Conspiracy Theories

U.S. Nuke Secrets for Sale? And What Was the Deal With that B-52 Stratofortress Again?

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Interesting (and quite alarming, if true) piece from the London Sunday Times that has gotten very little U.S. play, about accusations by a former FBI translator. The basic deal:

[Sibel Edmonds] approached The Sunday Times last month after reading about an Al-Qaeda terrorist who had revealed his role in training some of the 9/11 hijackers while he was in Turkey.

Edmonds described how foreign intelligence agents had enlisted the support of US officials to acquire a network of moles in sensitive military and nuclear institutions.

Among the hours of covert tape recordings, she says she heard evidence that one well-known senior official in the US State Department was being paid by Turkish agents in Washington who were selling the information on to black market buyers, including Pakistan.

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She claims that the FBI was also gathering evidence against senior Pentagon officials – including household names – who were aiding foreign agents.

"If you made public all the information that the FBI have on this case, you will see very high-level people going through criminal trials," she said.

Her story shows just how much the West was infiltrated by foreign states seeking nuclear secrets. It illustrates how western government officials turned a blind eye to, or were even helping, countries such as Pakistan acquire bomb technology.

Dave Lindorff at CounterPunch does a spinoff of the Sunday Times piece and ties it into one of those "oh yeah, what was that all about?" moment that provide so much fun fodder for conspiracy theorizing:

If Edmonds' story is correct, and Al-Qaeda, with the aid of Turkish government agents and Pakistani intelligence, with the help of US government officials, has been attempting to obtain nuclear materials and nuclear information from the U.S., it casts an even darker shadow over the mysterious and still unexplained incident last August 30, when a B-52 Stratofortress, based at the Minot strategic air base in Minot, ND, against all rules and regulations of 40 years' standing, loaded and flew off with six unrecorded and unaccounted for nuclear-tipped cruise missiles.

That incident only came to public attention because three as yet unidentified Air Force whistleblowers contacted a reporter at the Military Times newspaper, which ran a series of stories about it, some of which were picked up by other US news organizations.

An Air Force investigation into that incident, ordered by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, claimed improbably that the whole thing had been an "accident," but many veterans of the US Air Force and Navy with experience in handling nuclear weapons say that such an explanation is impossible, and argue that there had to have been a chain or orders from above the level of the base commander for such a flight to have occurred.

Incredibly, almost five months after that bizarre incident (which included several as yet unexplained deaths of B-52 pilots and base personnel occurring in the weeks shortly before and after the flight), in which six 150-kiloton warheads went missing for 36 hours, there has been no Congressional investigation and no FBI investigation into what happened.

Accidents can happen.