During his first-ever visit to the United States approximately 14 months ago, Col. Muammar Gaddafi ran into some difficulty while attempting to pitch his trademark tent in New York City. The Libyan leader, who was in town attending a United Nations General Session, had his various tent requests rejected first by NYC’s Central Park and later by the town of Englewood, N.J. He subsequently rented some land in Bedford, N.Y. on Donald Trump’s estate; however, Trump was apparently unaware of the deal and consequently asked the Libyan’s entourage to move elsewhere. There is no doubt that Gaddafi was frustrated by his inability to pitch a tent in the greater NYC area, but is it true that a nuclear disaster almost occurred as a result?

According to this story by Nick Allen of the Telegraph, a catastrophic event was narrowly avoided. On 20 November 2009, a Russian plane was supposed to arrive in Libya to acquire and dispose of Gaddafi’s weapons grade uranium. However, the colonel was apparently still upset over his U.N. visit and refused to let the plane land. The seven containers of uranium were left on the runway for a period of time and watched over by only one guard. Experts reportedly warned that the containers could crack due to the heat, culminating in a radioactive leak. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton contacted Gaddafi via a personal message and the Russian plane arrived and picked up the uranium on 21 December.

The Libyan leader is notorious for acting irrationally when he doesn’t get his way. At the African Heads of State Summit in Uganda this past July, he slapped one of his aides in public after arriving at the wrong conference building. It has never been considered beyond the pale to question Gaddafi’s mental stability; however, this latest report is sure to leave even supporters of the “Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution” scratching their heads.