Pentagon watchdog assessing ‘nuclear football’ security after rioters got alarmingly close to one during Capitol siege

A US military aide carries the “president’s emergency satchel,” also known as the “nuclear football.”

The Pentagon inspector general is launching a review of “nuclear football” security.
The evaluation follows the riot at the Capitol in January, when rioters came close to Pence and his football.
The watchdog wants to know more about plans if the satchel is “lost, stolen, or compromised.”

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The Department of Defense inspector general is reviewing the military’s plans for securing the “nuclear football” in an emergency.

The Pentagon watchdog is looking into the “extent that DoD processes and procedures are in place and adequate to alert DoD officials in the event that the Presidential Emergency Satchel is lost, stolen, or compromised,” according to a memo sent Monday.

The memo added that this review is also looking into “the adequacy of the procedures the DoD has developed to respond to such an event.”

The inspector general’s decision to review the security of the “nuclear football” follows the Jan. 6 riot at the US Capitol, where the rioters came alarmingly close to the vice president and the military aide carrying his backup football. Video footage from the Capitol siege shows Pence being rushed out, with the emergency briefcase close behind.

Read More: Here’s where the ‘nuclear football’ came from and why it follows US presidents wherever they go

Officially known as the president’s emergency satchel, the nuclear football is a mobile nuclear command-and-control asset that a president can use with other tools to wage nuclear war should such extreme action be deemed necessary.

The president, as the commander in chief of the US armed forces, has sole nuclear-strike authority, and the football follows him wherever he goes. A duplicate briefcase also accompanies the vice president, just as it did Mike Pence on Jan. 6., a grim reminder that the VP is second-in-command should the president die or be incapacitated.

-Stephen Schwartz (@AtomicAnalyst) February 10, 2021

During the riot at the Capitol, some of the rioters came within 100 feet of Pence, according to multiple reports. Some were chanting “hang Mike Pence” in fury that the VP did not attempt to overturn the results of the presidential election and in turn drew criticism from then-President Donald Trump.

Read More: Impeachment trial video shows Mike Pence rushing from the Capitol with a ‘nuclear football’ close behind as rioters stormed the building

Stephen Schwartz, a nonresident senior fellow with the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists and an expert on the football, previously told Insider that the rioters, assuming they made it past Pence’s security detail, would not have been able to use the satchel.

That said, if they had somehow gotten their hands on it, it would have been a “massive and unprecedented security breach, disclosing some of the most sensitive and therefore highly classified information generated by the government,” he said.

Speaking to CNN about the Pentagon inspector general review, Schwartz told the outlet he was “not aware that such an assessment has ever been done …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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