An Air Force panel told Congress yesterday that "diminished focus" on nuclear weapons allowed six nuclear-armed missiles to be accidentally flown across the country last August, Reuters reports. "Training in nuclear procedures became less frequent without the daily activity required by nuclear alert conditions," the panel concludes in its written report.
Sen. Carl Levin contested claims by the US Air Force and Republican lawmakers that the missiles never posed a threat. "No one knew where they were, or even missed them, for over 36 hours," said the Michigan Democrat, adding that a crash could have caused a dangerous plutonium leak. Four Air Force officers lost their posts over the incident.