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Ollie North: hero, patriot…scientist? North has patents on three inventions: the Lightweight Ballistic Protective Device (a bulletproof vest), the Removable Ballistic Resistant Armor Seat Cover and Floor Mat, and the Ballistic Shield (demonstrated, in the patent application illustration, by a ringer for George Bush). These protective devices received patent approval in 1994-95, and North’s company, Guardian Technologies International of Dulles, Va., now sells them to both individuals and government agencies, touting itself as “The Life-Saving Company.” Lifesaving, maybe–money losing, definitely.

North took the company public in 1996, hoping investors would provide a boost. They didn’t. By April of this year, corporate records show that North’s salary had been slashed from $113,740 to $16,014. Although the company announced a “200 percent increase in first-quarter revenues” in May, a closer look shows that it still ran a net loss of more than $160,000 for the quarter.

The deal most responsible for keeping Guardian afloat is a contract from the General Services Administration for body armor and restraining equipment. And how would fans of the retired lieutenant colonel, who frequently lambastes “big-government bureaucrats,” feel about his relying on Uncle Sam to keep his company going? North was unavailable for comment.

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Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

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