Up to 37 nuclear missile launch officers implicated in Air Force drug, cheating scandal
The cheating allegations surround routine tests that service members must take to prove their job proficiency.
BY JOSEPH STRAW / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
PUBLISHED: WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 15, 2014, 3:07 PM
UPDATED: WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 15, 2014, 3:57 PM
DAVID HILLS/GETTY IMAGES
Information on an Air Force cheating scandal emerged after investigators probed allegations of recreational drug use at several bases, including by those with the ability to launch nuclear missles.
WASHINGTON — A drug investigation of three Air Force officers with hands on the trigger of the nation’s nuclear arsenal has grown to include alleged exam cheating by as many as 34 others, Pentagon officials said Wednesday.
The stunning inquiry first reported last week involves six in the bases in the United States and England , three of which house nuclear weapons: F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., and Minot Air Force Base, N.D.
Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said that eight others — but none of those nuclear “launch” officers — are implicated in the drug case for a total of 11.
James said those implicated in the cheating scandal have lost their certifications and a total of roughly 200 will be required to retake their tests.
The case is being handled by the Air Force Office of Special investigations.
The scandal is the latest in a series of crises for the Air Force, which included a 2007 incident in which six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles were mistakenly flown from Minot to Barksdale Air Force Base, La.
In 2011 the branch began its investigation into charges of sexual abuse brought by 43 female recruits who passed through basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, Tex. Last year a three-star Air Force General based in Europe stoked outrage among lawmakers when he overturned a pilot’s sexual assault conviction, then declined to pursue charges against an enlisted airman accused of rape.
With News Wire Services