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The Boston Globe

Nation

17 officers removed at N. Dakota nuclear missile base

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel demanded more information Wednesday after the Air Force removed 17 launch officers from duty at a nuclear missile base in North Dakota over what a commander called ‘‘rot’’ in the force. The Air Force struggled to explain, acknowledging concern about an ‘‘attitude problem’’ but telling Congress the weapons were secure.

Hagel reacted strongly after the Associated Press reported the unprecedented sidelining of the officers at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., where one of their commanders complained of ‘‘such rot’’ that even the willful violation of safety rules, including a possible compromise of launch codes, was tolerated.

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