In a letter sent yesterday to General C. Robert Kehler at U.S. Strategic Command, POGO asked the Air Force to accept responsibility for misleading the public about a serious security breach at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.
As reported last week by CNN and the Washington Post, two Air Force officers at Minot are under investigation for removing classified nuclear missile components from the base. Both officers signed a document stating that they had destroyed the Band-Aid-sized launch code devices, but, for reasons that are unclear, they kept the components and took them home. An Air Force spokeswoman admitted that one of the devices is still missing.
POGO received a tip about this security breach a few months ago. But when reporters called the Air Force for more information based on POGO’s tip, Air Force public affairs officials copped to a different, less serious incident in which officers were caught sleeping at a missile alert facility.
Even when the Air Force finally admitted to the truth, they waited until the Thursday before Labor Day to break the news--a time-honored Washington tradition for burying a bad story.
Due to ongoing concerns about this serious security breach and the secretive manner in which it was handled, POGO is calling on General Kehler to hold the appropriate Air Force officials accountable.