WASHINGTON -- The deputy commander of U.S. nuclear forces, Vice Adm. Tim Giardina, was notified Wednesday that he has been relieved of duty amid a military investigation of allegations that he used counterfeit chips at an Iowa casino, the Navy said.
The move is exceedingly rare and perhaps unprecedented in the history of U.S. Strategic Command, which is responsible for all American nuclear warfighting forces, including nuclear-armed submarines, bombers and land-based missiles.
The Navy's top spokesman, Rear Adm. John Kirby, said Giardina, who had held the job since December 2011, is being reassigned to the Navy staff pending the outcome of the probe by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. The gambling matter originated as a local law enforcement investigation in Iowa in June.
As a consequence of being removed from his post at Strategic Command, Giardina falls in rank to two-star admiral. He was suspended by Gen. Robert Kehler, the top commander at Strategic Command, on Sept. 3, although that move was not disclosed publicly until Sept. 28.
Shutdown delays SS COLA notice: Nearly 58 million Social Security recipients are still getting monthly benefits during the partial government shutdown. But they will have to wait to find out the size of next year's cost-of-living adjustment. Social Security was scheduled to announce the annual raise Oct. 16. That's the same day the Labor Department was scheduled to release inflation statistics for September. The Labor Department, however, said Wednesday it will not issue the inflation report because of the shutdown. No new release date was set.
Says she never consorted with devil: For the record, the Internal Revenue Service official in charge of implementing a big part of the new health care law tells Congress she has never knowingly consorted with the devil. And she cannot fly. Sarah Hall Ingram was testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Wednesday when Congressman Gerald Connolly tried to mock Republican efforts to demonize her. The Virginia Democrat asked Ingram several unorthodox questions about witchcraft as part of the hearing.
Weighs assisted suicide charge: A Pennsylvania judge will be asked today to dismiss an assisted suicide charge filed against a nurse in her 93-year-old father's death while on hospice. Barbara Mancini has the vocal backing of a group called Compassion & Choices, which supports "aid in dying" and other end-of-life options. Mancini, 57, of Philadelphia, is accused of giving morphine to her terminally ill father, Joe Yourshaw, at his Pottsville home in February. Defense attorneys call her a loving daughter who only handed him the bottle of morphine at his request. They also argue that there's no evidence the morphine killed him.
Braces for long sentence: The most significant public corruption case in Detroit history is closing with a sentence for former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Kilpatrick is bracing for a long stretch behind bars. His lawyers hope the judge doesn't order more than 15 years today, although prosecutors are seeking at least 28 years in prison. Kilpatrick was convicted of two dozen crimes last spring after prosecutors presented evidence of bribes, kickbacks and unreported income. Agents who pored over bank accounts and credit cards said Kilpatrick spent $840,000 beyond his salary. The government said city hall was "up for grabs for the right price."
Takes steps to protect investors: Fidelity Investments, the nation's largest money market mutual fund manager, has sold all of its short-term U.S. government debt -- the latest sign that investors are increasingly nervous about the possibility of a government default. Money market portfolio managers at Fidelity Investments started selling off short-term U.S. government debt a couple of weeks ago, Nancy Prior, president of Fidelity's Money Market Group, said Wednesday. While Fidelity expects the debt ceiling issue to be resolved, the Boston-based asset manager said it has taken steps to protect investors.
GM recalling pickup trucks: General Motors is recalling nearly 22,000 full-size pickup trucks to fix problems with the seats. The recall affects Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups from the 2014 model year. The trucks have manual front reclining seat backs. Dealers will inspect the seat backs and adjust them if needed.