Disgraced US Vice-Admiral Tim Giardina won’t face criminal charges for gambling with counterfeit chips at an Iowa casino, according to state investigators. Giardina, the former #2 man in charge of America’s nuclear weaponry, made headlines this weekend after US Strategic Command officials confirmed that Giardina had been suspended from duty as of Sept. 3 following an investigation that began in July.
Pottawattamie County Attorney Matt Wilber revealed that employees at Caesars Entertainment’s Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa eventually cottoned on to the fact that Giardina had been playing poker with at least $1,500 in bogus gambling chips in June. No information has been released on how the staff was able to determine the chips weren’t kosher.
The use of counterfeit casino chips is a felony offense, but Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation special agent David Dales told the Omaha World-Herald that his office had decided it was “not going to press state charges.” Wilber said the decision not to prosecute came after “we concluded there wasn’t any chance of him receiving anything other than deferred judgment” given Giardina’s lack of a prior criminal record and his status as a senior military man. (Insert comment about the dubious likelihood of the average Joe with a similarly clean record being given similar benefit of the doubt.)
Wilber cautioned that the state hadn’t officially closed the case, pending fresh revelations, but would leave disciplinary measures to the Defense Department, who have assured state officials they “have the ability to deal with [Giardina].” A federal investigation into Giardina’s activities is ongoing.
Giardina’s fall from grace has provided extra grist for the anti-gambling mill of John Kindt, the University of Illinois professor who has yet to meet a gambler he couldn’t eventually link to Osama Bin Laden. Kindt, who claimed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s last online poker bill would allow Al Qaeda to launder money in the US of A, told the Des Moines Register that Giardina’s gambling had dire implications for national security. “Think about the vulnerability a gambling addict represents in that kind of command. If they’re losing money and have dug themselves a big hole, they are more susceptible to agents who are working against the interests of the United States.” Kindt suggested the military “tries to ignore” gambling among its ranks, although probably much less than we try to ignore Kindt’s ravings.