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paolo
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23 Sep 2007, 2:31 pm

From the Wp of today:

"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."


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Tim_Tex
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23 Sep 2007, 2:33 pm

I heard about that.

I have seen Dr. Strangelove before. It was a very interesting movie.

Tim


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paolo
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24 Sep 2007, 5:47 pm

from "The Independent" of today:
"Nuclear warheads capable of unleashing the equivalent of 10 Hiroshima bombs were mistakenly flown across the United States by a bomber crew who thought they were dummies, and the terrifying security lapse was not discovered for almost 36 hours, it has been revealed.

The Pentagon is examining how so many vital checks and balances, painstakingly set out during the Cold War era, broke down to cause an incident that military personnel are calling one of the biggest mistakes in US Air Force history.

The flight last month was the first time in 40 years that nuclear bombs have been flown over US territory without specific authorisation from the top of the air force. Critics have argued that safety procedures have been disregarded as funds and expertise are diverted to new wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The B-52 took off from the remote Minot air force base in North Dakota with 12 cruise missiles that were being taken out of commission and scheduled for burial in Louisiana. The warheads on the decommissioned missiles should have been replaced with dummies of the same weight, but personnel failed to notice that six of the 12 were fully operational nuclear warheads.

The flight, on 30 August, was kept secret by the US Air Force, until news leaked on to military websites a week later. The Washington Post yesterday catalogued the full chain of errors and oversights and revealed that some of America's most powerful nuclear weapons were in effect out of supervision for almost 36 hours."