The secret — but long suspected — locations of some 150 U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe were accidentally included in a report published by a NATO-affiliated body, The Washington Post reported.
The documents — subsequently deleted — confirmed the "open secret," the outlet reported: U.S. nukes are being stored in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey, the Post reported.
A version of the document was published in April and was written by a Canadian senator for the Defense and Security Committee of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. And in a passing reference, it appeared to reveal the location of roughly 150 U.S. nuclear weapons being stored in Europe.
A copy of the document was published Tuesday by Belgian newspaper De Morgen.
"These bombs are stored at six US and European bases — Kleine Brogel in Belgium, Büchel in Germany, Aviano, and Ghedi-Torre in Italy, Volkel in The Netherlands, and Incirlik in Turkey," one passage read, the news outlet reported.
A final version of the report published online leaves out the reference to where bombs are stored, and instead states: "The European Allies often cited as operating such aircraft are Belgium, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, and Turkey."
The author of the report said the first version was only a draft.
"We do not comment on the details of NATO's nuclear posture," an unnamed NATO official told the Post, adding: "This is not an official NATO document."
That is not how European news outlets saw it.
"Finally in black and white: There are American nuclear weapons in Belgium," stated De Morgen.
"NATO reveals the Netherlands' worst-kept secret," Dutch broadcaster RTL News said.
The presence of U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe was "no surprise," Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat-reduction policy at the Arms Control Association, told the Post.
"The military mission for which these weapons were originally intended — stopping a Soviet invasion of Western Europe because of inferior U.S. and NATO conventional forces — no longer exists," he added.
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