Last year, two got so plastered in a bar en route that police were called in.
Sandra D. Bruce, assistant inspector general for The U.S. Department of Energy, told The Associated Press that he office reviewed 16 alcohol-related incidents from 2007 through 2009. The incidents involved agents, candidate-agents and others employed by the Federal Office of Secure Transportation.
Some 600 agents work in the program.
Reports The Associated Press:
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.
The report did not identify the locations for either incident, and the inspector general’s office declined to identify them Monday, citing the safe harbor locations.
The findings alarmed some lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
“I was appalled to learn that some couriers responsible for transporting nuclear weapons and material were found to be drinking on the job,” said Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., who chairs the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee. He said he would seek a full briefing from the inspector general.
“We cannot tolerate any behavior that falls short of the level of excellence required and expected when it comes to protecting and handling our nation’s most powerful and dangerous weapons,” Langevin said.
Rep. Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is seeking more information on the report and will be monitoring implementation of the recommendations, a committee spokeswoman said.
“As the report suggests, a potential vulnerability in the secure transportation of nuclear materials is entirely unacceptable,” said Towns.