October 23rd, 2013
08:34 PM ET

Missile doors left open while Air Force nuclear officer slept

By Barbara Starr

 

In another public embarrassment for the Air Force's nuclear missile program, two crew members were disciplined earlier this year for leaving silo blast doors open while they were on duty in an underground facility housing nuclear missiles.

The incidents, first reported by the Associated Press, were confirmed Wednesday by the Air Force.

Under Air Force regulations, a two-man missile launch crew is required to keep the underground blast door shut when one crew member is asleep during the 24-hour shift.

In April a crew member was found "derelict in his duties in that he left the blast door open in order to receive a food delivery from the onsite chef" while the other crew member was on an authorized sleep break, Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. John Sheets said in a statement.

The crew member who was found "derelict" received a punishment of forfeiting $2,246 in pay for each of two months. The other crew member admitted to similar misconduct "on a few occasions" and received a letter of admonishment. The April incident occurred at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.

In May, at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, a maintenance team was allowed into an underground launch control center while one crew member was sleeping, in violation of rules. In this case, the commander of the crew, when questioned about the incident, told the deputy to lie about being asleep, which she initially did, according to officials.

The incident was investigated, and both crew members were disciplined. The commander is forfeiting $3,045 in pay for each of two months and facing a discharge board.

Air Force officials insist security was not compromised in these incidents because there are multiple layers of security above ground that would keep unauthorized personnel from gaining access to a launch control center. The centers are generally 40 feet to 100 feet underground, and the two-man crew controls as many as 10 missile silos.

There also are multiple layers of security surrounding nuclear launch codes.

But the disclosures come on the heels of the firing of the two-star general in charge of the Air Force's three nuclear wings. Earlier this month, Maj. Gen. Michael Carey was "relieved" of command "due to a loss of trust and confidence in his leadership and judgment," the Air Force said at the time. Carey's removal had to do with reports of alleged misbehavior on a business trip.

In August, one of the Air Force's nuclear wings failed a safety and security inspection and a separate wing did poorly in an inspection earlier in the year, which resulted in 17 military personnel being decertified from their jobs. They have since undergone retraining and are back at work.

FBI Names New National Security Chief
October 23rd, 2013
04:18 PM ET

FBI Names New National Security Chief

By Evan Perez

The FBI on Wednesday named Andrew McCabe, a long time terrorism investigator, to its top national security post.

Agency Director James Comey promoted McCabe, the assistant director of the National Security Branch, which oversees the bureau’s terrorism, intelligence, counterintelligence and weapons of mass destruction investigations.

McCabe was the first director of the FBI-led High-Value Interrogation Group in 2009, set up by the Obama administration to handle intelligence questioning of terrorism suspects after the President Barack Obama dismantled the Central Intelligence Agency’s controversial interrogation program.
He began his career in 1996 with the FBI’s organized crime squad in New York.

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$500 per gallon for gas – Sticker shock from war spending waste
The hospital in Gardez, Afghanistan under construction.
October 23rd, 2013
04:16 PM ET

$500 per gallon for gas – Sticker shock from war spending waste

By Jamie Crawford

$500 for a gallon of fuel?

That was the exorbitant figure paid with U.S. tax dollars to a contractor building a hospital in rural Afghanistan, according to a report from the government watchdog tasked with investigating expenditures on Afghanistan's reconstruction.

In the report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the International Organization for Migration was found to lack sufficient internal controls able to detect overpayments of at least $507,000 to the contractor it hired to build a 100-bed hospital in the town of Gardez.

It was part of a project begun in July 2008 in a cooperative agreement between the United States International Agency for Development and IOM.

The examples of oversight ineptitude are staggering.
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Kerry, Netanyahu discuss Iranian nuclear program in Rome
Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Rome on Wednesday.
October 23rd, 2013
10:10 AM ET

Kerry, Netanyahu discuss Iranian nuclear program in Rome

By Jamie Crawford

Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States will not let up its pressure on Iran over its disputed nuclear program despite recent diplomatic overtures between the two countries.

"We will pursue a diplomatic initiative with eyes wide open," Kerry said in Rome during a meeting Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, "aware it will be vital for Iran to live up to those standards other nations that have nuclear programs live up to as they prove those programs are indeed peaceful."

Despite a softening of rhetoric on some fronts by the regime in Tehran, there have been fears by other countries in the region that the United States might be too quick to offer incentives to Iran in the latest round of negotiations between Iran and the group known as the P5+1, which includes the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany.

Netanyahu, who has said Iran's nuclear program poses an existential threat to Israel, was cautious in his assessment of the current state of play.
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White House national security official fired for tweeting insults
October 23rd, 2013
07:15 AM ET

White House national security official fired for tweeting insults

By CNN Staff

A White House national security official was fired after sending sometimes insulting messages on Twitter under a fake name, a senior administration official said.

The story about National Security Council Director of Nonproliferation Jofi Joseph was first reported by the Daily Beast.

Joseph was fired for messages sent on the account @natsecwonk, the administration official confirmed to CNN's Jake Tapper.

That account had been deleted Tuesday evening.

FULL STORY
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