No. 2 US nuke chief suspended over gambling probe



Published time: September 29, 2013 00:54

The Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS Wyoming (SSBN 742) approaches Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga.(Photo by: Lt. Rebecca Rebarich tratcom.mil)

The general in charge of all US nuclear offensive forces has suspended his deputy, Navy Vice Adm. Tim Giardina, over his suspected role in a casino scandal that involved “a significant monetary amount” of counterfeit gambling chips.

Air Force Gen. Robert Kehler suspended Giardina on September 3
without publicly announcing the move.

Giardina is currently under state investigation by the Naval
Criminal Investigative Service, but has not been arrested or
charged thus far, a Strategic Command top spokeswoman, Navy Capt.
Pamela Kunze, said.

Giardina was prohibited from performing duties related to nuclear
weapons and other issues requiring a security clearance, Kunze
told AP.

Criminal investigators discovered “a significant monetary
amount”
in counterfeit chips at the Horseshoe Casino in
Council Bluffs, Iowa, DCI special agent David Dales announced on
Saturday.

“We were able to detect this one pretty quickly and jump on
it,”

Vice Admiral Timothy M. "Tim" Giardina.(Photo from stratcom.mil) Dales said, without giving any details on
how Giardina might have been involved. He said Giardina had been
under investigation since June 16 and his superior became aware
of it on July 17.

Giardina – a career submarine officer and former deputy commander
and chief of staff at the US Pacific Fleet – became deputy
commander of Strategic Command in December 2011. Strategic
Command is one of the Unified Combatant Commands overseeing the
entirety of the US nuclear force, including nuclear-armed
submarines and nuclear bombers, as well as land-based nuclear
missiles. It is also in charge of military satellites,
intelligence, surveillance, and US information warfare
operations.

The unusual action became another blow to the US nuclear command
after an officer in charge of a nuclear missile unit at Malmstrom
Air Force Base was relieved of duty last month after the unit failed a safety and security inspection. Last
spring another unit in Minot, North Dakota received weak grades
on a safety inspection, resulting in 17 launch control officers
temporarily being placed off duty.

Meanwhile, the previous head of Strategic Command, Gen. James
“Hoss” Cartwright, is under a DoJ investigation for leaking classified
information to the press. Cartwright, a four-star general, was
stripped of his security clearance, Foreign Policy reported last
week.

Copyright: RT