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WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal agents hired to transport nuclear weapons and components sometimes got drunk while on convoy missions, a government watchdog said Monday. In an incident last year, police detained two agents who went to a bar during an assignment.
The Energy Department's assistant inspector general, Sandra D. Bruce, said her office reviewed 16 alcohol-related incidents involving agents, candidate-agents and others from the government's Office of Secure Transportation between 2007 through 2009. Nearly 600 federal agents ship nuclear weapons, weapon components and special nuclear material across the U.S.
Two incidents in particular raised red flags, the report said, because they happened during secure transportation missions while agents checked into local hotels while on extended missions. In these cases, the vehicles were placed in "safe harbor," meaning they were moved to secure locations.
In one case, in 2007, an agent was arrested for public intoxication. The other occurred last year, when police handcuffed and temporarily detained two agents after an incident at a bar.
"Alcohol incidents such as these, as infrequent as they may be, indicate a potential vulnerability in OST's critical national security mission," the report warns.
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