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US soldiers inadvertently reveal nuclear secrets

US soldiers reviewing their knowledge online have revealed nuclear secrets, according to an investigation released Friday, May 28, by Bellingcat. The investigation site was able to precisely locate the American thermonuclear bombs stored in Europe.

The American soldiers in charge of this arsenal are regularly subjected to long and detailed security questionnaires, which obliges them to memorize a great deal of information and acronyms.

Googling for acronyms used by the U.S. military associated with the names of European military bases known to harbor nuclear missiles - even though the local government never recognized it - Bellingcat discovered online review sheets disclosing the exact location of the missiles, specifying even if they were "active", that is to say if they were well armed with nuclear warheads.

For example, on bases where B61 airborne nuclear missiles are stored, aircraft hangars (PAS, according to the acronym) are equipped with armament securing systems (WS3) and a concrete reinforcement (vault) which can house four B61 thermonuclear bombs, says Bellingcat author Foeke Postma.

By typing in the Google search line “PAS”, “WS3” and “vault”, along with the name of a military base known to house such weapons, the journalist was offered free file applications. reviews for students, such as Chegg, Quizlet and Cram.

Files removed from applications

The Dutch government has never officially recognized that the Volkel airbase in the southeast of the country was home to nuclear weapons. But Bellingcat discovered, on the Chegg app, 70 revision sheets relating to it. We learn that there are eleven armatures of protection in Volkel, of which five are "hot" - which means that they are armed - and six "cold".

Other review sheets found on the Cram app reveal that, at the Aviano base in Italy, frame 27 in the “Tango Loop” area houses a “cold” missile. Worse, a soldier had entered, on one of these online review sheets, the passwords, and usernames required to deactivate the WS3 security systems.

"We were also able to find details on (…) all the other European bases known to house nuclear weapons: Incirlik (Turkey), Ghedi (Italy), B├╝chel (Germany) and Kleine Brogel (Belgium)", notes the site of investigation, known to have unmasked agents of the GRU, Russian military intelligence, and documented the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government.

These review sheets date from 2012, and the most recent was posted online in April 2021, said Foeke Postma, who said he tried, unsuccessfully, to get a reaction from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. , the Pentagon and the European Command of the US Army for his article. The revision sheets were removed from the applications as a result of his process.

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