Mikael Thalen
Sept. 30, 2013

giardinaNavy officials revealed the alleged gambling related suspension of Vice Adm. Tim Giardina Friday, U.S. Strategic Command’s No. 2 officer in charge of the country’s nuclear fighting forces.

According to Navy spokeswoman Capt. Pamela Kunze, a law enforcement agency began investigating Giardina June 16 for connection to counterfeit gambling chips from a western Iowa casino. After learning of the investigation a month later on July 16, Strategic Command’s head commander, Air Force Gen. Robert Kehler, ordered the Naval Criminal Investigative Service to begin a similar investigation into the incident. Keheler ordered Giardina’s suspension on Sept. 3 before sending reassignment recommendations to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

Giardina, who currently faces no charges or threats of arrest, still works with Strategic Command at a lesser capacity despite the suspension. Giardina is reportedly barred from involvement in nuclear weapons related duties while the internal investigation is ongoing.

Division of Criminal Investigation special agent David Dales, who works at the Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa, revealed that the counterfeit chips equaled a “significant monetary amount” but declined to release any further information.

“We were able to detect this one pretty quickly and jump on it,” Dales added.

The suspension, which many have called “highly unusual,” follows the disturbing report of an illegal nuclear warhead transfer to South Carolina from Dyess Air Force Base in Texas, a military installation under the Strategic Air Command. That same day, Senator Lindsay Graham strangely announced that South Carolina would likely be subject to a nuclear attack if the United States did not immediately intervene militarily in Syria.

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