March 27, 2008

Gates orders inventory of US nukes

Can you spell ..

a-b-o-u-t b-l-o-o-d-y t-i-m-e !!

and this article is loaded with disinfo, too.

Gates orders inventory of US nukes

By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer 44 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Robert Gates has ordered a full
inventory of all nuclear weapons and related materials after the
mistaken delivery of ballistic missile fuses to Taiwan, the Pentagon
said Thursday.

Gates told officials with the Air Force, Navy and Defense Logistics
Agency to assess inventory control procedures for the materials and to
submit a report within 60 days.

Earlier this week, Gates directed Navy Adm. Kirkland H. Donald to take
charge of a full investigation of the delivery mistake in which four
cone-shaped electrical fuses used in intercontinental ballistic
missile warheads were shipped to the Taiwanese instead of the
helicopter batteries they had ordered.

It was the second nuclear-related mistake involving the military that
has been revealed in recent months. In August an Air Force B-52 bomber
was mistakenly armed with six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and flown
from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., to Barksdale Air Force Base, La. At
the time, the pilot and crew were unaware they had nuclear arms

The electrical fuses were delivered in fall 2006, but the military did
not fully realize the gravity of the blunder until last week. The
revelation sparked sharp protests from China and forced President Bush
to acknowledge the error in a phone call Wednesday with Chinese
President Hu Jintao.

While the shipment did not contain nuclear materials, the error is
particularly sensitive because China vehemently opposes U.S. arms
sales to Taiwan. U.S. officials were quick to say that the incident
did not suggest any change in policies toward Taiwan arms sales.

But China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said, in a statement
posted on the agency's Web site, that China had sent a protest to
Washington expressing "strong displeasure."

He said China demanded the U.S. investigate the matter and report back
to China to "eliminate the negative effects and disastrous
consequences created by this incident."

Despite quarterly checks of the inventory, defense officials said they
never knew the fuses were gone. Only after months of discussions with
Taiwan over the missing batteries did the Pentagon finally realize —
late last week — the seriousness of what had happened.

During that time, according to a senior Taiwan defense official, the
U.S. initially asked Taiwan to dispose of the missile fuses. U.S.
officials said that early on it was thought the Taiwanese had simply
received the wrong batteries.

Once the error was discovered, the military quickly recovered the four
fuses, which are linked to the triggering mechanisms in Minuteman
nuclear missile nose cones. But Gates has demanded sweeping reviews to
discover how it happened and whether it indicates a broader problem in
the security of the military's nuclear weapons and related materials.

In his memo released Thursday, Gates ordered a physical inventory of
all nuclear related items. Donald, whose assessment is separate from
the agencies' inventories, must provide Gates with an initial report
by April 15.


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