U.S. Accidentally Shipped Nuclear Fuses to Taiwan

The Washington Post is reporting that the U.S. Air Force accidentally shipped crates containing fuses used for Minuteman strategic nuclear missiles to in 2006 instead of helicopter batteries.

The error — undetected by the United States until last week, despite repeated inquiries by Taiwan — raises questions about how carefully the Pentagon safeguards its weapons systems. It also exposes the United States to criticism from China, a staunch opponent of a militarized Taiwan.

Pentagon officials said Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has launched a full investigation. The devices — which, when attached to a missile, help launch the detonating process — have been returned to the United States, and President Bush has been briefed.

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