The Project On Government Oversight – 2008-09-17 22:48:11
POGO Asks Air Force to Hold Officials Accountable for Security Breach
(September 4, 2008) — In a letter sent yesterday to General C. Robert Kehler at US Strategic Command, POGO asked the Air Force to accept responsibility for misleading the public about a serious security breach at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota .
As reported last week by CNN and the Washington Post, two Air Force officers at Minot are under investigation for removing classified nuclear missile components from the base.
Both officers signed a document stating that they had destroyed the Band-Aid-sized launch code devices, but, for reasons that are unclear, they kept the components and took them home. An Air Force spokeswoman admitted that one of the devices is still missing.
POGO received a tip about this security breach a few months ago. But when reporters called the Air Force for more information based on POGO’s tip, Air Force public affairs officials copped to a different, less serious incident in which officers were caught sleeping at a missile alert facility.
Even when the Air Force finally admitted to the truth, they waited until the Thursday before Labor Day to break the news—a time-honored Washington tradition for burying a bad story.
Due to ongoing concerns about this serious security breach and the secretive manner in which it was handled, POGO is calling on General Kehler to hold the appropriate Air Force officials accountable.
Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is an independent nonprofit that investigates and exposes corruption and other misconduct in order to achieve a more accountable federal government.
Update on Nuke Insecurity at Minot
CNN reported today on a serious security incident at Minot Air Force Base: Two officers are under investigation for lying about destroying classified missile components…
A crew member formerly from the 91st Missile Wing told the military last May that he and another officer formerly assigned to the wing didn’t tell the truth about destroying classified launch devices in July 2005…
The Washington Post also ran a story on the two officers, who took home classified components for underground launch control centers — a breach that is troubling not only for its national security implications, but also for the secretive way in which it was handled.
Last month, POGO received a tip about the launch device incident. But when reporters called for information, the Air Force denied knowing anything about it. Now we see that the Air Force was not being entirely honest.
Instead of admitting to the investigation, the Air Force pulled a bait and switch, telling reporters about another, less serious, security breach in which officers were caught sleeping at a missile alert facility.
It turns out that the Air Force was also investigating the launch device incident, and that our source had accurately described the nature of that ongoing investigation. We now know that the launch device incident happened in 2005, but that the investigation into the matter is only now being reported.
We know it’s the Friday before Labor Day, but we are still waiting for someone in Air Force Public Affairs to apologize for misleading POGO and more than half a dozen reporters who were investigating a serious allegation of nuclear insecurity.
On the other hand, we understand that it may be hard for the Air Force to keep track of the long string of incidents involving its protection of nuclear weapons.
— Ingrid Drake
August 29, 2008 in Homeland Security, Nuclear Security |
• TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Update on Nuke Insecurity at Minot:
Although it is premature to jump into conclusions regarding motives of the officers who brought these components off the base and to their homes. However, there are more than enough violations of procedures to distinguish that something is seriously wrong with the whole security structure.
How two officers can walk or drive off base with these launch components without being stopped by “double up” security checks. Then according what pr officer stated that they had signed off on documents as a confirmation to destroy these components. That is impossible to believe.
These are components to the most powerful weapons on the planet and all these “security flaws” happening at nuclear weapons facilities all across the country is credibly suspicious given Sibel Edmonds accusations of the neocons and other dirty crooks apparently selling nuclear technology to enemies. There are just too many profound flaws and hard to believe that there is so much incompetence in security at these facilities.
When some extremists actually decide to blow up someplace in the US or elsewhere with a nuclear weapon it would seem that they dont have to buy this stuff just go to the nearest nuke shop in the US and help themselves. We once took pride in out beating the Russians in many things but nuke security flaws should not be one of them.
• Contact: Marthena Cowart or Peter Stockton (202) 347-1122