- - Monday, November 22, 2010

NUCLEAR WEAPONS

Report: Nuclear weapon drivers got drunk

Government agents hired to drive nuclear weapons and components in trucks sometimes got drunk on the job, including an incident last year in which two agents were detained by police at a local bar during a convoy mission, according to a report Monday by the Energy Department’s watchdog.

The 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 from 2007 through 2009. There are nearly 600 federal agents who ship nuclear weapons, weapon components and special nuclear material across the United States.

The report said two incidents in particular raised red flags because they happened during “secure transportation missions” when agents checked into local hotels during extended missions, and the vehicles were placed in “safe harbor.”

One of those occurred in 2007, when an agent was arrested for public intoxication; the other happened last year, when police handcuffed and temporarily detained two agents after an incident at a local bar.

The report recommends that officials consider actions such as a “zero tolerance” policy for alcohol incidents.

CRIME

Former aide sentenced to jail

A former congressional aide who golfed in Scotland at lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s expense is being ordered to spend 12 weekends in jail.

Mark Zacharys, former aide to Rep. Don Young, Alaska Republican, also was sentenced Monday to four years’ probation and 200 hours community service and faces a $4,000 fine.

Zacharys could have faced years in prison, but prosecutors requested a lighter sentence because he helped investigate two congressmen in the Abramoff influence-peddling scandal.

Prosecutors did not identify the congressmen but said they ultimately were not charged.

Zacharys took an all-expense-paid trip with Abramoff in August 2003 valued at more than $160,000 to play golf at Scotland’s St. Andrews and other world-famous courses, then lied about it on disclosure forms.

ENVIRONMENT

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