The General Intelligence directorate
General Intelligence directorate offices near the Baqa'a refugee camp, north of Amman in Jordan, on 6 June 2016. Reuters

CIA weapons sent to Jordan and intended for Syrian rebel fighters were sold on the black market by Jordanian intelligence officials to buy new cars and expensive mobile phones. US and Jordanian officials told the New York Times that officers in the Middle Eastern kingdom's General Intelligence Directorate reaped huge returns on the trade, selling arms to black-market dealers.

They said the proceeds from the weapons, which included AK47s, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades, went towards mostly luxury items including SUVs and iPhones. In total, the theft amounted to millions of dollars.

It is also understood by the FBI that weapons bought and paid for by the CIA and Saudi Arabia were used in an attack on police training facility in November 2015, which left two Americans and three others dead.

The Jordanian government has denied allegations of any wrongdoing by its intelligence officials. Mohammad H al-Momani, Jordan's minister of state for media affairs, dismissed the accusations as "absolutely incorrect".

However, a senior aide to a number of Jordan's previous prime ministers, Husam Abdallat, told the New York Times there were some corrupt GID officials but said the whole institution could not be considered corrupt. "The majority of its officers are patriotic and proud Jordanians who are the country's first line of defense," he was quoted as saying.

Officers involved in the scheme sold the weapons at several arms markets in Jordan including at the main markets of Ma'an, Sahab and the Jordan Valley.

How far into the GID the scheme went is unclear. General Faisal al-Shoubaki, the current head of the organisation, may not have had knowledge of it but senior officers appear to have covered for lower ranking members.

The funneling of weapons away from rebels in Syria is yet another embarrassment for the US, which has seen its effort to arms and train a viable, moderate opposition in the war-torn country dogged by setbacks.

The pentagon had to shut down its programme to train rebels to fight Islamic State (Isis) after only a small managed to pass through and with most killed or captured by the militant group.