U.S. nuclear missile officers implicated in cheating scandal
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[January 29, 2014]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) — A U.S. Air
Force investigation into exam cheating by America's nuclear missile
officers has widened, with roughly double the original 34 officers now
under review, a U.S. official said on Tuesday, speaking on condition of
The Air Force disclosed this month that 34 officers were under
investigation, either for cheating on a key proficiency exam last
year or for knowing about the cheating and failing to report it.
Some nuclear officers have also been implicated in an investigation
into illegal drug possession.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last week ordered a high-level review
of the U.S. nuclear forces, saying he was "deeply concerned" about
morale and discipline among nuclear officers. Still, he insisted
U.S. nuclear arms were safe.
An Air Force spokesman confirmed that the number of officers under
investigation in the cheating scandal had increased from the
original 34, but declined to offer a precise number "to protect the
integrity of the investigation."
A U.S. official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said
the number of officers under investigation had roughly doubled.
The scandals are raising questions about how to keep up morale of
the nuclear force in the post-Cold War era, when officers face the
pressure of guarding the world's most destructive weapons without
the recognition of other high-profile missions.
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The investigations also come just months after the head of the ICBM
force, Air Force Major General Michael Carey, was fired for getting
drunk and carousing with women last year while leading a government
delegation to Moscow for talks on nuclear security.
(Reporting by Phil Stewart; editing by Mohammad Zargham)
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