Presidential Nuclear Launch Codes Disappeared for Over a Month in 2000
October 22, 2010
(ChattahBox Political News) — Don’t believe everything you see in the movies. Although the U.S. president is capable of launching a nuclear attack, it doesn’t just take a call on a red phone to make it happen – the president actually needs a series of codes to send out a nuke — and during one period in 2000, those codes “disappeared,” CNN reports.General Hugh Shelton, who was the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says in his new book Without Hesitation that the codes, which are usually in the possession of the president’s aide who “sticks with him like glue,” went missing for months, most likely without the knowledge of President Clinton. The codes allow the president access to the briefcase known as “the football,” which includes launch instructions for firing a nuclear weapon.
The breach was discovered during a routine Defense Department visit in 2000, when officials were prepared to replace the codes with a new set, but Clinton’s aide said that the codes were missing. New codes were issued immediately and the missing codes were never located, Shelton wrote in his book.
New protocol currently in place would make it harder for any such breach to take place, CNN reports. Now, Pentagon aides must visually confirm each month that the president or his aide personally has the codes.