- The Pentagon last week announced there would be a review of procedures for the nuclear football after Capitol rioters got within 100ft of Mike Pence on January 6
- Retired military officer John Stufflebeem says the president’s ‘nuclear football’ is far more vulnerable to compromise than Americans realize
- ‘The way it has been designed, it could be if a marauder obtained the card and used it to pose as the president or vice president,’ he told DailyMail.com
- The briefcase, which contains codes for unleashing a nuclear strike, follows the president where ever he goes and a backup one travels with the vice president
- But Stuffelbeem said the current security protocols do not take into account the prospect of the ‘football carrier’ getting separated from the president
- ‘Can the military aide be separated from the president or vice president? We know that is possible,’ he said, citing Ronald Reagan’s assassination attempt
- He also revealed the system does not depend on voice recognition, meaning anyone who gains access to the codes could verbally authorize a strike
The retired Navy vice admiral, who was the military aide to President George H. W. Bush and later oversaw the top secret program himself, says that he has long been concerned about the lack of a fail-safe mechanisms to guard against against a hostile takeover of the system for launching a nuclear attack
Speaking to DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview, Stufflebeem cited the questions raised about government security procedures in the aftermath of the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.
As rioters entered the Capitol, Vice President Mike Pence could be seen on security camera video being escorted to safety, along with a military aide carrying a black satchel which is the vice president’s nuclear football.
Instead, along with written options, the nuclear football, a leather-covered titanium business case that weighs 40 pounds, contains a variety of secure phone capabilities and options for launching nuclear strikes that the president or vice president may authorize.
In the event of a devastating threatened attack on the US, the president or vice president as his backup would confirm his identity to the National Military Command Center at the Pentagon over a secure phone by reading codes from the Sealed Authenticator System card – also known as the ‘biscuit’ – that he is supposed to carry with him at all times.
As for White House staff, they are more likely to try to keep the military aide with the football away from the president or vice president because they think the optics are bad, Stufflebeem says.
As it is, only the military aide, who rotates from the Air Force, Navy, Marines, Army, and Coast Guard, has a copy of the authenticator card in case the president or vice president loses his.
That in fact happened at one point during President Clinton’s second term.
Read more at EXCLUSIVE: Former military aide who carried ‘nuclear football’ for George HW Bush reveals a gaping hole in the security chain that could enable a ‘marauder to obtain the access card and pose as the president’