Report finds drunk nuclear-weapons drivers

Zachary Roth
Senior National Affairs Reporter
The Lookout

The driver of a truck carrying nuclear weapons or components was arrested for public intoxication, and two other drivers were handcuffed and detained after an alcohol-related incident at a bar, according to a government watchdog.


A report [pdf] by an official in the inspector general's office for the Energy Department said that 16 alcohol-related incidents involving the government's Office of Secure Transportation (OST) had been investigated:

Of the 16 incidents, 2 were of the greatest concern because they occurred during secure transportation missions while the Agents were in Rest Overnight Status, which occurs during extended missions where convoy vehicles are placed in a safe harbor and Agents check into local area hotels. In 2007, an Agent was arrested for public intoxication, and, in 2009, two Agents were handcuffed and temporarily detained by police officers after an incident at a local bar.

The inspector general's office concluded that such incidents "indicate a potential vulnerability in OST's critical national security mission."

The National Nuclear Security Administration charges the Energy Department with responsibility for storing and safeguarding nuclear material.

The findings come on the heels of other news about worrying slip-ups in the U.S. nuclear program. Last month, 50 nuclear weapons located at an Air Force base in Wyoming went offline for around 45 minutes thanks to a computer glitch -- the latest in a string of mishaps that has plagued the program. Some experts say a lack of direction is at the root of the problems.

(File photo: AP)