WASHINGTON - A US Air Force investigation into exam cheating by America's nuclear missile officers has widened, with roughly double the original 34 officers now under review, a US official said on Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Air Force disclosed this month that 34 officers were under investigation, either for cheating on a key proficiency exam last year or for knowing about the cheating and failing to report it. Some nuclear officers have also been implicated in an investigation into illegal drug possession.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last week ordered a high-level review of the U.S. nuclear forces, saying he was "deeply concerned" about morale and discipline among nuclear officers. Still, he insisted U.S. nuclear arms were safe.

An Air Force spokesman confirmed that the number of officers under investigation in the cheating scandal had increased from the original 34, but declined to offer a precise number "to protect the integrity of the investigation."


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