top of page

Mike Pence's 'nuclear football' was potentially at risk during the Capitol riot.

The dramatic video of the January 6 uprising reveals that as he made his escape, the crowd was within 30 meters of Mike Pence. Yet there was a chilling detail that was overlooked by even the House attorneys. An air force officer holding the "football", a huge black briefcase-carrying nuclear launch codes, was with the then vice-president on that frightening day.

If the president is deceased or incapacitated, the vice-football president's codes are not triggered. Yet the effects of it falling into rioters' possession are always chilling.

"They may not have been able to order an actual launch if the mob had seized Pence's nuclear football, but the public may not have known that," said Tom Collina, a policy analyst at the Ploughshares Fund disarmament advocacy organization. "Parading the nuclear button around, as authorities scrambled to respond, would have caused widespread panic and chaos."

Quite certainly, the secret service bodyguards surrounding Pence would have guarded the suitcase with lethal force, but if the pro-Trump gang had tried to capture it, they would have fled, not only with the codes used to locate the vice president and authenticate his orders but also with the secure communications systems used to make the call.

Most detrimental of all, they will make all the tools for nuclear strike directly open to the US commander-in-chief around the clock. "The list of choices used to be in a weighty handbook, but it has been distilled over the decades into a set of laminated cards, "like a menu at Wendy's," as one officer put it to Kaplan, according to Fred Kaplan, author of The Bomb: Leaders, Generals, and the Hidden Past of Nuclear War.

Not only would one of the worse security breaches conceivable be the revelation of that menu, but the encrypted communication equipment would also tell an attacker a lot about how the US would react to a big assault.

“They could glean all sorts of information about its structure and technology so it’s very significant,” said Hans Kristensen, director of the nuclear information project at the Federation of American Scientists.

Nuclear analysts challenged whether this relic of the cold war, which offers such an apparent target for enemies and terrorists, is really appropriate. The Trump age, however, has also shed a bright light on the issue of whether one person can continue to have supreme control to unleash the US nuclear arsenal.

"Collina, the co-author of The Button, The Presidential and Nuclear Weapons Book, said, "The far greater threat, of course, was that Trump had a football of his own that might have been used to destroy life as we know it.

In other words, maybe the only thing that is more frightening than a crowd around football is the idea of Trump being alone with him.

Source - Guardian

9 views0 comments


bottom of page