Wheeler was the assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force in the George W. Bush Administration. It was the Secretary of the Air Force who discovered that Richard Cheney had set up an alternative chain of command to the nuclear weapons wing of the AF. In the process, six missiles armed with nuclear warheads were secretly transported from Minot AFB to Barksdale AFB. The later is the chief staging base for the Middle East war. The alarm system for the weapons was deactivated for the transport, something that not even the base commander could authorize. The orders had to have come from above. Many point to Cheney. Before the warheads could be flown via B-52 to the Iraq/Iran theater, the Secretary of the Air Force ordered the stand-down of all B-52 flights. When he discovered the alternative chain of command to Cheney, he fired all military personnel who were involved.
Cheney was said to have been livid. The Secretary ordered an investigation of what the AF press release called an oversight, and 70 enlisted men and 5 officers were removed from the Minot nuclear system. (WayneMadsenReport)