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“It would have been a more balanced report if the GAO had highlighted the many legitimate commercial uses these items have,” he said. “This is important because, in my experience, most manufacturers are not trying to equip U.S. adversaries or turn a blind eye to illicit procurement efforts.”

A spokesman for the Justice Department’s National Security Division, Dean Boyd, said that since October 2007, the U.S. government has created 20 counterproliferation task forces to look at the issue.

Mr. Stupak said, however, that “no one is really taking responsibility” in the U.S. government for dealing with the problem.

The National Security Council, the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security have declined comment on the GAO report.

Matthew Borman, acting assistant secretary of commerce for export administration, said, “We are currently reviewing the findings in the GAO report, and we are always looking for ways to improve interagency cooperation. We know an effective export-control system requires a combination of domestic and international activities to educate parties on their export-control responsibilities, proactive compliance efforts and the conduct of enforcement investigations. We are committed to protecting U.S. national security, foreign-policy and economic interests by ensuring secure trade in high-technology items.”