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United States The Military

US Nuclear Commander Suspended Over Gambling 149

mdsolar writes "The No 2 officer at the military command in charge of all US nuclear war-fighting forces has been suspended and is under investigation by the naval criminal investigation command for issues related to gambling, officials said on Saturday. The highly unusual action against a high-ranking officer at US strategic command was made more than three weeks ago but not publicly announced. Air force general Robert Kehler, who heads Strategic Command, suspended the deputy commander, navy vice admiral Tim Giardina, from his duties on September 3, according to the command's top spokeswoman, navy captain Pamela Kunze. Giardina is still assigned to the command but is prohibited from performing duties related to nuclear weapons and other issues requiring a security clearance, she said."
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US Nuclear Commander Suspended Over Gambling

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  • Just don't take real people out of the loop and hand over control to joshua

  • Chips (Score:5, Informative)

    by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Sunday September 29, 2013 @06:29PM (#44987871)
    • Also, here's the current military pay scales: []

      The guy is making around 12K a month.

      That's got to be a serious habbit to resort to using fake chips.

      • Re:Pay Scales (Score:5, Insightful)

        by lgw ( 121541 ) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @07:01PM (#44988003) Journal

        Gambling, hookers, and blow all scale to however much money you have.

        This is basic security clearance stuff. It you're doing anything that gives someone leverage over you (outside of your job), you don't get to know anything important. Seems reasonable to me.

        • So no girlfriends or wives then?

          • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @08:19PM (#44988397)

            So no girlfriends or wives then?

            You can have either, but not both.

            • Re:Pay Scales (Score:4, Insightful)

              by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @08:54PM (#44988535) Homepage Journal

              Pretty much. The simple rule is this. If you have secrets than you can not be trusted to keep the nations secrets.

              • by billstewart ( 78916 ) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @11:14PM (#44989079) Journal

                Yup. I was a defense contractor back in the 80s. While you couldn't be gay in the uniformed military, you could still have a security clearance and be a contractor or in the NSA or CIA - but you couldn't be in the closet, because that might be used for blackmail, especially in states where it was still illegal to be gay. So there were some famous researchers who'd had to come out to their families.

                They asked about a lot of other things; they didn't mind that some of my coworkers had used drugs back in college and then stopped, but they really freaked out when one guy said he'd smoked dope, liked it, and might well do it again :-) (It took an extra six months for his clearance to come through.) And they really cared a lot about people who had relatives in Communist countries, not because they were worried that Cousin Ivan might have corrupted you into being a Commie, but because the KGB might threaten to kill your grandma if you didn't give them the secret plans. In my case, they asked a bunch of questions one year about my involvement in the Libertarian Party, because some of them weren't quite familiar with the concept that there were more than two political parties (plus the Commies, and they'd kind of forgotten about George Wallace.)

                A friend of mine in the Air Force had a buddy who'd put down that his previous job experience included working at a candy store back home in the Bronx, and the guy who ran the place said he'd never heard of him. Had to have his dad go tell Cousin Luigi that it was the Feds checking on his security clearance for the service, not anybody checking into the numbers game that might or might not have been running out of the back room.

                • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
                  Yes bill it can be very strange. From the top of Australian anti commie efforts (spy) was the command for staff to be upstanding in all they did - no drink or other habits while defending the nation. The problem was the leadership was really totally drunk and the staff knew it :)
                  As for this story - the making of counterfit chips seems almost like a form of tech honeytrap but set internally or externally?
                  With Snowden, stories around other top US mil staff, the lack of traction on Syria - someone, an agen
                • one of the few cases of someone I know having been denied a clearance was due to lying about smoking dope. They don't really care if you once smoked, but they do care if you lie about it.

                  They care if you are hiding something so it can get tough if they think you are. Which is what your experience sounds like. It was mine as well and, when you they won't say what they think is going on it can be hard to convince someone that they're wrong and you aren't hiding anything. But it can be done (and I finally figu

                  • Back in the 80s, you didn't need a polygraph for a vanilla Secret or Top Secret clearance, and I didn't have any of the spooky clearances or DEA clearances so I don't know what they did. I don't think the nuke people needed them either, but we didn't do nukes. I think the only particular lifestyle restriction I had was that I couldn't travel to communist countries without notifying the Feds first.

            • by bitt3n ( 941736 )

              So no girlfriends or wives then?

              You can have either, but not both.

              fair enough. I'll limit myself to wives only.

        • by mrmeval ( 662166 )

          It's very reasonably and they will actively look for it. They have the authority to get bank account records, credit reports and traceable purchases such as land or cars and other indicators. If there is any hint investigators will go ask everyone in a command about everyone else.

          When the government spies on it's self it's just good clean fun.

      • One wonders how much greed is needed to cheat for more with that kind of salary. Would it be enough greed to drop a secret or two? Greed itself sounds like the biggest thing to remove him for.
        • Jeremy Michael Boorda commited suicide for much less. Hope they are watching this guy...


        • drop a secret or two? under the Uniform Code of Military Justice you can face death by firing squad for that.

          • Hi, former Navy guy here. Unfortunately, the US military hasn't executed anyone since 1961, although plenty of service members have committed capital offenses since then. I say this as someone who is a staunch opponent of capital punishment in the civilian sector, but has no patience or forgiveness for those convicted of espionage or treason while wearing a uniform.

            • by dbIII ( 701233 )
              That reminds me. Wasn't North in the Navy? Didn't he sell a huge quantity of weapons to Hezbolla less than a year after they killed over a hundred US Marines? I really am astonished that he's still got an actual job with the government instead of rotting in prison or in a grave. Snowdon, Manning etc are saints in comparison.
              • Worse, he was a USMC Lieutenant Colonel.

                I will note for the record that I draw a heavy line between Manning and Snowden. The former I would like to see executed, the latter I'd like to have a beer with. Anyone interested in the civil liberties of US citizens would understand the fundamental distinction between the two named persons.

                • by i ( 8254 )

                  Manning released information that shows US military committing war crimes - ordered ultimately by US government. Which is the same as the country.

                  War criminals have no right to judge anyone else.

                  • If all he'd released was the evidence you've cited, I'd have virtually no issue with Manning. Unfortunately, he released a shitload more than that. Try again.

            • by geekoid ( 135745 )

              " Unfortunately, the US military hasn't executed anyone since 1961"
              unfortunately? That's actually a good thing.
              Not that it will stop you jingosim from making excuses.

      • by jkroll ( 32063 )

        Actually, Vice Admiral is an O-9. Based on his bio [], he has over 34 years of service, so base pay alone is $16.4K/month. Probably lives in base housing, so with BAS and sub pay it totals close to $17K/month.

        If found guilty in the investigation, he will probably be retired at a lower rank. In addition to whatever civilian penalties are incurred. Assuming that there are no instances of military misconduct found, otherwise all bets are off.

        • If found guilty in the investigation, he will probably be retired at a lower rank.

          Unlikly. A reduction in rank would require an Article 15 as a minimum, and at his level, it's not going to happen. Retirement certainly. And he'd better do it now.

          • by schnell ( 163007 )

            My understanding (sorry can't find a source to cite) is that in the current US military, no general officer has an "real" rank higher than G-2 (Major General / Rear Admiral Upper Half). You only get appointed to jobs that require a G-3 or G-4, but if you didn't hold those jobs you would be treated as your "real" rank. If you retire while holding one of those jobs, then your retirement is treated at that rank level.

            Can anyone more knowledgeable than me confirm/deny or improve this explanation?

      • Re:Pay Scales (Score:4, Informative)

        by Decker-Mage ( 782424 ) <> on Sunday September 29, 2013 @11:37PM (#44989205)
        Actually this goes beyond your security clearance. To be around and handle nukes you are subject to the Personnel Reliability Program. There are a whole manual's worth of things that can get you knocked out of PRP but don't mean anything concerning your Nuclear security clearance. A gambling addiction? Yeah that'd get you knocked off. Being treated by steroids, or any drug that has psychiatric effects will do it too. As I well know from personal experience. Still have the clearance, can't work even under the two-man rule.
      • by Sir_Sri ( 199544 )

        12K a month is not really that much money.

        144k a year is enough that you can live very comfortably if you are responsible. And small enough that you can burn through it very quickly if you aren't. We have a lot of profs here in the 130 range and you can see it all the time. Some rush out and buy big houses, expensive cars and they try and pour on the renovations etc. Or they try and send their kids to expensive schools. And others buy modest houses and modest cars and ... aren't broke.

    • Tails I'll nuke, heads I don't.

  • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @06:32PM (#44987875) Homepage Journal

    "Push the button.... don't push the button... Lemme just flip a coin!"

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The only winning move is not to play...

  • Gentemen, (Score:5, Funny)

    by Zanadou ( 1043400 ) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @06:45PM (#44987931) can't fight in here: this is the war room!
  • What was he betting on? The outcome of WWIII? Well, I certainly hope he put his money on the right team.

    • I'll bet you $40 I can hit this part with a hammer without it going off... any takers?
    • He was betting that he wouldn't get caught trying to play with counterfeit chips, and that whoever provided him with them wouldn't try to blackmail him later. He definitely lost the first bet...

  • Yeah... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by painehope ( 580569 )

    We really want a guy who owes the Mob 200K in gambling debts being leaned on to turn over top-secret information to erase his gambling debts. It's pretty easy for someone with an addiction like that to snowball from handing out a floor-plan to an office containing harmless stuff to handing over access codes or whatever. One of the things about being in a position where you're entrusted with the safety and lives of your countrymen is that no one should be able to have leverage over you. It's one thing if so

  • by Joining Yet Again ( 2992179 ) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @06:55PM (#44987981) based on the assumption that, for the rest of eternity, no one group of people with access to nuclear weaponry will get trigger-happy.


  • by VinylRecords ( 1292374 ) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @07:00PM (#44987995)

    "The highly unusual action against a high-ranking officer at US strategic command was made more than three weeks ago but not publicly announced."

    This is only "highly unusual" because it is being reported throughout the mainstream media. But anyone who has been through an FBI/CIA interview knows that gambling issues are something that they probe for quite a bit. I doubt he was the first person fired or reprimanded that week for gambling.

    Want to work in the defense industry? Then don't gamble or bet on sports because it is a red flag that often disqualifies people from employment or association. The higher up you go the more they'll pry into your personal life. Asking friends from college or even high school if you ever gambled (or had a drinking problem, used drugs, etc.).

    • by oodaloop ( 1229816 ) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @07:26PM (#44988147)
      A little gambling is fine. I have a clearance, and many of my coworkers gamble on occasion. A gambling addiction, OTOH, is a problem. It opens you up to bribery or blackmail. Someone with a serious gambling problem and mountains of debt could more easily be persuaded to divulge secrets if someone offered to clear up the debt.
      • Yeah I spend far more on my model solders than I do occasionally playing poker in pubs even though i think we broke the law on the stakes £10 rather than £5
    • It's not that you can't do it, it's that you can't do it to a level that would allow anyone to have leverage over you.
    • For my "run of the mill" TS, they contacted people I had forgotten I even knew from high school (I'm 49). They knew about increadibly minor things I did 35 years ago and had long since forgotten.

      If the money were not as good as it is, I would have skipped the extended anal probe, specially because I get to do it all over again every few years.

      After the second time, I requested and recieved (via FOIA) a copy of the report that I keep and review when ever a "reinvestigation" comes up.

    • Petraeus left the CIA not long ago. Allen left the Army as well. The "unusual" claim seemed strange to me as well.
    • Basically anything that can get you blackmailed will disqualify someone for security clearance, as well as large financial debts. So in this case a big gambling problem is a double blow here; gambling addiction is good blackmail material for an enemy agent, who may also offer to pay off the bookie in exchange for some info. But a once a year trip to vegas won't disqualify anyone. Ie, keep the debts in check and demonstrate restraint.

    • Hm wonder how may family connections to UK off course bookies pre legalization would go do down in the USA :-) You dont often hear the term "mostly legal" at a funeral.
    • what is highly unusual is that the person who was suspended is high ranking. It may not be apparent to someone without military experience, but the higher the rank the more that gets overlooked. If you get caught with marijuana it makes a real difference whether you are a private or an officer (and the circumstances of the catch). NCOs cover for each other, which some take advantage of.

      Not to say that officers are immune. There was wholesale misappropriation of funds at one deployment and a low ranking offi

  • by tokencode ( 1952944 ) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @07:12PM (#44988059)
    I can hit this part with a hammer and it won't go off... any takers?
  • I don't believe gambling is the reason. I think it is more likely he is being suspended for another reason, but they don't want this "other" reason to be made public.

  • by Tau Neutrino ( 76206 ) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @07:16PM (#44988083)
    That's just the cover story. He's really been cooking meth.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Cooking meth is a calculated risk. Sure, stupid if you have a meth addiction... but if you know what you're doing, you can cook meth safely, and use it effectively to enhance your military career. A lot of guys in the military cook meth. Some are at the higher levels. They're not addicts, they just have high-pressure jobs and everyone needs to blow off steam once in a while. Hey, you nerds smoke dope and drink beers, so you're no saints.

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Sunday September 29, 2013 @07:42PM (#44988219)

    ... one live missile. Spin the selector and push the button.

  • Now deal me in.

  • If it's only been actually cheating while serving your team, like Bonds, McQuire, Rodriguez or the other cheats, then you could be in. But gambling? No HoF for you.
  • Obviously, he needs to be removed from his super-duper secret duties if the possibility of blackmail is significant but let's hope the poor fellow gets straightened out. Gambling is so terrible because first you go through disposable money, then the milk money and finally the money to which you have access but is not yours. My grandfather lost a house thanks to cards and horses; a friend's marriage broke up because her husband's business partner was a gambler. One day the fellow went to work and found his o

    • Or alternatively, Fuck him. Why should anyone have any sympathy for him? He's an irresponsible jerk, Fuck him.

      • by geekoid ( 135745 )

        I can't agree. But then I also know the difference between gambling it all away and a little bit for fun is all in a particular person dopamine level.

        IT is also why Casino game designers read BF Skinners work.
        Certain drubs can, literally, make it so you can't stop laying slot machines, for example.

        So I can't say 'fuck him'. Yes, pull away his responsibilities, but the man needs help.

  • There's plenty of ways to get the information at wholesale price. The guy in TFA was caught by the sort of oversight that is almost impossible to arrange for the sprawling outsourced agencies that Snowden described.
  • Look, I don't see a problem with him gambling. *Unless* he bet on war. That would be just a no-no and would go against all established tradition. If this scumbag bet on war, then he deserves a lifetime ban on war and any war-affiliated events. He should also be permanently barred from induction to the War Hall of Fame.

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.