Quirky News

  • 22 October 2010, 9:05

Clinton 'lost nuclear launch codes'

Bill Clinton /PA

Bill Clinton managed to lose the nuclear launch codes - for months - during his time as US President, a new book claims.

General Hugh Shelton, who served under Clinton as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, claims the card bearing the top secret codes were missing during 2000.

"At one point during the Clinton administration the codes were actually missing for months. That's a big deal - a gargantuan deal," General Shelton says in his memoir, Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior.

US presidents are supposed to keep the card - known as "the biscuit" - close to them at all times, reports The Sun.

Another senior military firgure linked to the Clinton administration, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Patterson, claims in another book that the President's memory lapse caused a huge panic in the White House.

"He thought he just placed them upstairs," Lieutenant Colonel Patterson said.

"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."

Before a president can launch a nuclear attack, he has to input the codes to arm the warheads.

White House spokesman Joe Lockhart confessed in 1999 that Mr Clinton had once left a NATO summit in such haste that he left behind his briefcase that contained the codes.

There have long been rumours that former President Jimmy Carter left the card in a suit which was sent to the dry cleaners. That story has never been confirmed or denied.

 

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