US military stokes N Korea flames with ‘secret nuclear silos’ claim
US Strategic Command, which is responsible for the Department of Defense’s global operations, shared a KPNX article on Twitter Wednesday, prompting a furious backlash and accusations it’s spreading fake news
The offending piece is a report by Mark Curtis, who went on a tour of the nuclear ballistic-class submarine, the U.S.S. Kentucky. The ship is part of the “nuclear triad” which includes land-based missiles “fired from secret silos,” with B-1 bombers “that can drop them from the air,” the report reads.
"The teeth of the U.S. nuclear triad is the submarine fleet, accounting for 70 percent of the firepower" - Cmdr. James Hurt, commander of Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Kentucky (SSBN 737).https://t.co/k83yqRRqF9pic.twitter.com/27DvW9cphy— US Strategic Command (@US_Stratcom) November 15, 2017
"The teeth of the U.S. nuclear triad is the submarine fleet, accounting for 70 percent of the firepower," Commander James Hurt, of Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Kentucky (SSBN 737), Strategic Command tweeted along with a link to the article.
The tweet soon drew sharp criticism, with many accusing the military of sharing a “false and misleading” article that could further fuel tensions with North Korea. The US regularly flies B-1 bombers near North Korea as a show of force. It recently flew B-1 bombers closer to the Demilitarized Zone than any US warplanes in the 21st century.
What the hell guys. C’mon. Secret silos and B-1s? Don’t spread false information through the official handle. https://t.co/w96hVSbcr6— Vipin Narang (@NarangVipin) November 15, 2017
Here's the official US STRATCOM Twitter account linking to an article alleging that the U.S. has "land-based missiles fired from *secret* silos" (false) and nuclear-capable B-1s (false). https://t.co/9zh1tBqbqt— Ankit Panda (@nktpnd) November 15, 2017
Great~#FalseFlags from Official Channels :(— Sergeant Sara Connor (@HurricaneIrmaUS) November 16, 2017
Worst than fake news is official fake news.— Frederico Duboc (@fredericoduboc) November 15, 2017
Twitter users pointed out that the US doesn't have secret silos as their locations can be found on Google. A number of experts also pointed out that the B-1 bomber isn’t able to drop nuclear bombs. They originally had the capacity to carry nuclear weapons, but that mission ended in 1994 and they were converted to conventional weapon carriers under the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
Every year, Russian officials travel to US airbases to ensure the B-1B Lancer is complying with START, which states the one-time nuclear bomber continues to be disarmed, Military.com reports.
Dear fellow reporters (and, inexplicably, STRATCOM), for the last time, the BONE had its nuclear capabilities ripped out more than two decades ago. The B-1 will NOT drop the a-bomb. For the most part, this means the B-52 and B-2 are the strategic bombers. https://t.co/l15ChP7Ls1— Carl Prine (@CarlPrinetweets) November 15, 2017
Strategic Command responded to the criticism by tweeting, “The rest of the piece provided good insight into life aboard an SSBN. We have reached out to the reporter to properly characterize the nuclear triad, and appreciate @Oriana0214's continued focus on the B-1B as a conventional-only weapons platform.”
The rest of the piece provided good insight into life aboard an SSBN. We have reached out to the reporter to properly characterize the nuclear triad, and appreciate @Oriana0214's continued focus on the B-1B as a conventional-only weapons platform.— US Strategic Command (@US_Stratcom) November 15, 2017
Not to mention reflexively pointless secrecy from the USS Kentucky's commander about whether the Trident II D5 SLBMs it carries are armed with nuclear warheads (at 3:05): "I can neither confirm nor deny the presence of nuclear warheads on this ship."— Stephen Schwartz (@AtomicAnalyst) November 15, 2017