The Pentagon has appeared to confirm a bombshell report claiming that Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley conspired to undermine then-President Donald Trump’s military authority and warn the Chinese government of any impending U.S. attacks.
According to newly released excerpts of “Peril,” an upcoming book authored by reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, Milley was worried Trump would “go rogue,” conspired to subvert Trump’s ability to command U.S. nuclear weapons and promised his Chinese counterparts he would warn the Chinese in advance of any U.S. attack.
Axios reported that a spokesman for Milley addressed the report on Wednesday, saying Milley had indeed called his Chinese counterparts in October and January to convey “reassurance in order to maintain strategic stability.”
— Ben Siegel (@bensiegel) September 15, 2021
“The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs regularly communicates with Chiefs of Defense across the world, including with China and Russia,” the spokesman said in a statement.
“These conversations remain vital to improving mutual understanding of U.S. national security interests, reducing tensions, providing clarity and avoiding unintended consequences or conflict.
“His calls with the Chinese and others in October and January were in keeping with these duties and responsibilities conveying reassurance in order to maintain strategic stability. All calls from the Chairman to his counterparts, including those reported, are staffed, coordinated and communicated with the Department of Defense and the interagency.”
Not directly addressed or denied in the statement, however, was the report that Milley had promised his Chinese counterpart — Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army — that he would warn him of any impending attack.
“If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s not going to be a surprise,” Milley reportedly said.
Should an attack have been planned and had Milley kept his word, such a move could be considered an act of treason.
The spokesman did address the claim that Milley had conspired to subvert Trump’s military authority.
According to the authors of “Peril,” Milley summoned a group of “senior officers to review the procedures for launching nuclear weapons, saying the president alone could give the order — but crucially, that he, Milley, also had to be involved.”
Milley also reportedly met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to discuss how best to restrain Trump’s powers during his last few weeks in office.
“Also in keeping with his responsibilities as senior military advisor to the President and Secretary of Defense, General Milley frequently conducts meetings with uniformed leaders across the Services to ensure all leaders are aware of current issues.
“The meeting regarding nuclear weapons protocols was to remind uniformed leaders in the Pentagon of the long-established and robust procedures in light of media reporting on the subject,” the statement read.
“General Milley continues to act and advise within his authority in the lawful tradition of civilian control of the military and his oath to the Constitution.”
On Wednesday, prior to the Pentagon’s apparent confirmation of the report, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky demanded an investigation into Milley’s actions, saying, “If it is true, he absolutely immediately needs to be removed.”
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