Russian Gen. Lebed Warned of Suitcase Nukes, Dies in Crash
- HOW COME SO MANY PEOPLE WHO KNOW THINGS DIE IN CRASHES?
Former top Russian security official Gen. Aleksandr Lebed, who warned
the U.S. Congress five years ago that at least 80 suitcase-sized
nukes from the old Soviet Union's weapons arsenal had gone missing,
was killed Sunday in a helicopter crash.
At the time of his death, Lebed was governor of the huge Krasnoyarsk
region of Russia, and was considered a key regional leader, the
Associated Press said.
A national hero, Lebed was a battalion commander in 1981 during the
Soviet war in Afghanistan, where he won top military honors. But his
popularity went far beyond military circles, with a career that had
earned him a national reputation as someone who was willing to
confront the Russian establishment.
For the U.S., however, Lebed's most significant legacy may turn out
to be the information he imparted to Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., during
a 1997 fact-finding trip to Russia.
Weldon recounted Lebed's bombshell revelation during a March
appearance on Fox News Channel's "Hannity & Colmes":