2010, The Atlantic: "Former President Clinton's office declined to comment today on reports that he managed to lose the personal identification code needed to confirm nuclear launches and never told anyone about it."
2010, UK Telegraph: "He thought he just placed them upstairs," Lt Col Patterson recalled. "We called upstairs, we started a search around the White House for the codes, and he finally confessed that he in fact misplaced them. He couldn't recall when he had last seen them. He said the President lost the card holding the codes, which is known as the biscuit, in 1998, but according to Gen Shelton, the card went missing in 2000."....
8/4/2016, Daily Mail, Kessler: "Hugh Shelton, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, confirmed that in Clinton's last year in office, his required codes for launching a nuclear strike were missing for months.
'This is a big deal - a gargantuan deal - and we dodged a silver bullet,' Shelton said.
'If our survival depended on launching a preemptive strike, without the president's having [the football and authentication codes], such a strike would be impossible.' Shelton said."
Oct. 22, 2010, "Why Clinton's Losing the Nuclear Biscuit Was Really, Really Bad," The Atlantic, Marc Ambinder
"Former President Clinton's office declined to comment today on reports that he managed to lose the personal identification code needed to confirm nuclear launches and never told anyone about it. Gen. Hugh Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the last few years of Clinton's term, writes about the episode in his new autobiography. Shelton is especially sensitive to the proper authentication procedures, having served as deputy commander of the National Military Command Center (NMCC), through which all nuclear launch progression action chains are processed. The National Command Authority (NCA), as the process and the person of the commander in chief is called, passes from the President to the Vice President to the Secretary of Defense. (In the absence of the SecDef, the Deputy Secretary of Defense can stand in.)
In effect, without Clinton's "biscuit," as the personal identifier is called, the President would not have been able to initiate a launch order or confirm a launch order executed by someone else. The football itself, which contains code authenticators, a transceiver, targeting menus, and continuity of government options, was always with the military aide.
A former military officer with knowledge of NCA procedures helps fill in some of the details.
Let's say that the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) detects an inbound air warning; the NMCC immediately calls the Sit Room or the military aide, which plugs in the President, who then provides an alpha-numeric code to verify his identity. Once verified, the President can (to invoke ICBM language) execute or terminate sorties. The military aide--known as the Milaide--goes everywhere with the President. Even when the President travels in a hotel elevator, the Milaide (and the president's doctor) accompany him. (Yes, every POTUS elevator trip is monitored.)
So what happens if the President doesn't have his identifier?
The commander in chief of NORAD resorts to the next person the NCA list, the Vice President.
This is a survival mechanism built in during the Cold War, in the event that Washington was decapitated without warning in a nuclear strike. NORAD continues down the list until it finds a capital P-Principle, who provides that identifier and assumes the duties of the Commander in Chief.
Sounds like no big deal, right?
Here's the reality: Losing that identifier card had the potential to create a vast disruption in nuclear command and control procedures.
So Al Gore gets "the call" because Clinton can't properly ID himself. Gore is confused, lives in Washington, knows the President is fine. He tells NORAD to hold while he tracks down the President, who can't verify his own identify anyway. Precious minutes (and I do mean precious, seconds count in the nuke business) are lost while civilian and military leadership sort things out.
And that says nothing of the fact that the President would be in gross violation of his duties by allowing the VP to execute an order that is lawfully the President's to make. Once a strike is authorized by the NCA, the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff pass the order to the U.S. Strategic Command through the NMCC, or through an alternate command site, like Site R in Liberty Township, PA, or through an airborne platform known as TACAMO, which stands for "Take Charge and Move Out."
TACAMO's fleet, operated by the Navy, consists of tricked-out Boeing E6-B aircraft pre-positioned at six locations across the country. They're on constant stand-by, ready to fly within 10 minutes of an alert. During the Cold War, the code name for these missions was "Looking Glass," and at least one airplane was in the air at all times. TACAMO planes are in 24/7 contact with America's fixed ballistic missile silos, its nuclear subs, and its nuclear-weapon-equipped airplanes.
Don't confuse these aircraft with the NAOC, or "Kneecap," four Air Force planes designed to physically transport the NCA -- POTUS or whomever -- to safety in an emergency. Wherever the President travels, a Boeing E4 is not far behind. The planes also ferry other members of the NCA, including SecDef, to international locations where they know they can secure their communications if they need them.
If there's a catastrophic attack on the seat of the United States government, the planes, their crews, and special mission units are responsible for ensuring that the surviving constitutional officer "becomes" the NCA until the emergency is over. The NAOC planes keep in constant contact with the NMCC, the White House's Presidential Emergency Operations Center, the HMX-1 squadron that the President uses for helicopter traffic, and various classified alternate command and control centers worldwide. (Yes, worldwide.)
On 9/11, according to Shelton, a NAOC plane was in the air, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz was evacuated to Site R, and various other continuity of government measures were put into effect in case they were needed. That day, they were not.
But the emergency would convince the Bush administration to significantly retool and expand the secret programs designed to ensure constitutional government."
Oct. 2010: "The codes were actually missing for months. That's a big deal--a gargantuan deal." -
10/21/2010, "Bill Clinton 'lost vital White House nuclear codes'," UK Telegraph
"For several months during Bill Clinton's administration, a former top military officer says the White House lost the card with a set of numbers for opening the briefcase containing the codes for a nuclear attack."
"Gen Hugh Shelton, who was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time, said in his new memoir, "Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior" that "the codes were actually missing for months. That's a big deal--a gargantuan deal."
A similar claim was made by Lt Col Robert Patterson, a former aide, in a book published seven years ago (2003). He was one of the men who carried the briefcase, known as the "football", and he said that the morning after the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke that he made a routine request of the president to present the card so that he could provide an updated version.
"He thought he just placed them upstairs," Lt Col Patterson recalled. "We called upstairs, we started a search around the White House for the codes, and he finally confessed that he in fact misplaced them. He couldn't recall when he had last seen them.
He said the President lost the card holding the codes, which is known as the biscuit, in 1998, but according to Gen Shelton, the card went missing in 2000."....
August 2016: "Though Hillary Clinton said Donald Trump “is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons," she might want to take a closer look at her husband, who is being accused of once leaving the U.S. open to attack after losing the nuclear codes."
August 16, 2016, "Bill Clinton Once LOST Nuclear Launch Codes, DC Insider Claims," RadarOnline, staff
"Find out how the former President almost destroyed the U.S."
"Bill Clinton almost destroyed the United States by losing the launch codes! At least that’s what one retired U.S. general says.
Though Hillary Clinton said Donald Trump “is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons,” she might want to take a closer look at her husband, who is being accused of once leaving the U.S. open to attack after losing the nuclear codes.
Journalist Ronald Kessler reported, an actual nuclear button does not exist. Instead there is a “nuclear football,” a “leather-covered titanium business case that weighs 40 pounds,” he wrote. The football is secured with a cipher lock. Bill Clinton had access to this “nuclear football” while serving as president and in his second term in the White House, as retired U.S. general Hugh Shelton claimed, Bill’s required codes went missing…for months!
Shelton emphasized in his book, Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior, this was “a big deal” and that the United Stated dodged a “silver bullet” when nothing went wrong.
“If our survival depended on launching a preemptive strike, without the president’s having [the football and authentication codes], such a strike would be impossible,” Shelton said.
Vanity Fair reported that retired Air Force lieutenant colonel Robert Patterson also recalled Bill losing the codes. “We called upstairs, we started a search around the White House for the codes, and [Bill] finally confessed that he in fact misplaced them. He couldn’t recall when he had last seen them,” Patterson said.
Clinton specifically lost the personal identification code needed to confirm nuclear launches, also known as the “biscuit.” Without the “biscuit” the president cannot initiate a launch order or confirm one from someone else. As The Atlantic reported, “losing that identifier card had the potential to create a vast disruption in nuclear command and control procedures.”
Shelton insisted that losing these codes is just as severe as it sounds. “Without the football and the appropriate codes, it doesn’t matter if we’ve got a thousand missiles verified inbound to the United States, we would be unable to launch a retaliatory strike,” he wrote."
Aug. 4, 2016, "Exclusive: Hillary fears Trump 'having his finger on the nuclear button' but 1. There is no button (it's a 'football') and 2. It was Bill Clinton who risked nuclear annihilation when he lost the authentication codes," Daily Mail, Ronald Kessler
"Ronald Kessler, a former Washington Post and Wall Street Journal investigative reporter, is the New York Times bestselling author of The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents and In the President’s Secret Service: Behind the Scenes With Agents in the Line of Fire"
- The 'nuclear football' has secure phone capabilities and options for launching nuclear strikes
- The president may authorize launches by talking with the Pentagon and using codes to verify his identity after the case has been opened
- Bill Clinton once lost the authenticatin codes for months, risking nuclear annihilation of America
- In case the president is incapacitated or has died, an identical nuclear football is assigned to the vice president
- Military aides who carry the satchels are supposed to accompany the two leaders wherever they go, including flights and hotels
- The military aide sleeps in an underground bunker at the White House
- Under what is called the National Security System, five military aides rotate the duty of carrying the nuclear football for the president....
- Another five military aides take turns traveling with the vice president