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Top US Nuke Commander Faces Gambling Probe
The man who is second in charge at the military command responsible for all US nuclear war-fighting forces has been suspended amid a gambling investigation.
Navy Vice Admiral Tim Giardina is suspected in a case involving counterfeit gambling chips at a western Iowa casino, officials said.
Mr Giardina has not been arrested or charged, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) special agent David Dales said, and the state investigation was ongoing.
DCI agents stationed at the Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa, discovered the counterfeit chips, Mr Dales said.
He would not say when the discovery was made or how much in counterfeit chips was found, only that "it was a significant monetary amount".
"We were able to detect this one pretty quickly and jump on it," Mr Dales said.
He declined to say how authorities determined that casino chips had been counterfeited or how Mr Giardina might have been involved.
Mr Giardina, deputy commander at US Strategic Command, was suspended on September 3 and is under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, a command spokeswoman said.
The highly unusual action against a high-ranking officer at Strategic Command was made more than three weeks ago but not publicly announced at that time.
Strategic Command oversees the military's nuclear fighter units, including the Navy's nuclear-armed submarines and the Air Force's nuclear bombers and nuclear land-based missiles.
The command is located at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Nebraska.
Air Force General Robert Kehler, who heads Strategic Command, suspended Mr Giardina, according to the command's top spokeswoman, Navy Captain Pamela Kunze.
Mr 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.