The Military's Deputy Nuke Commander Was Suspended for Gambling

National Journal

Update, SundayThe New York Times' Ravi Somaiya and Michael Schwirtz have an interesting update about this case. Giardina was first investigated by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation over the "possible use of counterfeit gambling chips at the Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa," according to the Times

Original The deputy officer at military command in charge of U.S. nuclear operations is currently suspended, barred from his access to the red button, because of a gambling probe. The Omaha World Herald's Steve Liewer reports U.S. Strategic Command suspended Giardina on September 3 after the Naval Criminal Investigation Service started investigating Navy Vice Admiral Tim Giardina for gambling issues. Unfortunately, the report does not elaborate. The Associated Press's Robert Burns confirmed Giardina's "highly unusual" suspension with Strategic Command officials on Saturday. 

According to a U.S. Strategic Command spokesperson, Strategic Command wasn't going to confirm the suspension publicly until the investigation into Giardina was complete. Liewer's report apparently forced their hand. What's really interesting is how the NCIS discovered the problems: 

The spokeswoman said a law enforcement agency, which she would not identify, began an investigation of Giardina on June 16. Kehler became aware of this on July 16, and the following day he asked the Naval Criminal Investigation Service to begin a probe.

Giardina is still around, but isn't allowed near any important responsibilities -- like nukes or anything that requires a security clearance -- until things are cleared up. Giardina may be reassigned depending on how Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel assesses the results of the investigation. He's a career submarine officer who has been awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, along with plenty of others, during his long career.

Reprinted with permission from the Atlantic Wire. The original story can be found here.

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