An octogenarian Roman Catholic nun, jailed for breaking into a nuclear weapons facility in Tennessee, is facing up to 30 years in prison after losing her plea for the most serious charge to be dropped.
Sister Megan Rice, 83, and two fellow peace activists staged a non-violent protest to symbolically disarm the Oak Ridge Y-12 nuclear weapons facility, home to the nation's main supply of highly enriched uranium, in July. They were initially charged with trespassing, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison, but felony charges quickly followed. They were eventually convicted of interfering with national security and damage to federal property.
This week, a judge denied a motion to acquit them of interfering with national security under the sabotage section of the US criminal code, which carries the harshest prison sentence of up to 20 years
The New York Times described the break-in as he "the biggest security breach" in the nation's atomic history.
The actions of Sister Rice, a New York native who grew up on a prosperous block in Morningside Heights, and her companions, ages 57 and 63, are a huge embarrassment for President Obama. Since 2010, he has led a campaign to eliminate or lock down nuclear materials as a way to fight atomic terrorism. Now, the three — two of whom, including Sister Rice, are free and are awaiting trial in October — have made nuclear theft seem only a little more challenging than a romp in the Tennessee woods.
Seems a bit arbitrary if you ask me, not to mention harsh
In July 2012, Megan Rice, an 82-year-old nun, and two fellow Plowshares activists entered the Y-12 complex and spray-painted anti-war slogans on the exterior of the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, a structure for storage of weapons-grade uranium. The anti-nuclear activists, who got past fences and security sensors before dawn on July 28, spent several hours in the complex, conducted a Christian peace ritual before they were stopped by a lone guard.
Maybe she flew over the fence like "The Flying Nun"?
Examples are needed regularly to trot out for the media so the rest of us don't dare step out of line
Just looked and this happened again in 2012 with a break in then as well. Maybe it was the bishops then?
In 2012, three anti-nuclear-weapons protesters broke into the highest-security area of Y-12.
I mean, if an old nun can do this, what about armed terrorists next? Would the lone guard have wet his pants and yelled for his mummy?
Virtually every major project under the National Nuclear Security Administration’s oversight is behind schedule and over budget — the result, watchdogs and government auditors say, of years of lax accountability for the agency responsible for maintaining the nation’s nuclear stockpile.