"I'm all in."
The No. 2 officer at U.S. Strategic Command, who was suspended from his position because of a criminal investigation, is suspected of using counterfeit gambling chips in a poker game at a western Iowa casino, law enforcement sources said.
Stratcom commander Gen. Robert Kehler suspended Vice Adm. Tim Giardina from his duties as deputy commander on Sept. 3, according to Navy Capt. Pamela Kunze, a Stratcom spokeswoman.
She said Kehler had also recommended to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that Giardina be reassigned from his post.
Two U.S. officials familiar with the case said it involved "issues with gambling," and one of the officials added that misleading statements were also involved.
David Dales, a special agent in charge with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), told ABC News that in June his agency began an investigation centered on the introduction of counterfeit poker chips in a poker game at the Horseshoe Council Bluffs Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa. That city is located across the Missouri River from Omaha, Neb., which is near Stratcom's headquarters.
Dales said the use of counterfeit chips is "pretty rare" and constitutes "a Class D felony in the state of Iowa." Dale would not characterize the amount of chips used in the game, but described it as "a significant monetary amount."
A defense official said there is nothing to indicate there's been any compromise of Stratcom's mission or classified material in the matter involving Giardina.
Stratcom, based at Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue, Neb., oversees the military's nuclear units and weapons.
I admire the industry and creativity of those on the internet who see this as part of the cover for President Obama's "purge of the military," but I have my doubts. It seems more like another object lesson that just because someone has risen to a position of high authority doesn't mean that he is not a jackass and a scoundrel.