US drivers drunk in charge of nuclear weapons

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The Independent US

Agents hired to transport nuclear weapons in the US have been getting drunk on the job, according to a report by the US Energy Department's watchdog.

The department's assistant inspector general, Sandra D. Bruce, said yesterday that her office reviewed 16 alcohol-related incidents involving agents, candidate-agents and others from the government's Office of Secure Transportation between 2007 and 2009. There are nearly 600 agents who truck nuclear weapons, weapon components and special nuclear material across the US.

The report said that two incidents in particular raised red flags because they happened during "secure transportation missions" while agents checked into local hotels during extended missions. In these cases, the vehicles were placed in "safe harbour," meaning they were moved to safe and secure locations.

One of those occurred in 2007, when an agent was arrested for public intoxication; the other happened last year, when police handcuffed and temporarily detained two agents after an incident at a local bar.