Sunday, September 23, 2007

No press interest anticipated

The WaPo brings out one of its big guns, Walter Pincus, to tell in more detail the story of the nuclear warheads inadvertently shipped from Minot Air Force Base in N. Dakota to Barksdale AF Base in Louisiana.

The nukes were attached to cruise missiles, that is how they are stored evidently, and the missiles, six of the them, were attached under the wing of a B-52 for the flight. There were twelve missiles in all loaded on the plane, six had nukes, six didn't.

Rumsfeld had ordered that the AGM-129s (missiles used only for nukes) were to be decommissioned back in the fall of 2006, 200 have been decommissioned up to now.

The article's main narrative was sourced to unnamed officials. Interestingly, the article does not mention that a new, outside investigation has just been ordered by Gates. That news has been on the wire services for the last few days, but gotten almost no play.

What the article makes clear is that six nuclear warheads were out of the security apparatus for more than 36 hours.

The Air Force had no intention of disclosing this story to the public, and supposedly thought that if it did there would be no public concern. The AF report on the matter states:
"No press interest anticipated."
And they were mostly right. There has been very little press interest. If the story hadn't been leaked by service members to the Military Times, there would have been no coverage at all.

Some additional questions I would like answered:
1. 200 missiles have already been decommissioned, could this have happened before?
2. Why were missiles with live warheads stored in Minot in the same bunker as missiles with dummy warheads? Who gave those orders, and when?
3. Have we run a complete inventory? Do we know where all the nukes are?

UPDATE: Larry Johnson says it's all hooey.


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