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  1. #1

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    Nukes put on B-52 by mistake

    WASHINGTON - A B-52 bomber was mistakenly armed with six nuclear warheads and flown for more than three hours across several states last week, prompting an Air Force investigation and the firing of one commander, Pentagon officials said Wednesday.

    The mistake was so serious that President Bush and Defense Secretary Robert Gates were quickly informed.

    Gates has asked for daily briefings on the Air Force inquiry, said Defense Department press secretary Geoff Morrell.

    He said Gates was assured that "the munitions were part of a routine transfer between the two bases and at all times they were in the custody and control of Air Force personnel and at no time was the public in danger."

    Rep. Ike Skelton, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, called the mishandling of the weapons "deeply disturbing" and said the committee would press the military for details. Rep. Edward J. Markey, a senior member of the Homeland Security Committee, said it was "absolutely inexcusable."

    "Nothing like this has ever been reported before, and we have been assured for decades that it was impossible," said Markey, D-Mass., co-chairman of the House task force on non-proliferation.

    The plane was carrying advanced cruise missiles from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., on Aug. 30, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of a Defense Department policy not to confirm information on nuclear weapons.

    The missiles, which are being decommissioned, were mounted onto pylons on the bomber's wings. It is unclear why the warheads had not been removed beforehand.

    According to the officials, the weapons are designed with multiple safety features that ensure the warheads don't accidentally detonate.

    Arming the weapons requires a number of stringent protocols and authentication codes that must be followed for detonation. And they are designed to withstand a significant impact, including an aircraft crash, without detonating.

    The Air Combat Command has ordered a command-wide stand down on Sept. 14 to review procedures, officials said. They said there was minimal risk to crews and the public because of safety features designed into the munitions.

    In addition to the munitions squadron commander who was relieved of his duties, crews involved with the mistaken load, including ground crew workers, have been temporarily decertified for handling munitions, one official said.

    The investigation is expected to take several weeks.

    The incident was first reported by Military Times newspaper group.

    "There is no more serious issue than the security and proper handling of nuclear weapons," Skelton said in a statement Wednesday. "The American people, our friends, and our potential adversaries must be confident that the highest standards are in place when it comes to our nuclear arsenal."

    Skelton, D-Mo., said his committee will pursue answers on the classified matter to ensure that the military addresses the incident and improves its procedures.




  2. #2

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    Re: Nukes put on B-52 by mistake

    Holy S!

    This seems like the plot to a movie that would not seem believeable...




  3. #3

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    Re: Nukes put on B-52 by mistake

    I just wonder if the guys loading the stuff and or the pilots flying this stuff knew what they were carrying. Yiiikes!



  4. #4

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    Re: Nukes put on B-52 by mistake

    Great... now we have to worry about defending against our own Air Force.




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  5. #5

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    Re: Nukes put on B-52 by mistake

    Quote Originally Posted by WDW Monorail View Post
    Great... now we have to worry about defending against our own Air Force.


    I know!

    On a side note, this puts the, "Are you worried they will screw up DCA" threads in perspective. We might not be around to worry about DCA, if this kind of thing happens more often...




  6. #6

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    Re: Nukes put on B-52 by mistake

    "at no time was the public in danger"

    Yeah, right!

    ANYTIME there are nukes flying over our heads, we are in danger.

    Especially when those involved in transporting them don't have a clue...

  7. #7

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    Re: Nukes put on B-52 by mistake

    If I recall the 80's and the cold war correctly, weren't there *always* B-52s aloft with nukes? I seem to recall that was our defense policy at the time. We lived through the 80's, I don't think this was really that big of a deal.
    HDAlien

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  8. #8

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    Re: Nukes put on B-52 by mistake

    Quote Originally Posted by HDAlien View Post
    If I recall the 80's and the cold war correctly, weren't there *always* B-52s aloft with nukes? I seem to recall that was our defense policy at the time. We lived through the 80's, I don't think this was really that big of a deal.
    Yes, during the 60s, 70s and 80s, B-52's under the direction of SAC were aloft 24 hours a day everyday of the year flying around the world. Of course, none of the arming codes were known to the pilots.

    Nukes, at times, are still aloft in the air these days. Of course, their handlers know exactly what and where they are at all times.



    Quote Originally Posted by Phonedave View Post
    Well, if your parents can't teach you, maybe you can learn from a taser.

  9. #9

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    Re: Nukes put on B-52 by mistake

    This was no mistake. Flying nukes to the middle east staging area was at least sabre rattling to Iran, at worst - the madmen are really convinced they need to use them to retain power.

    Massive surveillance of citizens - huge prisons being built for what purpose - condoning torture - Geneva Conventions become "quaint" - no more habeas corpus or right to a fair trial if you are labeled an enemy combatant, which means you oppose martial law - I think we'd better start paying attention to these "mistakes" more closely. While we still can.







    I am Sambo, and I endorse this signature.

  10. #10

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    Re: Nukes put on B-52 by mistake

    Dialing a wrong phone number is a mistake.

    Nukes accidentally on a plane?? We need a new word for this snafu.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpee View Post
    I only care for Disney bling!

  11. #11

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    Re: Nukes put on B-52 by mistake

    It was a rock lobster!

    *shimmies*

  12. #12

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    Re: Nukes put on B-52 by mistake

    Quote Originally Posted by Duck44 View Post
    We need a new word for this snafu.
    Fup.

    For F-up.
    "But every night, when it gets dark
    and the stars come out,
    I'll look up on her behalf.
    I'll look up in the sky and think of you."






  13. #13

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    Re: Nukes put on B-52 by mistake

    I heard this guy was in charge that day.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpee View Post
    I only care for Disney bling!

  14. #14

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    Re: Nukes put on B-52 by mistake

    Looks like Sambo called it. Just caught this:

    Staging Nukes for Iran?

    By Larry Johnson


    Why the hubbub over a B-52 taking off from a B-52 base in Minot, North Dakota and subsequently landing at a B-52 base in Barksdale, Louisiana? That’s like getting excited if you see a postal worker in uniform walking out of a post office. And how does someone watching a B-52 land identify the cruise missiles as nukes? It just does not make sense.

    So I called a old friend and retired B-52 pilot and asked him. What he told me offers one compelling case of circumstantial evidence. My buddy, let’s call him Jack D. Ripper, reminded me that the only times you put weapons on a plane is when they are on alert or if you are tasked to move the weapons to a specific site.

    Then he told me something I had not heard before.

    Barksdale Air Force Base is being used as a jumping off point for Middle East operations. Gee, why would we want cruise missile nukes at Barksdale Air Force Base. Can’t imagine we would need to use them in Iraq. Why would we want to preposition nuclear weapons at a base conducting Middle East operations?

    His final point was to observe that someone on the inside obviously leaked the info that the planes were carrying nukes. A B-52 landing at Barksdale is a non-event. A B-52 landing with nukes. That is something else.

    Now maybe there is an innocent explanation for this? I can’t think of one. What is certain is that the pilots of this plane did not just make a last minute decision to strap on some nukes and take them for a joy ride. We need some tough questions and clear answers. What the hell is going on? Did someone at Barksdale try to indirectly warn the American people that the Bush Administration is staging nukes for Iran? I don’t know, but it is a question worth asking.

    Larry C Johnson Bio
    Mr. Johnson, who worked previously with the Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. State Department’s Office of Counter Terrorism, is a recognized expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, crisis and risk management.


    Source: http://noquarterusa.net/blog/2007/09...ukes-for-iran/
    I have a feeling this is going to end up in the Debate Lounge at some point. This is most unnerving.

  15. #15

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    Re: Nukes put on B-52 by mistake

    Wow that is a mistake that could of went pretty pretty bad
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