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The Pentagon plans to sell up to 4,000 sets of high-tech night vision goggles to Iraq, despite U.S. government audits showing the deal could leave a critical U.S. military asset vulnerable to theft or diversion to insurgents, USA Today reported Tuesday.

The goggles are part of a major, $1.4 billion proposed sale of weapons and other military gear for Iraqi forces, which have been faulted along with their Pentagon supervisors for being unable to account for thousands of firearms and other battlefield equipment provided by the United States, the newspaper noted.

The sale also would send Humvees, rifles, grenade launchers and cargo trucks to Iraq, which has become a leading foreign buyer of U.S. weaponry, USA Today wrote.

The night-vision goggles, which have capabilities far beyond commercial versions, are particularly sensitive, according to USA Today, because they give troops such an advantage that the military often launches its most dangerous missions after dark.

"The night-vision goggles are an absolute treasure — it’s imperative that not one set gets into the wrong hands," Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., top Republican on the House oversight subcommittee on national security and foreign affairs, told the paper.

The Iraqis need the goggles to become a capable force in nighttime operations and take over security duties, Shays said, but "we have to have a real sense of confidence that they can keep track of them. … We haven’t done a good job of keeping track in the past, so we need to learn those lessons."

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