2. Steal, buy or otherwise acquire a ready-made nuclear weapon; or take over a nuclear-armed submarine, plane or base.
3. Attack a nuclear reactor or waste fuel cooling pond.
4. Disrupt critical inputs for the safe running of a nuclear reactor e.g. water supply for cooling, electrical power supply.
5. Attack or steal nuclear fuel or waste containers, most likely in transit.
6. Make and detonate a radiological weapon, or "dirty bomb", to spread radioactive material
Date: September 23, 2007
Source: Washington Post
Abstract: Just after 9 a.m. on Aug. 29, a group of U.S. airmen entered a sod-covered bunker on North Dakota's Minot Air Force Base with orders to collect a set of unarmed cruise missiles bound for a weapons graveyard. They quickly pulled out a dozen cylinders, all of which appeared identical from a cursory glance, and hauled them along Bomber Boulevard to a waiting B-52 bomber.
The airmen attached the gray missiles to the plane's wings, six on each side. After eyeballing the missiles on the right side, a flight officer signed a manifest that listed a dozen unarmed AGM-129 missiles. The officer did not notice that the six on the left contained nuclear warheads, each with the destructive power of up to 10 Hiroshima bombs.
That detail would escape notice for an astounding 36 hours, during which the missiles were flown across the country to a Louisiana air base that had no idea nuclear warheads were coming. It was the first known flight by a nuclear-armed bomber over U.S. airspace, without special high-level authorization, in nearly 40 years.
The episode, serious enough to trigger a rare "Bent Spear" nuclear incident report that raced through the chain of command to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and President Bush, provoked new questions inside and outside the Pentagon about the adequacy of U.S. nuclear weapons safeguards while the military's attention and resources are devoted to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Three weeks after word of the incident leaked to the public, new details obtained by The Washington Post point to security failures at multiple levels in North Dakota and Louisiana, according to interviews with current and former U.S. officials briefed on the initial results of an Air Force investigation of the incident.
The warheads were attached to the plane in Minot without special guard for more than 15 hours, and they remained on the plane in Louisiana for nearly nine hours more before being discovered. In total, the warheads slipped from the Air Force's nuclear safety net for more than a day without anyone's knowledge.
"I have been in the nuclear business since 1966 and am not aware of any incident more disturbing," retired Air Force Gen. Eugene Habiger, who served as U.S. Strategic Command chief from 1996 to 1998, said in an interview.
A simple error in a missile storage room led to missteps at every turn, as ground crews failed to notice the warheads, and as security teams and flight crew members failed to provide adequate oversight and check the cargo thoroughly. An elaborate nuclear safeguard system, nurtured during the Cold War and infused with rigorous accounting and command procedures, was utterly debased, the investigation's early results show.
The incident came on the heels of multiple warnings -- some of which went to the highest levels of the Bush administration, including the National Security Council -- of security problems at Air Force installations where nuclear weapons are kept. The risks are not that warheads might be accidentally detonated, but that sloppy procedures could leave room for theft or damage to a warhead, disseminating its toxic nuclear materials.
A former National Security Council staff member with detailed knowledge described the event as something that people in the White House "have been assured never could happen." What occurred on Aug. 29-30, the former official said, was "a breakdown at a number of levels involving flight crew, munitions, storage and tracking procedures -- faults that never were to line up on a single day."
Missteps in the Bunker
The air base where the incident took place is one of the most remote and, for much of the year, coldest military posts in the continental United States. Veterans of Minot typically describe their assignments by counting the winters passed in the flat, treeless region where January temperatures sometimes reach 30 below zero. In airman-speak, a three-year assignment becomes "three winters" at Minot.
The daily routine for many of Minot's crews is a cycle of scheduled maintenance for the base's 35 aging B-52H Stratofortress bombers -- mammoth, eight-engine workhorses, the newest of which left the assembly line more than 45 years ago. Workers also tend to 150 intercontinental ballistic missiles kept at the ready in silos scattered across neighboring cornfields, as well as hundreds of smaller nuclear bombs, warheads and vehicles stored in sod-covered bunkers called igloos.
"We had a continuous workload in maintaining" warheads, said Scott Vest, a former Air Force captain who spent time in Minot's bunkers in the 1990s. "We had a stockpile of more than 400 . . . and some of them were always coming due" for service.
Among the many weapons and airframes, the AGM-129 cruise missile was well known at the base as a nuclear warhead delivery system carried by B-52s. With its unique shape and design, it is easily distinguished from the older AGM-86, which can be fitted with either a nuclear or a conventional warhead.
Last fall, after 17 years in the U.S. arsenal, the Air Force's more than 400 AGM-129s were ordered into retirement by then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. Minot was told to begin shipping out the unarmed missiles in small groups to Barksdale Air Force Base near Shreveport, La., for storage. By Aug. 29, its crews had already sent more than 200 missiles to Barksdale and knew the drill by heart.
The Air Force's account of what happened that day and the next was provided by multiple sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the government's investigation is continuing and classified.
At 9:12 a.m. local time on Aug. 29, according to the account, ground crews in two trucks entered a gated compound at Minot known as the Weapons Storage Area and drove to an igloo where the cruise missiles were stored. The 21-foot missiles were already mounted on pylons, six apiece in clusters of three, for quick mounting to the wings of a B-52.
The AGM-129 is designed to carry silver W-80-1 nuclear warheads, which have a variable yield of between 5 and 150 kilotons. (A kiloton is equal to the explosive force of 1,000 tons of TNT.) The warheads were meant to have been removed from the missiles before shipment. In their place, crews were supposed to insert metal dummies of the same size and weight, but a different color, so the missiles could still be properly attached under the bomber's wings.
A munitions custodian officer is supposed to keep track of the nuclear warheads. In the case of cruise missiles, a stamp-size window on the missile's frame allows workers to peer inside to check whether the warheads within are silver. In many cases, a red ribbon or marker attached to the missile serves as an additional warning. Finally, before the missiles are moved, two-man teams are supposed to look at check sheets, bar codes and serial numbers denoting whether the missiles are armed.
Why the warheads were not noticed in this case is not publicly known. But once the missiles were certified as unarmed, a requirement for unique security precautions when nuclear warheads are moved -- such as the presence of specially armed security police, the approval of a senior base commander and a special tracking system -- evaporated.
The trucks hauled the missile pylons from the bunker into the bustle of normal air base traffic, onto Bomber Boulevard and M Street, before turning onto a tarmac apron where the missiles were loaded onto the B-52. The loading took eight hours because of unusual trouble attaching the pylon on the right side of the plane -- the one with the dummy warheads.
By 5:12 p.m., the B-52 was fully loaded. The plane then sat on the tarmac overnight without special guards, protected for 15 hours by only the base's exterior chain-link fence and roving security patrols.
Air Force rules required members of the jet's flight crew to examine all of the missiles and warheads before the plane took off. But in this instance, just one person examined only the six unarmed missiles and inexplicably skipped the armed missiles on the left, according to officials familiar with the probe.
"If they're not expecting a live warhead it may be a very casual thing -- there's no need to set up the security system and play the whole nuclear game," said Vest, the former Minot airman. "As for the air crew, they're bus drivers at this point, as far as they know."The plane, which had flown to Minot for the mission and was not certified to carry nuclear weapons, departed the next morning for Louisiana. When the bomber landed at Barksdale at 11:23 a.m., the air crew signed out and left for lunch, according to the probe.
It would be another nine hours -- until 8:30 p.m. -- before a Barksdale ground crew turned up at the parked aircraft to begin removing the missiles. At 8:45, 15 minutes into the task, a separate missile transport crew arrived in trucks. One of these airmen noticed something unusual about the missiles. Within an hour, a skeptical supervisor had examined them and ordered them secured.
By then it was 10 p.m., more than 36 hours after the warheads left their secure bunker in Minot.
Once the errant warheads were discovered, Air Force officers in Louisiana were alarmed enough to immediately notify the National Military Command Center, a highly secure area of the Pentagon that serves as the nerve center for U.S. nuclear war planning. Such "Bent Spear" events are ranked second in seriousness only to "Broken Arrow" incidents, which involve the loss, destruction or accidental detonation of a nuclear weapon.
The Air Force decided at first to keep the mishap under wraps, in part because of policies that prohibit the confirmation of any details about the storage or movement of nuclear weapons. No public acknowledgment was made until service members leaked the story to the Military Times, which published a brief account Sept. 5.
Officials familiar with the Bent Spear report say Air Force officials apparently did not anticipate that the episode would cause public concern. One passage in the report contains these four words:
"No press interest anticipated."
'What the Hell Happened Here?'
The news, when it did leak, provoked a reaction within the defense and national security communities that bordered on disbelief: How could so many safeguards, drilled into generations of nuclear weapons officers and crews, break down at once?
Military officers, nuclear weapons analysts and lawmakers have expressed concern that it was not just a fluke, but a symptom of deeper problems in the handling of nuclear weapons now that Cold War anxieties have abated.
"It is more significant than people first realized, and the more you look at it, the stranger it is," said Joseph Cirincione, director for nuclear policy at the Center for American Progress think tank and the author of a history of nuclear weapons. "These weapons -- the equivalent of 60 Hiroshimas -- were out of authorized command and control for more than a day."
The Air Force has sought to offer assurances that its security system is working. Within days, the service relieved one Minot officer of his command and disciplined several airmen, while assigning a major general to head an investigation that has already been extended for extra weeks. At the same time, Defense Department officials have announced that a Pentagon-appointed scientific advisory board will study the mishap as part of a larger review of procedures for handling nuclear weapons.
"Clearly this incident was unacceptable on many levels," said an Air Force spokesman, Lt. Col. Edward Thomas. "Our response has been swift and focused -- and it has really just begun. We will spend many months at the air staff and at our commands and bases ensuring that the root causes are addressed."While Air Force officials see the Minot event as serious, they also note that it was harmless, since the six nuclear warheads never left the military's control. Even if the bomber had crashed, or if someone had stolen the warheads, fail-safe devices would have prevented a nuclear detonation.
But independent experts warn that whenever nuclear weapons are not properly safeguarded, their fissile materials are at risk of theft and diversion. Moreover, if the plane had crashed and the warheads' casings cracked, these highly toxic materials could have been widely dispersed.
"When what were multiple layers of tight nuclear weapon control internal procedures break down, some bad guy may eventually come along and take advantage of them," said a former senior administration official who had responsibility for nuclear security.
Some Air Force veterans say the base's officers made an egregious mistake in allowing nuclear-warhead-equipped missiles and unarmed missiles to be stored in the same bunker, a practice that a spokesman last week confirmed is routine. Charles Curtis, a former deputy energy secretary in the Clinton administration, said, "We always relied on segregation of nuclear weapons from conventional ones."
Former nuclear weapons officials have noted that the weapons transfer at the heart of the incident coincides with deep cuts in deployed nuclear forces that will bring the total number of warheads to as few as 1,700 by the year 2012 -- a reduction of more than 50 percent from 2001 levels. But the downsizing has created new accounting and logistical challenges, since U.S. policy is to keep thousands more warheads in storage, some as a strategic reserve and others awaiting dismantling.
A secret 1998 history of the Air Combat Command warned of "diminished attention for even 'the minimum standards' of nuclear weapons' maintenance, support and security" once such arms became less vital, according to a declassified copy obtained by Hans Kristensen, director of the Federation of American Scientists' nuclear information project.
The Air Force's inspector general in 2003 found that half of the "nuclear surety" inspections conducted that year resulted in failing grades -- the worst performance since inspections of weapons-handling began. Minot's 5th Bomb Wing was among the units that failed, and the Louisiana-based 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale garnered an unsatisfactory rating in 2005.
Both units passed subsequent nuclear inspections, and Minot was given high marks in a 2006 inspection. The 2003 report on the 5th Bomb Wing attributed its poor performance to the demands of supporting combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Wartime stresses had "resulted in a lack of time to focus and practice nuclear operations," the report stated.
Last year, the Air Force eliminated a separate nuclear-operations directorate known informally as the N Staff, which closely tracked the maintenance and security of nuclear weapons in the United States and other NATO countries. Currently, nuclear and space operations are combined in a single directorate. Air Force officials say the change was part of a service-wide reorganization and did not reflect diminished importance of nuclear operations.
"Where nuclear weapons have receded into the background is at the senior policy level, where there are other things people have to worry about," said Linton F. Brooks, who resigned in January as director of the National Nuclear Security Administration. Brooks, who oversaw billions of dollars in U.S. spending to help Russia secure its nuclear stockpile, said the mishandling of U.S. warheads indicates that "something went seriously wrong."
A similar refrain has been voiced hundreds of times in blogs and chat rooms popular with former and current military members. On a Web site run by the Military Times, a former B-52 crew chief who did not give his name wrote: "What the hell happened here?"
A former Air Force senior master sergeant wrote separately that "mistakes were made at the lowest level of supervision and this snowballed into the one of the biggest mistakes in USAF history. I am still scratching my head wondering how this could [have] happened" (Washington Post, 2007).
Date: October 19, 2007
Source: Daily Mail
Abstract: At least five U.S. Air Force commanders are facing criminal charges for allowing armed nuclear cruise missiles to be flown across America.
The officers, one a colonel, have been relieved of their command following an investigation into what has been described as the worst breach of weapons security for 40 years.
The alert on August 29 involved a B-52 Stratofortress bomber being flown 1,500 miles from North Dakota to Louisiana with six armed nuclear warheads in launch position below its wings. Each one had ten times the destructive force of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
The incident sparked a so-called "Bent Spear" nuclear alert, one step down in military terms from a "Broken Arrow". A "Broken Arrow" is triggered if a nuclear missile has been lost or detonated in a way that does not create the risk of nuclear war.
Except in times of high-alert or war, bomber flights with live nuclear weapons over land were ended in the late 1960s after accidents in Spain in 1966 and in Greenland in 1968. They are now normally transferred unarmed in the hold of cargo planes.
The B-52 flight sparked a dramatic security alert. White House and defence chiefs were horrified when the mistake was spotted after the plane landed at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana.
It sat overnight on the tarmac at Minot, North Dakota, without the special guards all nuclear weapons require, and only a chainlink fence and an occasional roving security patrol to protect it. One Security Council official said: "All the elaborate safeguards built in involving crew, munitions, storage and tracing procedures meant this could never happen. But it did."
Russia is developing new types of nuclear weapons, President Putin revealed yesterday as he unveiled plans to boost the country's defences. The move triggered anxiety in the West of a return to the Cold War.
"We will develop missile technology including completely new strategic (nuclear) complexes, completely new," Mr Putin told a televised question session with Russian citizens. "Work is continuing and continuing successfully" (Daily Mail, 2009).
Date: October 29, 2007
Source: Global Research
Abstract: According to a wide range of reports, several nuclear bombs were "lost" for 36 hours after taking off August 29/30, 2007 on a "cross-country journey" across the U.S., from U.S.A.F Base Minot in North Dakota to U.S.A.F. Base Barksdale in Louisiana. Reportedly, in total there were six W80-1 nuclear warheads armed on AGM-129 Advanced Cruise Missiles (ACMs) that were "lost."
The story was first reported by the Military Times, after military servicemen leaked the story. It is also worth noting that on August 27, 2007, just days before the "lost" nukes incident, three B-52 Bombers were performing special missions under the direct authorization of General Moseley, the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force. The exercise was reported as being an aerial information and image gathering mission.
The base at Minot is also home of the 91st Space Wings, a unit under the command of Air Force Space Command (AFSPC). According to official reports, the U.S. Air Force pilots did not know that they were carrying weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). Once in Louisiana, they also left the nuclear weapons unsecured on the runway for several hours. U.S. Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Plans, and Requirements, Major-General Richard Y. Newton III commented on the incident, saying there was an "unprecedented" series of procedural errors, which revealed "an erosion of adherence to weapons-handling standards".
These statements are misleading. The lax security was not the result of procedural negligence within the U.S. Air Force, but rather the consequence of a deliberate tampering of these procedures. If a soldier, marine, airman, or sailor were even to be issued a rifle and rifle magazine - weaponry of a far lesser significance, danger, and cost - there is a strict signing and accountability process that involves a chain of command and paperwork.
This is part of the set of military checks and balances used by all the services within the U.S. Armed Forces. Military servicemen qualified to speak on the subject will confirm that there is a stringent nuclear weapons handling procedure. There is a rigorous, almost inflexible, chain of command in regards to the handling of nuclear weapons and not just any soldier, sailor, airman, or marine is allowed to handle nuclear weapons.
Only servicemen specialized in specific handling and loading procedures, are perm certified to handle, access and load nuclear warheads. Every service personnel that moves or even touches these weapons must sign a tracking paper and has total accountability for their movement. There is good reason for the paperwork behind moving these weapons. The military officers that order the movement of nuclear weapons, including base commanders, must also fill out paper forms.
In other words, unauthorized removal of nuclear weapons would be virtually impossible to accomplish unless the chain of command were bypassed, involving, in this case, the deliberate tampering of the paperwork and tracking procedures. The strategic bombers that carried the nuclear weapons also could not fly with their loaded nuclear weaponry without the authorization of senior military officials and the base commander.
The go-ahead authorization of senior military officials must be transmitted to the servicemen that upload the nuclear weapons. Without this authorization no flights can take place. In the case of the missing nukes, orders were given and flight permission was granted. Once again, any competent and eligible U.S. Air Force member can certify that this is the standard procedure.
There are two important questions to be answered in relation to the "lost" nukes incident:
2. At what level in the military hierarchy did this order originate? How was the order transmitted down the command chain?
3. If this was not a procedural error, what was the underlying military-political objective sought by those who gave the orders?
As Robert Stormer, a former U.S. lieutenant-commander in the U.S. Navy, has commented: "Press reports initially cited the Air Force mistake of flying nuclear weapons over the United States in violation of Air Force standing orders and international treaties, while completely missing the more important major issues, such as how six nuclear cruise missiles got loose to begin with."
Stormer also makes a key point, which is not exactly a secret: "There is a strict chain of custody for all such weapons. Nuclear weapons handling is spelled out in great detail in Air Force regulations, to the credit of that service. Every person who orders the movement of these weapons, handles them, breaks seals or moves any nuclear weapon must sign off for tracking purposes. Two armed munitions specialists are required to work as a team with all nuclear weapons.
All individuals working with nuclear weapons must meet very strict security standards and be tested for loyalty - this is known as a „[Nuclear Weapons] Personnel Reliability Program [DoDD 5210 42].' They work in restricted areas within eyeshot of one another and are reviewed constantly." Stormer unwraps the whole Pentagon cover-up by pointing out some logical facts and military procedures. First he reveals that: "All security forces assigned [to handle and protect nuclear weapons] are authorized to use deadly force to protect the weapons from any threat [including would-be thieves]."
He then points out a physical reality that can not be shrugged aside: "Nor does anyone quickly move a 1-ton cruise missile - or forget about six of them, as reported by some news outlets, especially cruise missiles loaded with high explosives." He further explains another physical and procedural reality about nuclear weapons assembly: "The United States also does not transport nuclear weapons meant for elimination attached to their launch vehicles under the wings of a combat aircraft.
The procedure is to separate the warhead from the missile, encase the warhead and transport it by military cargo aircraft to a repository - not an operational bomber base that just happens to be the staging area for Middle Eastern operations." This last point raises the question of what were the nuclear weapons meant for?
In this context, Stomrer puts forth the following list of important questions to which he demands an answer:
2. How long was it before the error was discovered?
3. How many mistakes and errors were made, and how many needed to be made, for this to happen?
4. How many and which security protocols were overlooked?
5. How many and which safety procedures were bypassed or ignored?
6. How many other nuclear command and control non-observations of procedure have there been?
7. What is Congress going to do to better oversee U.S. nuclear command and control?
8. How does this incident relate to concern for reliability of control over nuclear weapons and nuclear materials in Russia, Pakistan and elsewhere?
9. Does the Bush administration, as some news reports suggest, have plans to attack Iran with nuclear weapons?
It is also being claimed that military teams in both U.S.A.F. Base Minot and U.S.A.F. Base Barksdale made major "procedural errors". What are the probabilities of this occurring simultaneously in two locations? It is also worth noting that original reports from military sources talked about only five of the six nuclear warheads from Minot being accounted for in Barksdale. Nuclear warheads are also kept in specialized storage areas or bunkers. Moreover, nuclear weapons are not being decommissioned at Barksdale.
The Role of the Nuclear Weapons Surety Program: What happened to Electronic Monitoring?
The Nuclear Weapons Surety Program is a joint program between the U.S. Department of Defence and the U.S. Department of Energy. The National Security Agency (NSA) is also involved as well as other U.S. federal government agencies. The Nuclear Weapons System Safety Program is part of this program, which involves a monitoring and safeguards regime for the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
The Nuclear Weapons Security Standard falls under the Nuclear Weapons Surety Program and is in place to disallow any "unauthorized access to nuclear weapons; prevent damage or sabotage to nuclear weapons; prevent loss of custody; and prevent, to the maximum extent possible, radiological contamination caused by unauthorized acts." Under this or these safeguards system there also exists a rigorous control of use scheme, which is tied to the military chain of command and the White House.
'Command and Control' (C2) & 'Use Control'
'Use control' is a set of security measures designed to prevent unauthorized access to nuclear weapons. These measures involve weapons design features, operational procedures, security, and system safety rules. 'Command and Control' or 'C2' involves the Office of the President of the United States of America. C2 is an established line of command, which is tied to the White House. Without it, nuclear weapons cannot be deployed or armed as they were in U.S.A.F. Base Minot.
It is these two control elements that establish the basis of authorization through which "absolute control of nuclear weapons" is maintained "at all times." In addition to the checks and balances in place in regards to handling nuclear weapons, the Defence Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and its partners manually and electronically inspect and monitor all U.S. nuclear weapons through the Nuclear Weapon Status Information Systems.
More Unanswered Questions: What Happened to the Computerized Tracking System?
The Nuclear Management Information Systems "interface with each other and provide [the U.S. Department of Defence] with the ability to track the location of nuclear weapons and components from cradle-to-grave [meaning from when they are made to when they are decommissioned]." The Military Times also makes an omission that exposes the official narrative as false and indicates that the event was not just a mistake: "The Defense Department uses a computerized tracking program to keep tabs on each one of its nuclear warheads, said Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists.
For the six warheads to make it onto the B-52, each one would have had to be signed out of its storage bunker and transported to the bomber." This is where the chain of command in regards to military officers falls into play. If any of the stocked inventories of nuclear weapons are moved to an authorized location they will be noticed and tracked by the DTRA and will require the relevant authorization. There is also a code system involved that is tied to the chain of command.
The fact that the incident only apparently became known to the U.S. Air Force when military personnel reported it, suggests that either the nuclear weapons were ordered to be moved or that the electronic tracking devices had been removed or tampered with. This scenario would need the involvement of individuals with expertise in military electronics or for those responsible for the monitoring of nuclear weapons to look the other way or both.
Mysterious Deaths in the United States Air Force: Whitewash and Cover-up
Several military personnel died under mysterious circumstances shortly before and after the incident. There are now questions regarding the fate of these individuals in the U.S. Air Force who could have had relationships in one way or another to the incident or possibly have been directly involved.
It is also necessary to state that there is no proof that these deaths are linked to the August flight from Minot to Barksdale in question. Citizens for Legitimate Government has pointed towards the involvement of the U.S. Air Force in a cover-up and has linked several deaths of U.S. servicemen to the incident. Lori Price has also stated for Citizens for a Legitimate Government that "you need about fourteen signatures to get an armed nuke on a B-52." Based on several news sources, including the U.S. military, we provide below a detailed review of these mysterious and untimely deaths of U.S. servicemen.
Airman 1st Class Todd Blue
Airman 1st Class Todd Blue went on leave days after the nuclear weapons were "lost." Blue died under questionable timing while on leave, visiting his family in Wytheville, Virginia at the age of 20 on September 10, 2007. He was a response force member assigned to the 5th Security Forces Squadron. What does this mean? Airman Todd Blue occupied a key position in weapons systems security at Minot.
At Minot U.S.A.F. Base the 5th Security Forces Squadron to which he belonged was responsible for base entry requirements and a particular section, the Weapons System Security section, was responsible for preventing the unauthorized removal of military property. The latter is responsible for security of all priority resources, meaning the security of nuclear weapons. In other words not only did the 5th Security Forces Squadron keep eyes on what entered and left Minot, but they kept an eye on and monitored the nuclear weapons.
U.S. Air Force Captain John Frueh
U.S. Air Force Captain John Frueh is another serviceman who could have been indirectly connected to the "lost" nuclear weapons. He was reported as being last seen with a GPS device, camera, and camcorder being carried with him in a backpack. Local police in Oregon and the F.B.I. seemed to be looking for him for days. His family also felt that something bad had happened to him.
On September 8, 2007 Captain Frueh was found dead in Washington State, near his abandoned rental car, after the Portland Police Department contacted the Skamania County Sheriff's Officer. The last time he spoke with his family was August 30, 2007. He had arrived from Florida to attend a wedding that he never showed up at.
The Oregonian reported that "Authorities in Portland found no activity on his credit or bank cards since [Frueh] was last seen (...) [and that] the last call from his cell phone was made at 12:28 p.m. [August 30, 2007] from Mill Plain Boulevard and Interstate 205 in Vancouver [Washington State]." His background was in meteorology and the study of the atmosphere and weather. He was also reported to be a U.S. Air Force pararescue officer.
He was also a major-select candidate, which means he was selected for a promotion as a U.S. Air Force major, but was not officially promoted. U.S.A.F. Special Operations Command has its headquarters in Hurlburt Field, Florida and is one of nine major Air Force commands. It is also the U.S. Air Force's component of U.S. Special Operations Command, a unified command located at MacDill Air Force Base, which is also in Florida.
The force provides special operations forces for worldwide deployment and assignment to regional unified commands, such as CENTCOM. Its missions include conduct of global special operations. These operations - and this is where careful attention should be paid - range from "precision application of firepower, such as nuclear weapons," to infiltration, exfiltration (the removal of "devices," supplies, spies, special agents, or units from enemy territory), re-supply and refuelling of special operational elements. In Captain Frueh's case his death is questionable too.
The U.S. Air Force would not let a missing persons' investigation go forward by the police without conducting its own investigation. Usually the different service branches of the U.S. military would investigate for missing servicemen, to see if these individuals are Absent Without Authorized Leave (AWAL) or have deserted, before an individual's case is handed over to the police.
Senior Airman Clint Huff
Another military weatherman, along with his wife, also died after August 30, 2007. Senior Airman Clint Huff, who belonged to the 26th Operational Weather Squadron, and his wife Linda Huff died in a motorcycle accident on September 15, 2007. The husband and wife fatality happened on Shreveport-Blanchard Highway, near U.S.A.F. Base Barksdale, when according to the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Officer a Pontiac Aztec, a medium-sized SUV, initiated a left turn at the same time that the couple attempted to pass on a no passing zone and collided.
First-Lieutenant Weston Kissel
Weston Kissel, a B-52H Stratofortress Bomber pilot, also died in a reported Tennessee motorcycle accident. This was while he was on leave in, less than two months from the nuclear B-52 flights, on July 17, 2007. His death came after another single-vehicle accident by another Minot serviceman, Senior Airman Adam Barrs.
Senior Airman Barrs
Senior Airman Barrs died as a passenger in a vehicle being driven by Airman 1st Class Stephen Garrett, also from Minot. Garrett, also belongs to the 5th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. The death of Barrs was reported as being part of a single-vehicle car accident. Associated Press reports state that "[Minot] Base officials say 20-year-old Barrs was a passenger in a vehicle that failed to negotiate a curve, hit an approach, hit a tree and started on fire late Tuesday [July 3, 2007] night."
Barrs was pronounced dead on the scene of the accident, while Garrett was taken the hospital with no updates released by the U.S. Air Force. Adam Barrs also belonged to the 5th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, where he was responsible for the maintenance and securing of the electronic communicational and navigation mission systems aboard the B-52H Stratofortresses on base. The 5th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron is also one of the units that are responsible for loading and unloading weaponry onto the B-52H Stratofortresses.
The deaths of Kissel and Barrs could be dismissed as irrelevant because they occurred prior to the incident. However, Barrs and Kissel could have been in one way or another connected to the advanced planning of the special operation, prior to the incident (special operations are not planned in a few days and may take months and even longer). There is, of course, no proof and only an independent investigation will be able to reveal whether these deaths are connected to the incident.
If there was an internal and secretive operation bypassing most military personnel, a few men in key positions would have to have been involved over a period of time prior to the August 29/30, 2007 flight. Senior Airman Barrs, due to his expertise in communication and navigational systems, could potentially have been involved in the preparations that would have allowed the nuclear weapons to escape detection by military surveillance and be ready for takeoff.
Reprimands, Replacements and Reassignments in the U.S.A.F. Chain of Command
Senior officers, including three colonels and a lieutenant-colonel, are among seventy personnel that will reportedly be disciplined for negligence and for allowing a B-52H Stratofortress Bomber to fly across the U.S. carrying six nuclear-armed cruise missiles that should never have been loaded under its wings. According to the Military Times, George W. Bush Jr. had been swiftly informed. This is a lockstep procedure. This illustrates the importance tied to the authorization needed for handling nuclear weapons. This is part of a two-way process in regards to authorization from the White House.
The commander of the 5th Munitions Squadron and the commander of the 5th Bomb Wing, Colonel Bruce Emig, have been replaced along with a series of other senior officers. This implies that the U.S. Air Force chain of command is directly involved in this event. None of these senior officers have been authorized to speak or make statements, according to U.S. military sources. Will any of these officers receive lucrative departure packages? Have they been reassigned? More generally, the nature of the reprimands directed against senior officers involved has not been fully disclosed.
The "memory" of the incident is being erased through a reorganization of the ranks and a purge at U.S.A.F. Base Minot. The streamlining of the chain of command as well as the mysterious deaths of personnel who could have been involved in the incident, raise a series of far-reaching questions. There are several important issues regarding the senior officers' chain of command at Minot, which will be addressed in this article.
Once again, the most important questions in regards to the missing nukes are: Who gave the orders and authorization for the operation and what where the underlying objectives of loading armed nuclear missiles?
Other Mysterious Deaths
Was the Missing Nukes Incident connected to US War Plans directed against Iran?
Charles D. Riechers
A U.S. Air Force official, Charles D. Riechers, was found dead on October 14, 2007. Riechers was a retired Air Force officer and master navigator specializing in electronic warfare. He was a member of the Senior Executive Service of the U.S. Air Force, and was the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition and Management. A description of his duties includes "providing sound expert advice and guidance on acquisition and procurement policies, as well as formulating, reviewing and, as assigned, execution of plans, programs and policies relating to organization, function, operation and improvement of the Air Force's acquisition system."
He apparently killed himself by running his car's engine inside his suburban garage in Virginia. The death of Charles D. Riechers has been casually linked by The Washington Post to his involvement in fraudulent activities and embezzlement. The Washington Post reported that the Air Force had asked defense contractor, Commonwealth Research Institute (C.R.I.), to give him a job with no known duties while he waited for official clearance for his promoted rank in the Pentagon. Riechers is quoted as saying: "I really didn't do anything for C.R.I.," and "I [still] got a paycheck from them." The question, of course, was whether the contractor might expect favours in return upon his assignment to the Pentagon last January.
A mysterious suicide letter expressing shame was subsequently reported; the letter was reportedly from a man who had already admitted without shame that he was receiving money for doing nothing. This was known to the U.S. Senate, which had approved his promotion. In a report featured by Pravda, Russian Intelligence analysts have said that the reported suicide of Charles D. Riechers was a cover-up and that he was murdered because of his involvement in the controversial flight of nuclear weapons over the continental United States. Pravda reports that "Russian Intelligence Analysts are reporting today that American War Leaders have „suicided' [sic] one of their Top US Air Force Officials Charles D. Riechers as the rift growing between the U.S. War Leaders and their Top Military Officers over a nuclear attack on Iran appears to be nearing open warfare."
According to the Pravda report, the incident was linked to an operation to smuggle nuclear weapons away from the U.S. military in connection to launching a war against Iran. The Commonwealth Research Institute (CRI), a registered non-profit organization is a subsidiary of Concurrent Technologies, which is registered with the IRS as a tax-exempt charity, which is run by Daniel Richard DeVos. Devos is also an associate of John P. Murtha, who was investigated by the F.B.I. for his Saudi links.
Certainly the ties of the Commonwealth Research Institute (CRI), a non-profit organization working for the Pentagon, are questionable and the organization could be a front for internal operations that bypass most military personnel. The case appears to be part of an internal operation that was being kept a secret from most of the U.S. military, but what for?
General Russell Elliot Dougherty
More than a month before the death of Riechers, General Russell Elliot Dougherty a retired flag officer, was also reported to have died on September 7, 2007 at his home in Falcon Landing military retirement community in Potomac Falls located in Arlington, Virginia. He once was one of the most senior individuals responsible for the nuclear arsenal of the U.S. military and also the former commander of Strategic Air Command (SAC) and director of the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff, which identified nuclear targets worldwide amongst its responsibilities.
At Minot next to his obituary was a military information notice on suicide, telling servicepersons what the signs of suicide are. Russell Dougherty in the course of his military career in the U.S. Air Force had dealt with the issues pertaining to Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD), full spectrum dominance, how to defeat the enemy and avoid a nuclear war, other uses for nuclear weaponry, Nuclear Primacy for the U.S., and tackling the effects of the wind and weather - due to their unpredictable natures - on the use of nuclear weapons.
The fact that the nuclear warheads were attached to the nuclear cruise missiles could mean that someone wanted to take the weapons in one step or to use them right away.
Timely Appointments at U.S.A.F. Base Minot
Several of the commanding officers at Minot were freshly appointed in June, 2007. This may have been part of standard procedures, but the timing should not be ignored.
1. Colonel Robert D. Critchlow: Critchlow was transferred, just before the incident, from the Pentagon to Minot and appointed commanding officer for the 91st Operations Group, a missileer unit and the operational backbone of the 91st Space Wing. In Washington, D.C. he was involved in research for the Congressional Research Services and later posted into Air Force Nuclear Response and Homeland Defence.
2. Colonel Myron L. Freeman: Freeman was transferred from Japan to Minot in June, 2007. Colonel Freeman was appointed as the commander of the 91st Security Forces Group, which is responsible for securing Minot’s nuclear arsenal.
3. Colonel Gregory S. Tim: Tims was also appointed as deputy commander or vice-commander of the 91st Space Wing in June, 2007. However, Colonel Tims was transfered to Minot from California almost a year before.
4. Chief Master Sergeant Mark R. Clark: One of the most senior non-commissioned officers (NCOs) or non-commissioned members (NCMs), Chief Master Sergeant Mark R. Clark, was also transferred to U.S.A.F. Base Minot from Nebraska in July, 2007.
5. Colonel Roosevelt Allen: Allen was also transferred to Minot from Washington, D.C. to become commander of the 5th Medical Group.
6. Colonel Bruce Emig: Emig , the now-former commander of the 5th Bomb Wing, was also transferred to Minot from U.S.A.F. Base Ellsworth in South Dakota in June, 2007. Colonel Emig was also the base commander of Minot.
7. Colonel Cynthia M. Lundell: Lundell, the now-former group commander for the 5th Maintenance Group, the unit responsible for loading and unloading weaponry onto the B-52H Stratofortresses was also freshly transferred from a NATO post in Western Europe in June, 2007. Were these appointments temporary? Were any of these appointments related to the six “lost” nuclear missiles?
Prior to the Missing Nukes Incident, Minot Airmen Meet with Bush & U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff
Senator Patrick Roberts of Kansas was also present. “While he chaired the Senate Intelligence Committe from 2002 to 2007, [Senator] Roberts stonewalled attempts to investigate everything from the manipulation of intelligence in the rush to war in Iraq, President Bush’s warrantless wiretaps, and even allegations of the use of torture by the CIA,” according to Associated Press (AP) reports.  The same report also indicates that the U.S. President was in Wichita for a political fundraiser, and stopped at a new Boys and Girls Club of America to defray the costs of getting to Wichita via Air Force One for Senator Roberts’ campaign.
Military sources have reported that a B-52H Stratofortress was flown to Wichita so that Boeing’s engineers could take a look in order to make adjustments to the war planes for a new military program.  Nothing has been reported about any private meetings between President Bush Jr. or any of his presidential staff and the personnel from Minot. However, reports have been made of meetings between military families and the U.S. President in his office on Air Force One.
General Moseley, the Air Force Chief of Staff, had previously visited Minot on March 14-15, 2007, a month before Minot airmen went to Wichita.  If a secret mission was being prepared, these events could have played a role in the recruiting phases for an important internal special operation. Following their recruitment, Minot servicemen could have symbolically met General Moseley or White House officials to understand that the mission was being sanctioned by the highest ranks and offices in the United States.Orders had to Come from the Top: Treason of the Highest Order
Orders had to come from higher up.
The operation would not have been possible without the involvement of more than one individual in the highest ranks of the U.S. Air Force command structure and the Pentagon.
The only way to bypass these separate chains of command is “to be above them” (from higher up), as well as to have the possibility of directly overseeing their implementation.
These orders would then have been communicated to lower levels in the U.S. Air Force command chain in different locations, to allow for so-called “oversight” to proceed. The alternative to this is “an alternative chain of command,” although this also needs someone in the highest ranks of office to organize and oversee.
The post given to Riechers was politically motivated, given his track record in the U.S. Air Force. Riechers had been in a position of responsibility in the U.S. Air Force special operational support activities; something he had in common with Russell Dougherty, the former SAC commander. He would have been one of the best suited individuals for making arrangements in the case of an alternative command structure for a secretive nuclear operation. Moreover, he already had a record of corrupt behaviour through his involvement with the Commonwealth Research Institute. The possible involvement of U.S. Air Force weathermen and special operatives raises many questions as to what exactly was the objective of making the nuclear weapons disappear.
The U.S. Air Force has publicly stated that it has made a “mistake,” which is very unusual and almost unprecedented for a military organization that tries to continually assure the American public of their safety.
The fact that seventy or more military personnel have been punished in the case of the “lost” nuclear weapons does not mean, however, that the senior commanding officers responsible for having carried out the special operation will be identified and punished.
Quite the opposite. The investigation could indeed result in a camouflage of the chain of command, where lower-ranking military personnel are accused and court-martialed, with a view to ultimately protecting those in high office who have committed an act of treason.
The series of deaths mentioned above, may have no ties whatsoever with the the August flight in question from Minot to Barksdale, but the issues of command, monitoring, and authorization cannot be overlooked or ignored. The American people have before them a case of treason that involves the highest offices of government and most probably the offices of the President and the Vice-President.
Once again, the “C2” process involves the Office of the President and Commander-in-Chief. It is an established line of command, without which nuclear weapons could not have been deployed or armed as they were in U.S.A.F. Base Minot. It is this command element that establishes the basis of authorization through which “absolute control of nuclear weapons” is maintained “at all times.”
With time it is possible that military servicemen and servicewomen may come forward with more information.
However, in the meantime, there has been a streamlining of military personnel at U.S.A.F. Base Minot. Base personnel have become dispersed and reassigned to other locations.
If they on the grounds of loyalty to their country, the United States of America, come forward and reveal what has taken place, they are to be saluted with full honour by all ranks. As George Orwell said, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act,” and indeed these are deceitful times.
The fact that U.S. Air Force officers came forward and reported this incident is contrary to U.S. military procedures, regulations, and laws. The U.S. military will never release any information that will risk or damage its reputation. Any information in regards to nuclear weapons can not be released without prior consultations with and authorization by the White House.
The nuclear weapons were armed and moved deliberately. Orders had to have come from the highest echelons of the U.S. government.
The question is what exactly were they meant for? Were they part of a war agenda or something else?
Bush Threatens Iran with Nuclear Weapons
What adds intrigue to an understanding of the missing nukes, are the international events and war games taking place just after the “lost” nuclear weapons incident, not to mention the President’s ongoing threats to attack Iran with nuclear weapons and Vice President Cheney's repeated warnings that a second large scale terrorist attack on America is under preparation, with the support of Iran.
In the U.S., under the Vigilant Shield 2008 war games (initiated in September, 2007) and the TOPOFF anti-terrorism exercises, some form of nuclear terrorist attack on American soil had been envisaged. The roles of Russia and China had also been contemplated. The latter would be “a likely scenario” had the U.S. attacked Iran and as a result Russia and China had decided to intervene. Under Vigilant Shield 2007, held in 2006, the possibility of a nuclear war with Iran’s allies, Russia and China, had been contemplated in the war games scenario.
The Kremlin has responded by holding its own war games.
An unveiled threat to trigger World War Three has been the response of George W. Bush Jr. to Russia’s statements warning that a U.S. sponsored war with Iran, could result in an escalating World War III scenario.
The six nuclear warheads were not meant for use in theatre operations against Iran. This is obvious because if they were then they would have been deployed via the proper procedural routes without the need to hide anything. Besides, there are already theatre-level nuclear weapons ready and armed in Europe and the Middle East for any possible Middle Eastern mission. There was something more to the incident.
It is also worth noting that the Israelis launched an attack on an alleged Syrian nuclear facility that both Tel Aviv and the White House claim was constructed with the assistance of North Korea. This event has been used, through official statements and media disinformation, to draw a Syria-Iran-North Korea nuclear proliferation axis.
In regards to the case of the missing nuclear weapons, weathermen and military personnel with an expertise in space and missile components were involved. The incident took place during a time when the U.S. missile shield projects in Eastern Europe and Eastern Asia, directed against Russia and China, were raising international tensions and alarms. On October 23, 2007, President Bush Jr. stated: “The need for missile defence in Europe is real and I believe it’s urgent.”
Nuclear warfare, the militarization of space, and “the missile shield” are interrelated military processes. The overtones of Nuclear Primacy are hanging in the air. One of the goals of the U.S. military has been to effectively shield itself from a potential Russian or potential Russian and Chinese nuclear response to a nuclear “First Strike” from the U.S. military. The militarization of space is also deeply linked to this military project. Like their advanced knowledge about the U.S. missile shield project, Russian and Chinese officials have got wind of these ambitions and are fully aware of what the U.S. intends to do.
Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is an independent writer based in Ottawa specializing in Middle Eastern affairs. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) (Global Research, 2007).
Date: November 21, 2007
Source: Global Research
Abstract: The unauthorized Aug. 29, 2007 cross-country flight of a B-52H Stratofortress armed with six nuclear-tipped AGM-29 Advanced Cruise missiles, which saw these 150-kiloton warheads go missing for 36 hours. So far, the Pentagon, which has launched two separate investigations into the incident, seems to be assuming that it is dealing with the comedy version, saying that some incredible “mistake” led to nuclear weapons being taken inadvertently from a weapons-storage bunker, loaded into launch position on a bomber, and flown from North Dakota to Louisiana.
Pentagon investigators have completely ignored a peculiar cluster of six deaths, during the weeks immediately preceding and following the flight, of personnel at the two Air Force bases involved in the incident and Air Force Commando Operations headquarters. The problem with this theory is that dummy warheads don’t look the same as the real thing. The real warheads, called W80-1’s, are shiny silver, which is clearly visible through postage-stamp-sized windows on the nosecone covers that protect them on the missiles. In addition, the mounted warheads are encased in a red covering as a second precaution.
Apparently the nukes (which can be set to explode at between 5 kilotons and 150 kilotons) were easily spotted by a Barksdale AFB ground crew when they went out to the plane on the tarmac hours after it landed. If the Barksdale ground crew, which had no reason to suspect it was looking at nuclear-tipped missiles, easily spotted the “error,” why did everyone at Minot miss it, as claimed? Clearly, whoever loaded the six nukes on one B-52 wing pod, and whoever mounted that pod on the wing, knew or should have known that they were dealing with nukes—and absend an order from the highest authority in Washington, loading such nukes on a bomber was against all policy.
The odds of randomly putting six nukes all on one pod, and six dummies on the other, are 1:924. And how curious that the pilot, who is supposed to check all 12 missiles before flying, checked only the pod containing the dummy warheads. Various experts familiar with nuclear-weapons-handling protocols express astonishment at what happened on Aug. 29 and 30. After all, over the course of more than six decades, the protocols for handling nuclear arms have called for at least two people at every step, with paper trails, bar codes, and real-time computer tracking of every warhead in the arsenal.
Nothing like this has been known to have happened before. Air Force Gen. Eugene Habiger, who served as US Strategic Command chief from 1996 to 1998, told the Post, “I have been in the nuclear business since 1966 and am not aware of any incident more disturbing.” Philip Coyle, a senior advisor at the Center for Defense Information who served as assistant secretary of defense in the Clinton administration, calls the incident “astonishing” and “unbelievable.” He says, “This wasn‟t just a mistake. I‟ve counted, and at least 20 things had to have gone wrong for this to have occurred.”
Meanwhile, there are those six deaths. On July 20, 1st Lt. Weston Kissel, a 28-year-old B-52 pilot from Minot, died in a motorcycle accident while on home leave in Tennessee. Another Minot B-52 pilot, 20-year-old Adam Barrs, died on July 5 in Minot when a car he was riding in, driven by another Minot airman, Stephen Garrett, went off the road, hit a tree, and caught fire. Airman Garrett was brought to the hospital in critical condition and has since been charged with negligent homicide.
Two more Air Force personnel, Senior Airman Clint Huff, 29, of Barksdale AFB, and his wife Linda died on Sept. 15 in nearby Shreveport, Louisiana, when Huff reportedly attempted to pass a van in a no-passing zone on his motorcycle, and the van made a left-hand turn, striking them. Then there are two reported suicides, which both occurred within days of the flight. One involved Todd Blue, a 20-year-old airman who was in a unit that guarded weapons at Minot. He reportedly shot himself in the head on Sept. 11 while on a visit to his family in Wytheville, Virginia. Local police investigators termed his death a suicide.
The second suicide, on Aug. 30, was John Frueh, a Special Forces weather commando at the Air Force‟s Special Operations command headquartered at Hurlburt AFB in Florida. Frueh, 33, a married father of two who had just received approval for promotion from captain to major, reportedly flew from Florida to Portland, Oregon, for a friend‟s wedding. He never showed up. Instead, he called on Aug. 29, the day the missiles were loaded, from an interstate pull-off just outside Portland to say he was going for a hike in a park nearby. (It is not clear why he was at a highway rest stop as he had no car.)
A day later, back in Portland, he rented a car at the airport, again calling his family. After he failed to appear at the wedding, his family filed a missing person’s report with the Portland police. The Sheriff’s Department in remote Skamania County, Washington, found Frueh’s rental car ten days later on the side of a road nearly 120 miles from the airport in a remote area of Badger Peak. Search dogs found his body in the woods. His death was ruled a suicide, though neither the sheriff‟s investigator nor the medical examiner would give details. What makes this alleged suicide odd, however, is that the sheriff reports that Frueh had with him a knapsack containing a GPS locator and a videocam—odd equipment for someone intent on ending his life.
Of course, it could be that all six of these deaths are coincidences—all just accidents and personal tragedies. But when they occur around the time six nuclear-tipped missiles go missing in a bizarre incident, the likes of which the Pentagon hasn’t seen before, one would think investigators would be on those cases like vultures on carrion. In fact, police and medical examiners in the Frueh and Blue cases say no federal investigators, whether from DOD or FBI, have called them.
Worse still, because the B-52 incident got so little media attention—no coverage in most local news—none of those investigating the accidents and suicides even knew about it or about the other deaths. “It would have been interesting to know all that when I was examining Mr. Blue‟s body,” says coroner Mike Stoker, “but no one told me about any of it or asked me about him.” “If we had known that several people had died under questionable circumstances, it might have affected how we‟d look at a body,” says Don Phillips, the sheriff‟s deputy who investigated the Frueh death. “But nobody from the federal government has ever contacted us about this.” “Certainly, in a case like this, the suicides should be a red flag,” says Hans Kristensen, a nuclear-affairs expert with the Federation of American Scientists. It's wild speculation to think that there might be some connection between the deaths and the incident, but it certainly should be investigated” (Global Research, 2007).
Title: It Was The John P. Wheeler III Who Was Involved In The Barksdale-Minot Incident Who Was Found In A Landfill!
Date: January 1, 2011
Abstract: So Wayne Madsen hips me to this tip on John Wheeler III, whose name I didn't recognize: John Wheeler III, special assistant to Air Force Secretary during the 2007 B-52 nuke incident at Minot, found dead in Delaware landfill. Homicide concluded. Last seen on Amtrak from DC on Dec. 28. Dealing with neocons can be hazardous to one's health. Not the first suspicious Air Force death as reported by WMR.
A bit more digging, so you have somewhere to start, brings me to Sodahead's rather levelheaded opinion: What the "news" is not telling you is -Wheeler was the assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force in the George W. Bush Administration. It was the Secretary of the Air Force who discovered that Richard Cheney had set up an alternative chain of command to the nuclear weapons wing of the AF.
In the process, six minutemen missiles [sic] armed with nuclear warheads were secretly transported from Minot AFB to Barksdale AFB. The later is the chief staging base for the Middle East war. The alarm system for the weapons was deactivated for the transport, something that not even the base commander could authorize. The orders had to have come from above. Many point to Cheney. Before the warheads could be flown via B-52 to the Iraq/Iran theater, the Secretary of the Air Force ordered the stand-down of all B-52 flights.
When he discovered the alternative chain of command to Cheney, he fired all military personnel who were involved. Cheney was said to have been livid. The Secretary ordered an investigation of what the AF press release called an oversight, and 70 enlisted men and 5 officers were removed from the Minot nuclear system. At the same time, people involved began to die mysteriously. Wheeler is only the latest casualty (FemaleFaust, 2011).