Updated: Wed, 15 Jan 2014 13:09:48 GMT | By Lolita C. Baldor And Robert Burns, The Associated Press, thecanadianpress.com

Air Force: 34 missile officers in cheating scandal



Air Force: 34 missile officers in cheating scandal

FILE - In this Nov. 7, 2013 file photo, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. A drug investigation of officers at six Air Force bases, including two that operate nuclear missiles, has been widened to include allegations of cheating on certification tests, defense officials said Wednesday. Welsh and Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James planned a news conference Wednesday to update the status of the investigation. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Air Force says 34 nuclear missile launch officers have been implicated in a cheating scandal and have been stripped of their certification in what is believed to be the largest such breach of integrity in the nuclear force.

Some of the officers apparently texted to each other the answers to a monthly test on their knowledge of how to operate the missiles. Others may have known about it but did not report it.

The cheating was discovered during a drug investigation that involves 11 Air Force officers across six bases in the U.S. and England.

Of the three missile launch officers involved in the drug scandal, two are at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana and one is at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming. The two at Malmstrom are among those implicated in the cheating scandal.

It's the latest controversy involving the service members who maintain and operate the nation's 450 nuclear missiles.

more video