealing of $100 million for meals never delivered to American troops.

Our legislators need to find the courage to confront these issues, assign blame and deal out punishment. If they cannot take action, we need new legislators.

Treason is a serious crime.

Lon   November 17th, 2008 1:02 pm ET

As has been stated, this is NOT a new problem. But, why is it that no one notices when it is a child or protester or other civilian is the one hurt or even killed by these "non-lethal weapons"? Why do get a news story only after federal agents are injured? My faith in corporate news and law enforcement agencies is quickly dying. It is the law enforcement agencies who have been covering up these incidents for years and the corporate media who have been too cowardly to find the truth.

James Klimaski   November 17th, 2008 1:04 pm ET

Unlike the three FBI agents, it is doubtful SGT Wagner can sue the company.

John   November 17th, 2008 1:07 pm ET

This is so wrong, so outrageous. The lives of these agents are forever impacted. I've tried to understand what causes significant numbers of business leaders to lose any sense of integrity and ethics toward both their subordinates and their customers. For example, scholars from the field of organizational psychodynamics have proposed theories about the concentration of narcissism up the corporate ladder. Whatever the cause, it needs to be fixed–our society depends on a level of integrity in business dictated by common decency and humanity.

Suzy   November 17th, 2008 1:08 pm ET

It seems to always come down to greed. These guys should be locked up in jail!

jan from Toronto Canada   November 17th, 2008 1:12 pm ET

they should have the three agents doing the handcuffing of the Company execs. Then a few moments alone with them.

Beth   November 17th, 2008 1:14 pm ET

They are traitors and should not be provided any protection by the FBI, Military or Law Enforcement ever again.

Sue Baeta   November 17th, 2008 1:14 pm ET

Seems no great surprise that this incident was hidden in moth balls while the agent suffered. The only reason we hear about it now is because it's gone to court. Otherwise it would remain buried. The Powers that be; don't want any word out that "they" allowed faulty equipment into the hands of their FBI employees, anymore than the Armed forces wish to release their blunders, which kill or maim our fighting men. That being said, take it a step further- these same flash bang grenades are in the hands of Corrections Officers in United States Prisons, used in riot or inmate fighting intervention, how many deaf and maimed or killed inmates are there, due to mechanisim failure, going off while men are already contained- laying on the floor already and then the grenade goes off right next to someones head. Or how many injured guards? No surprise we don't hear about these things it's always hushed up, not to cause suspicion and trace down the money trail to who was bribed to accept faulty weaponry. Stun guns, rubber bullets and the Co2 load propelling them–poor quality means injury and death. These incidents should always be exposed quickly so the trail has an immediate spotlight on it, not grown cold and put on a shelf not to disturb those responcible to insure the safety of the men using those defective purchases.Someone should check into the least cared about population, their still human beings, prisonors and the restraint aparatus and anti riot equiptment used on them.

RHT   November 17th, 2008 1:14 pm ET

These people from the great state of Georgia (a McCain stronghold) should be tried as war profiteers and then summarily shot.

Capitalism run-amuck, again – seems to be a thread that has run thru the last 8 years of the Cheney-Bush disaster.

Thank God these guys lived.

I can only imagine how many troops have died from similar greedy war profiteers.

Cindy (TX)   November 17th, 2008 1:17 pm ET

I agree with others who say, if found guilty, this should be treated like treason. How is this different from aiding the enemy (foreign or domestic)? Some traitors trade government secrets to undermine our protection agencies...this one knowingly allowed defective, self-injurious weapons to be used by those same protection agencies. How is that NOT treason?

Jack   November 17th, 2008 1:21 pm ET

I would think that this company should be shut down permanently and ALL officers of the company in charge charged with treason.

It is beyond me the things people do to each other in the name of GREED.

Bill   November 17th, 2008 1:21 pm ET

Two things I would want to know:
1. Was the CEO of this company a Republican donor?
2. Was the contract under which these grenades were supplied a no-bid contract?

That would be interesting to know.

Dave   November 17th, 2008 1:24 pm ET

Not all facts are in, yet everyone is blasting PSI.
Do you think maybe the agent was playing with it while it dangled on his vest. Like got his finger in the pull ring and flinched? Now trying to cover up his screw up?
Let us pause and let the courts have their say, then we can sling poo to your hearts content.

John   November 17th, 2008 1:29 pm ET

While I sympathize with what has happened to these folks, one must also take into account that when one plays with dangerous toys such as these, at some point, someone IS going to get hurt. I'm certain when they toss these into rooms and buildings to flush "criminals" out, they're not too worried about what affects it may have on them. Much like someone riding a motorcycle gets hurt when a deer runs out in front of them. Things can and do happen. Not trying to say there isn't something goin on here, just putting a little perspective to it.

Betty - Virginia   November 17th, 2008 1:36 pm ET

Thank you for this story. This is one more example of what we citizens of the United States should expect from our fellow man in the future. Lack of personal ethics, patriotism, and personal pride, along with greed overshadowing everything else, produces the kind of results that the flash bang grenades did. You can train someone to perform a job but we must also rely on each other to take personal responsibility for what we do. That includes CEO's to the lowest paying job in the work force. There is not a job that isn't important. SHAME on the CEO of PSI and the other defendants when they say the charges against them are "vague and/or confusing". What is vague or confusing about someone losing their hand because of their faulty product (MSGT Dean Wagner)? What is vague and/or confusing about the physical injury to an FBI agent due to their faulty product? Does the CEO and other defendants mentioned even care that the individuals hurt in these two instances are working to preserve and protect our way of life in this country? I plead with the judges/jurors, whichever will decide their fate, to send more than a strong message that this will not be tolerated.

Ellen   November 17th, 2008 1:38 pm ET

Sadly, an old story. I refer you to Arthur Miller's play, "All My Sons" which explored a family tragedy where the father and an imprisoned business partner had knowlingly sold defective bombs to the Army during WWII.

Pat   November 17th, 2008 1:42 pm ET

One of the first things our current administration did (G.W.Bush) was to cut oversight and enforcement of safety in big companies for the sake of profits. Does anyone remember all of that in the news after Bush took office? Now you are starting to see the results and keep watching closely because over time you will see more of the same.

Yes it is criminal to place profit ahead of safety but the responsibility and criminal charges do not start out high enough. We need to place the blame and demand answers of those who are truly at fault and those who defend their actions.

Holly Widdowfield   November 17th, 2008 1:44 pm ET

Oh my God! How can these people sleep at night? They should be brought up on the most severe charges available & put in prison for a very long time as an example to others who would even think of doing such a thing! It is amazing to me how the greediness of so many people is ruining this country. Unfortunately, these are some of the same people who are proclaiming their "patriotism" and "christianity" while chastising those who don't follow their right-wing conservative political agenda. Boy, what a sad, sad state these people live in. Put them away!

Susan   November 17th, 2008 2:05 pm ET

This is not the first time we're hearing that defense contractors are selling inferior equipment to the military, or, for that matter, that the military is sending equipment to our soldiers that is of poor quality or just not up to the tasks it was manufactured for.

Selling such equipment to our armed forces engaged in a war knowing that it is defective should be considered treason. The company should be dismantled and the executives should be sent to prison (or Guantanamo Bay) just like any other traitor.

And those at the Pentagon who knowingly sent inferior equipment (like jeeps with insufficient armor should join them there.

Sandy   November 17th, 2008 2:19 pm ET

It is so sad to hear that U.S. citizens turn their backs on the United States and the people who are out there defending our country and puting their lives in danger. This country is already trying to deal with existing problems and we don't need to add any more to the list. These greedy people should be put away for a very long time.

COttawa   November 17th, 2008 2:19 pm ET

So, does this mean that the military and FBI regularly accept grenades, and other weapons or ammunitions, without actually knowing where they came from, how they were produced, effectiveness etc.
That is unacceptable. It's time to acknowlege that the "free market" does not do what it is supposed to. Competiton is supposed to force companies to produce better and better products at better and better prices. But since these companies are "free" they try to sell more and more for higher and higher prices, without concern for faulty products or causing harm. They have mastered the art, and we are still falling victim to it, because the guys at the top get away with it. In fact, we pay them when they screw up. The entire Democratic Free Market Principle the American Government preaches is just another means of control over it's people and subsequently the world's people. And they have mastered it.

Jimmy   November 17th, 2008 2:21 pm ET

These evil companies are exactly the kind of people that the
Obama administration will go after, or clean up. This is another
great report by Ms. Boudreau and I hope these reports catch
the attention of more and more "powerful" people.
In fact, I think she would be a great asset in the Obama
administration if she were to decide to go into politics. They
are looking for smart people with good ideas who can deliver ...
and it won't be politics as usual in this new administration so
maybe she will consider it ...
She can't go after every single company on her own but it
might be easier to start making that global "change" in America if
she would join the force.

john slay   November 17th, 2008 2:25 pm ET

Looks as if no one ius on the side of PSI .
Great – lets hope these greedy SOBs get prison time .
Maybe we could ship them to Afganistan and turn them over to
a group of terrorists - and let the professionals practise
a few torture methods on them .

James Bridges   November 17th, 2008 2:42 pm ET

Living in Texas as I do, and yes, by choice, I can only comment that these guys may be lucky they are not here as well. with the success of tort reform, they would be unlikely to gain anything from the courts that could adequately compensate for the pain and suffering at the hands of careless and uncaring merchants of death. It looks like we have folks kinda like the geniuses in China that put melamine in their childrens milk.

If we gotta have tort reform to limit the insurance companies payouts, then why not have an alternate method of compensation. How about a few years in the public iron bar hotel?

Mel   November 17th, 2008 2:45 pm ET

Arthur Miller's –All My Sons– deals with a dillemna just like this one.

I do not believe in an eye for an eye, but i do believe these injured men deserve some justice.

Tom   November 17th, 2008 2:54 pm ET

In this country, we pride ourselves on having the best trained military and law enforcement personel in the world. We also have a responsibility to provide them with the best duty equipment available. Incapacitating a valuable assett, such as soldiers and LE officers, due to faulty equipment is ridiculous. The fact that this firm has not been punished for supplying faulty explosives to our nations finest is disgusting.

Matt   November 17th, 2008 2:56 pm ET

I think there's more than a little irony here. This is a non-lethal weapon that barely trained cops toss into freshly-breached doors and windows – into rooms that can and often do contain innocent people.

When they do that they aren't terribly concerned for any hearing loss sustained by their victims. I have a hard time digging up any sympathy for these cop-wanna-be-soldiers.

Michael   November 17th, 2008 3:09 pm ET

If these guys are found guilty, they should throw the book at them. War profiteering is dangerous, dishonorable and criminal. And when you do it against your own people its horrific. Go after these guys... if its possible, maybe even revoke their citizenship.

On your second point, I've lived overseas for years and believe most American companies are honest and properly regulated... especially when you compare them to their foreign competition. Most developing countries do not have the sufficient infrastructure to self-regulate, and the workplace conditions and product quality show it. American-made goods are among the best in the world. This case isn't indicative of the safety of the system... don't use these idiots to indict or judge American companies.

phil   November 17th, 2008 3:49 pm ET

another company that wants to make money with faulty stuff that they can sell. When I need an explosive, I do NOT want it to blow up in my face.
Hope the book is thrown at them

ROY MIYAMOTO   November 17th, 2008 5:50 pm ET

The company's assets should be confiscated and those in charge should be sent away for long prison terms, along with paying $20 billion in fines or all the cash they have.

al   November 17th, 2008 6:37 pm ET

It sure sounds to me that everything here comes down to the almighty dollar. Come on..$3.72 to take care of the problem? It just shows what this world is coming down to. maybe if it happens to one of the people that know how to fix the problem they might look at it differently. Oh hell probably not. You know the old talks-bull.... walks. Lets just put our people in harms way and stuff our pockets with cash. Seems to be the american way these days when it comes down to business. Sad but true.

Joelle   November 17th, 2008 7:13 pm ET

If the FBI is investigating them for fraud, why are they still a supplier? This kind of insanity sounds like Mexico, not the U.S. I'm sure Obama will do nothing to fix this either. They need to go to jail and the tax payers should be reimbursed for the expensies they paid out to rehabilitate the officers.

Bryan   November 17th, 2008 7:52 pm ET

I am a retired Marine. I personaly had a flashbang detonate while I was doing training. It caused another flashbang to sympathethically detonate. The flashbangs were in a pouch suspended from my belt on the back of my gun belt. My uniform was literally shredded on my backside and my legs looked like they had a cheese grater ran over them. No one ever could give me an answer about what happended back then; now I think I know. I wasn't the only one in my unit to have this occur.

DNM   November 17th, 2008 8:49 pm ET

Our law enforcement and soldiers are among the best-trained in the world and if they felt there was a need to toss a flash-bang grenade into a room, then there was a need to toss one in. It's been my experience that the majority of people who hate our law officers and military and teach their brothers, sisters, and children to hate them are sociopaths at their core regardless how much they've learned to act like a human being on the outside. That said, I fear our government has grown so out-of-touch and bloated that nothing will happen to this company as a result. About the only thing that will hurt them is to see if your retirement or fund has any stock in them and encourage your broker to pull out. The stock holders are the only people American companies listen to anymore.

diana brest phoenix az   November 17th, 2008 9:16 pm ET

Just another cheap way of making products to the companies gain and
the people in charge to still get their big bonuses and salaries. It is
happening all over america and I am sick of it. I am tired of people
getting injured or killed because of cheap way of producing or
manufacturing products. Look what happened in China with the
toys and the drug heparin. I hope someone punishes this company and awards those that were injured. I think someone should check with
veterans there were many that were injured with these greanades and
does not know. I hope there will be a class action lawsuit.

I pray for the injured. Please continue this story.

Fred   November 17th, 2008 9:24 pm ET

Story omits critical details. What was the specific reason this grenade was rejected by the government? Military Equipment is regularly rejected for nonconformance to specification...may or may not have been related to possible uncommanded detonation. Also, what specific defect was the $3.72 per unit modification intended to cure? What is the track record for this for this type of failure event?

If the company knowingly supplied products with a significantly higher risk of uncommanded detonation...they should all be held personally accountable!...just can't 100% reach that conclusion from the information in the article.

Jeff   November 17th, 2008 9:37 pm ET


EM   November 17th, 2008 10:18 pm ET

$3.72 to save lives. This makes one shake one's head. So redolent of the 1970s Pinto fiasco - is it cheaper to fix a car, or cheaper to pay out the wrongful-death lawsuits resulting from that defective car?

Good for these FBI agents for coming out and expressing their anger at how PSI treated them. These men, in the FBI and the military, put themselves in harm's way each day so the rest of us can live comfortably. To provide them with defective tools - tools that they stake their lives on - that end up injuring or even killing them, is criminal. There is no other way of putting it; it is criminal.

And if PSI execs are found guilty, they are criminals. Not just guilty of fraud, but of depraved indifference to human life; tantamount to attempted manslaughter.

John   November 17th, 2008 11:21 pm ET

On the one hand these weapons had issues that the manufacturer knew about and refused to correct.

On the other hand the US Government knew this company had an issue with quality and still bought them. Furthermore, they knew they where going to be tossed at civilians, who the last time I checked, where innocent until proven guilty. Does this means our government says its ok to toss flash grenades that where made by a company known to make dangerously defective grenades, at innocent civilians?

Brian Keith fromGermany   November 18th, 2008 5:25 am ET

Being an ex soldier and working for a private contractor in Germany I have seen how the money gets spread around to the "GOOD OLD BOYS". These are people with contacts in govt.,usually White, from the Southern states, who are awarded military contracts worth Billions of dollars. But the actual work is performed by the lowest bidder, who even though with "only" a 10-20% profit is also satisfied. In America so much business is handled under the table.Mention the names BLACK WATER, ITT, Siemens, HALIBURTON (Vice Pres. Dick Chaney) HONEYWELL, the list could go on seemingly endlessly, and you get and indication of the number of companies getting rich off the "blind "American tax payer. Are we blind or ignorant? There has been no war in the 19th century where American "INITIATIVE" was not rewarded with after war profits. Korea, WWII, The Gulf War,Afghanistan War,or the Iraq War have helped make many very rich. Many workers doing menial jobs, ie Wheel mechanic,Painter, Bus driver, are paid 8-$10,000 a month!! Almost all our ex presidents (except maybe 'Tricky Dick" )have profited from their amt time. Bill Clinton, Cheney,and Bush Sr. are possibly the wealthiest of them all!! Yet there's no money to help the injured soldiers from these WARS!! Go Figure!!

ron   November 18th, 2008 5:51 am ET

Things like this are why I hate "Defence Contractors" - Having been one for less than a year, after being lured by a fancy salary and benefits, I left the military, and within a few short months was just aghast at the rip-offs and pure fraud - there is NOTHING that defence contractors do that the military - regardless of which branch - can't do themselves - when it comes to aircraft, tanks, stuff like that, ok - but software, and tactics, and defense strategy and the small arms (like Flashbangs) they can do themselves - the stuff people get rich on, and then when it doesn't work, they try to sell it to others??? (like the FBI) - sell it to the taliban, maybe that would be the best solution – and then bad equipment wouldn't hurt Americans

Larry- Colorado   November 20th, 2008 2:44 pm ET

35+ years in Law Enforcement and nothing surprises me. The purchasing systems are often controlled by numbers crunchers. They frequently don't know a flash bang from a rope. As for the respondent who brought up the Branch Dividian- I have known several people who were there. They were all ethical and moral people who (ironically) ambushed by a nut and his followers. I have been on similar operations where the results were zero injuries and zero deaths. These results are dictated by the subjects of the operations. Next question!

virginiastewart   November 23rd, 2008 11:11 am ET

I would like to think that "Made in the USA" stood for quality and soundness of construction. HOWEVER--that is no more true than "Made in China" means the same thing. It is all a matter of making money-illegally, shoddily, dangerously, whatever! Is it any worse than adding melamine to food stuffs and importing them because they are cheap? No sir!!! Junk is junk! Witness the big 3 auto makers asking for bailouts because they make POS cars. I grow weak.....

nighthawksoars   November 23rd, 2008 4:53 pm ET

The FBI is surprised that an American company would allow greed to trump patriotism? Wow, talk about naive!!

willie b.   November 30th, 2008 3:12 pm ET

Interesting, pathetic, incompetent. These are just a few words that come to mind from our overpaid managers who are supposed to oversee the equipment enforcement officers use.
The solution would be to fire the entire chain of command involved in the handling of the stun grenades. Jail sentences should be handed out next.

Willie b

juris speak   December 7th, 2008 1:40 pm ET

Abbie, please stop composing provocative,yet, sanctimonious prose.
At the threshold, Abbie, again, you misjudged your facts and the law.
Foremost, any defendant is "innocent until proven guilty" or did you forget that.
The prosecutor MUST PROVE EACH AND EVERY ELEMENT OF THE CRIME CHARGED BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT. ABOVE ALL, a crime has two elements, a mental aspect and a physical aspect. Or did you, moreover, have a lapse in memory as well.
You mentioned that there was an indictment-so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
An indictment from a grand jury is just that-an indictment- a charging document and nothing more, Abbie, convictions are not AUTOMATIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
A jury cannot convict bsed upon innuendo, false facts, an indictment or emotion only the law.
While a barrister or lawyer employed in the U.S. Attorney's office is
compensated for their creative cognition to locate obsure statutres and prosecute cases pursuant to those obsure statutes, it is role of a judge as rule on the fairness or JUSTICE of a case.
As it is the responsibility of the "venireman" or jurors to wiegh the exact nature, credibility, viablity and legality of the evidence and ascertain whether the defendant is guilty or innocent.

When I was enrolled and completed "Mass Communication" and "Ethices for Journalists" courses , while in college, my professors ALWAYS SCOLDED AND LECTURED HIS STUDENTS WITH THE EDICT-NEVER JUDGE ONLY WRITE-BUT WRITE FAIRLY AND OBJECTIVELY.

Perhaps, Abbie, you need to heed such immortal advice.
Besides, the defense counsel may or may not defend the case and if the defense does defend the defense has a absolute right to challenge any and all proof and the evidence for that proof.
Or, Abbie, did you forget that too?!!!!!!!!!!!

Maybe what is necessary for you is for you to enroll or re-enroll in courses such as the U.S. Constitution, Criminal Law and Procedure, even an Evidence class would be indispensable to "illuminate" the murkiness and ignorance that you possess.

The evidence that the "flash bang grenades" exploded could be traced to a variety of etiology- unusual temperatures, contact with the substances that should not be near them or even improper placement, such as placing a grenade in one's lap. I WOULD suspect that members of the law enforcement community INCLUDING FBI AGENTS HAVE BEEN INSTRUCTED IN THE PROPER NOT IMPROPER HANDLING OF A GRENADE OR ANY OTHER TYPE OF device, machinery, armament, firearm, or vehicle that is capable of causing harm to themselves or to others.
Abbie, did you even contemplate that prior to writing what you composed?????????? Or did these injured agents( or were they truly injured within the course and scope of their positions?) miss that course as well???????????
Besides, a member of law enforcement as would a member of the surrounding community, such as innnocent bystanders have been either injured or killed when a "flash band grenade " exploded under the "right circumstances and conditions."
Obviously, a "flash bang grenade" is a DANGEROUS device and must be manufactured and UTILIZED PROPERLY.
However, Abbie, the human organism is prone and has a suseptibility to pecadillos.
Consider, too, Abbie, that law enforcement, even individual agents of the FBI have been sued civilly for violating the civil and constitutional rights of defendants as well as innocent bystanders even when firearms or "flash bang grenades" have been used.

Finally, Abbie, civil lawsuits have s divergent and different standard of proof-"preponderance of the evidence"
A plaintiff -a person who brings a lawsuit- even an FBI agent-still must prove that the defendant is liable for the injuries.

That can be and is a GINORMOUS UNDERTAKING.

Have a nice day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Joel   December 14th, 2008 12:27 pm ET

All the discussion here seems to be focused on the obviously criminal activities of the flashbang provider. While there was unquestionably wrongdoing on their part, I find it sickeningly ironic that the injured agents receive nothing but sympathy and compassion, while on the other hand they are more than happy to wantonly toss these clearly dangerous (by their own admissions) devices into confined spaces quite possibly inhabited by innocent women & children (in addition to violent criminals). I would be much more receptive to the case against the manufacturer (who at least hoped the devices would not go off prematurely) if every agent who has ever used such a device against a room of unknown content were to turn him or herself in to authorities and plead guilty to assault & reckless endangerment, and serve their time in prison.

Jared   January 26th, 2009 11:13 pm ET

Hey Geniuses,

You all talk about the seven deadly sins and treason. Also have you ever heard of the government pointing the finger at someone to cover up thier screwup? See the Duke lacross case.

Debbie perhaps forgot that wrath / anger is another of the deadly sins.

I am saddened by your mob mentality. You point to the courts as your agent of violence. It's as if you expect justice to come with blood.

This reporter has not spelled out any facts in the actual case, only what is alleged.

If you want a draconian system of law, fine. I'll expect each of you to be imprisioned for the next mail box you wreck when chatting on your cell-phone or the next time you pour grease down the drain or smoke in public. Afterall there is a war on (it's not offically a war you know) and you would be poisining Americans.

Mike   November 19th, 2009 11:12 am ET

There is a simple solution to this problem: make the CEO and the CFO wear one of these babies.

eric   December 11th, 2009 4:57 am ET

Wow, this is ridiculous. So now there is something wrong with flash bangs because of some FBI agents had to take one up close? Man, America is so completely screwed off its rocker. Who cares what they do to people, do you know who we typically use these things on??? Criminals, terrorists, wanted felons, murderers, rapists, drug lords, and any other people who break the law and ask to be put in their situations. In my opinion it should either be a real grenade or a rubber ball filled claymore being thrown into the room. Im sorry agents that you had to take a flash bang head on but that doesnt mean something was wrong with it or you should sue the company for injury. Ask yourelf this; If that flash bang hadn't gone off and you would have used it in an operation and it was faulty and the criminal or whoever you were flashing had taken that flash bang in the face and then compained about hearing loss and loss of vision.... would anyone have said anything or even cared at all what that person said?? I dont think so. So quit whining and man up.

jim   May 26th, 2010 12:57 pm ET

How about wait until the trial is over? Innocent until proven guilty?????

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