The Mystery of Minot: Loose nukes and a cluster of dead airmen raise troubling questions

The unauthorized Aug. 29/30 cross-country flight of a B-52H Stratofortress armed with six nuclear-tipped AGM-29 Advanced Cruise missiles, which saw these 150-kiloton warheads go missing for 36 hours, has all the elements of two Hollywood movies. One would be a thriller about the theft from an armed weapons bunker of six nukes for some dark and murky purpose. The lead might be played by Matt Damon. The other movie would be a slapstick comedy about a bunch of bozos who couldn’t tell the difference between a nuclear weapon and a pile of dummy warheads. The lead might be played by Adam Sandler, backed by the cast of “Police Academy III.”

So far, the Pentagon, which has launched two separate investigations into the incident, seems to be assuming that it is dealing with the comedy version, saying that some incredible “mistake” led to nuclear weapons being taken inadvertently from a weapons-storage bunker, loaded into launch position on a bomber, and flown from North Dakota to Louisiana.

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