A second official in the Bill Clinton administration has claimed the Democrat lost the codes used for launching nuclear weapons as President.
Lt. Col. Robert “Buzz” Patterson accused Clinton of losing the nuclear launch codes in a Thursday tweet.
The retired Air Force officer served as Clinton’s military aide during his presidency and was responsible for carrying the “nuclear football” intended for an emergency launch of the United States’ nuclear arsenal.
He said that Clinton was responsible for losing the codes used to activate a launch.
Patterson compared Clinton’s loss of the nuclear launch codes to former President Donald Trump’s alleged possession of material related to nuclear weapons.
Just a reminder, but @BillClinton actually LOST the nuclear codes during my tenure with him. We weren’t raided.
— Buzz Patterson (@BuzzPatterson) August 18, 2022
The “football,” which is a device the size of a briefcase, is meant to remain in the president’s immediate vicinity at all times.
The president himself keeps custody of a “biscuit,” an item that contains the codes to activate a launch.
Patterson isn’t the only person to claim that the codes were lost during Clinton’s tenure.
A 2010 book by former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Hugh Shelton claimed “the codes were actually missing for months,” a claim that Patterson’s tweet appears to corroborate. “That’s a big deal — a gargantuan deal,” he added.
Patterson released a 2006 book slamming Clinton for various national security-related lapses he says he witnessed as Clinton’s senior military aide.
The Air Force officer first recounted the story behind Clinton losing the codes in “Dereliction of Duty: Eyewitness Account of How Bill Clinton Compromised America’s National Security.”
Lost nuclear launch codes would be considered a massive national security crisis, and would presumably be subject to extreme secrecy at the highest levels of the United States government.
“He thought he just placed them upstairs,” said Patterson of the incident in the book, according to ABC News.
“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.”
Patterson said the loss was discovered the morning after the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke in 1998.
There were some discrepancies in the two men’s stories. “In Patterson’s telling of the story, the President lost the biscuit in 1998, but according to Shelton, the card went missing in 2000,” ABC reported in 2010.
Government officials have leaked claims that improper custody of nuclear-related material led to last week’s unprecedented raid of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, according to The Washington Post.
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