Cheating, Gambling, Ecstasy, Drunken Benders and Other (Kinda WTF) Nuclear Scandals

Abby Zimet

Just in case you weren't worried enough: In what is believed to be the largest screw-up in the nuclear program, the Air Force has suspended at least 34 nuclear missile launch officers at Montana's Malmstrom Air Force Base caught cheating on a monthly proficiency test - a breach discovered during a separate investigation into a drug ring (Ecstasy and Spice) that has implicated 11 nuclear officers on six bases, with, inevitably, some overlap between the cheaters and the dopers. Last summer, Malmstrom also failed a key safety inspection, which it later passed, shortly after two crew members were disciplined for leaving a door at the secure facility ajar. That was a couple of months before the Navy demoted Vice Admiral Tim Giardina, the deputy commander of all U.S. nuclear forces, for reportedly using a “significant monetary amount” of counterfeit gambling chips at an Iowa casino. That came a couple of days before the Air Force fired Major General Michael Carey, senior commander of all three wings of the U.S. nuclear forces - in charge of 9,600 people and 450 nuclear missiles - due to a “loss of trust and confidence” in the good general, who according to a 42-page report following a scandalous July 2013 trip to Moscow, spent most of his time consorting with suspect hot women or so drunk he couldn't stand up. Still, it's all good. The Air Force says it is "relatively confident" the cheating ring didn't extend beyond the 34, except there may be 37, with another 17 who knew about it but didn't report it, and another 200 who had their certifications yanked just in case and will have to retake the test, but now their behavior has been deemed “absolutely unacceptable" in a program with the capacity to wipe out civilization, such as it is, that's expected to cost upwards of $355 billion during the next decade. But it's all good.

"Very importantly, I want you to know that this was a failure of some of our airmen. It was not a failure of the nuclear mission.”



































Never Miss a Beat.

Get our best delivered to your inbox.



































Our pandemic coverage is free to all. As is all of our reporting.

No paywalls. No advertising. No corporate sponsors. Since the coronavirus pandemic broke out, traffic to the Common Dreams website has gone through the roof— at times overwhelming and crashing our servers. Common Dreams is a news outlet for everyone and that’s why we have never made our readers pay for the news and never will. But if you can, please support our essential reporting today. Without Your Support We Won't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

Share This Article

More in: