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Project on Government Oversight

Minot Misses Again. Lost Nuclear Launch Code

Related Content: DOD Nuclear Weapons
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July 24, 2008

Sources tell POGO that the Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota has been on security lockdown after discovering that a nuclear weapon launch code was lost or misplaced within the last couple of weeks. Apparently, it was later determined that an airman improperly took the code home.

This fourth breach comes on the heels of three other recent Air Force nuclear security debacles. Minot’s 5th Bomb Wing failed a security test in May showing that terrorists could easily have stolen cruise missile nuclear warheads from the base; a B-52 bomber was flown from Minot to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana armed with nuclear cruise missiles last fall; and in August 2006 the Air Force accidentally shipped nuclear weapons parts to Taiwan. Gates took action in June by firing Air Force Secretary Michael W. Wynne and Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael "Buzz" Mosley.

POGO hears that Minot is having an all-hands meeting on this latest fiasco. We are eager to hear who will be held accountable for this unacceptable track record.

The Air Force decided against having a press conference on the temporarily missing code, in the hopes that the whole matter would just disappear. 

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO’s investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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