President Donald Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un have been entwined in their unusual nuclear dialogue for months now.
In a continuation — Mr Trump sent shudders all over the world when he mocked North Korea’s ‘button’ in a tweet, claiming his one is on his desk at “all times” and that it is “much bigger and more powerful.”
But launching a nuclear weapon for the US president isn’t as simple as pressing a button.
Rather, codes held within the mysterious ‘football’ briefcase are needed to authorise a launch.
Former director of the White House Military Office Bill Gulley said in his book Breaking Cover — that the ‘football’ is a black leather bag carrying vital and secret items like an emergency card called the ‘biscuit,’ which has the codes.
The nuclear football is carried by an aide who follows the president everywhere.
‘Comedy of Errors’
But the codes went missing during Bill Clinton’s administration, claims a former highest-ranking US officer.
Ex-chairman of the joint chiefs of staff General Hugh Shelton made the claim in his 2010 book Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior.
He said the incident took place around the year 2000 and that an official from the Pentagon would be sent to check the codes every month. Gen Shelton said that at the time, the set of codes would be replaced every four months.
One month, when an official arrived to check — he was told by an aide that the president was in an important meeting. The aide assured him that Mr Clinton took the codes very seriously and had them close by.
A different official went to check the following month and was given a similar excuse, wrote Gen Shelton.
When the time came to change the codes — an aide finally admitted that they had no idea where the codes were and that they had been missing for months.
Gen Shelton declared in his book:
The President never did have them, but he assumed, I’m sure, that the aide had them like he was supposed to.
He adds that he and the Secretary of Defense at the time William Cohen were very alarmed. An internal inquiry was conducted and the procedure changed. The visiting official would now be required to physically see the codes.
Shelton described the whole ordeal as a “comedy of errors.”
Originally published at indy100.com.