SP Scientific was cited by the US. Dept. of Commerce in 2021 for multiple violations of ITAR and EAR export control regulations, and has subsequently paid $80,000 in order to settle case. Despite this, the company continues to hold ISO 9001 certification issued by the ANAB accredited certification body SRI.

SRI first issued the certifiatoin to SP Scientific’s Warminster PA location in 2012, and has updated the certification every year since that time. Therefore, the export violations were underway even as SRI was allegedly performing routine audits to re-confirm SP Scientific’s compliance to ISO 9001.

ISO 9001 requires that companies review statutory and regulatory requirements before agreeing to take on work, and maintain records of that review. By certifying SP Scientific, SRI is attesting that the company complied with those requirements.

Whiel it is possible that SRI auditors simply overlooked the applicable ISO 9001 clause, or that SP Scientific actively worked to hide the violations from SRI, it does not explain how SRI continues to certify the company after the publication of the Federal government’s charging letter.

SP Scientific’s website only had prior certificates, showing the history of SRI’s involvement, but did not have a current certificate. Oxebridge founder Christopher Paris reached out to SRI to verify their current certification, which SRI initially refused to do. SRI representative Heather Skundrich wrote, “You must contact the company in question for a copy of the current certificate then you can use SRI’s validation tool to check the status.”

ISO 17021-1, for which SRI is accredited, requires the certification body to verify certification status upon request. the strict reading of ISO 17021-1 makes doing so impossible. When Paris repeated his request, citing the exact clause of ISO 17021-1, Skundrich responded by providing a link to the webpage of SP Industries, SP Scientific’s parent company. That page included the most recent certificates issued by SRI.

It is not clear why SRI was not able to find the certificate in their own database, as required by ISO 17021-1. The conflict shows the difficulties that arise when members of the public attempt to verify ISO 9001 certificates. ISO 17021-1 was rewritten to dilute requirements for public directories, upon pressure by CBs, who do not want their certificates easily verified.

SRI has been asked to comment on why SP Scientific remains certified despite the public domain information revealing the ITAR violations.

ANAB’s Lori Gillespie, who is also Vice-Chair of the IAF, has also been copied on the matter. The certificates issued by SP Scientific include the ANAB logo.

In 2016, an SRI auditor threatened to sue both Oxebridge and its client for “defamation,” after filing a formal complaint against the auditor’s behavior. ANAB took no action in that case. No lawsuit was ever filed.

Both ANAB and the IAF have refused to enforce accreditation rules, allowing companies to violate ITAR without any risk to ISO certification.

Mason Electric Co. of Sylmar CA was cited with 40 ITAR violations, while it held AS9100 certification issued by Perry Johnson Registrars. It now holds certification from DNV-GL.

CMC Electronics Aurora of Sugar Grove IL was cited with 49 ITAR violations, while it held AS9100 certification by BSI.

Kirkhill Inc. (then Kikhill-TA) of Brea CA was cited with only a handful of violations, but these triggered a criminal investigation. The criminal investigation was later dropped, but new violations were discovered shortly thereafter. Throughout this period, Kirkhill held AS9100 certification by NSF-ISR.

Korry Electronics of Everett WA was cited with 179 separate ITAR violations and a criminal investigation, while holding AS9100 certification issued by DNV-GL.

Leach International North America of Buena Park CA was cited with 6 ITAR violations and holds AS9100 certification from DNV-GL, as well.

Esterline Hytek (formerly Hytek Finishes Co.) of Kent WA was cited with 6 ITAR violations with AS9100 certification issued by TUV USA (part of TUV Nord.)

FLIR Surveillance paid $30M in civil penalties related to ITAR violations, all while holding AS9100 certification from UL, LRQA, and DQS.

 

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Why we report on these topics

Since 2000, Oxebridge has worked to improve ISO and related certification schemes by identifying problems and then proposing solutions. We report on issues affecting standards users because so few other news outlets do. Our belief is that in order to fix the problems in these schemes, we must first understand the nature and breadth of those problems. Our reporting aims to do just that. Elsewhere on the Oxebridge site you will find White Papers and other articles proposing ideas to correct these problems.

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