Bill Clinton Lost Nuclear Codes While in Office, Top Official Claims

Former President Bill Clinton lost the nuclear codes while he was still in office, a former top official claimed in a book.

The allegation was made in a book by General Henry Hugh Shelton, who was the 14th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

In the 2010 book, “Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior,” Shelton describes Clinton losing the codes as “a big deal — a gargantuan deal.”

According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) website, “After his selection for brigadier general, Shelton served in the Operations Directorate on the Joint Staff from July 1987 until July 1989 as a deputy director of the National Military Command Center and then as Deputy Director for Current Operations.

“He received his first star in August 1988.

“From the Joint Staff, Shelton went to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, as an assistant division commander with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).

“During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Brigadier General Shelton led the division’s forces in a deep helicopter assault into Iraq. The division was poised to block Iraqi units fleeing to Baghdad when the war ended.

“Over the next five years, Shelton held two of the Army’s most prestigious commands. In May 1991 he returned to Fort Bragg as Commanding General of the 82d Airborne Division; he was promoted to major general that October.

“He assumed command of XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg upon promotion to lieutenant general in June 1993.

“As corps commander, Lieutenant General Shelton gained national prominence leading the multinational operation which in 1994 restored an environment safe for the return of Haiti’s democratically elected government.

“Shelton received his fourth star on 1 March 1996 after becoming Commander in Chief of the US Special Operations Command (USCINCSOC) at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, on 29 February.

“Leading the command during a period of greatly increased demand for special operations forces worldwide, General Shelton defined the characteristics necessary for these forces to function effectively well into the twenty-first century.

“During his tenure, the largest operational commitment of special operations forces was to the peacekeeping mission in the Balkans.

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“General Shelton became the fourteenth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on 1 October 1997.

“He was the first to possess a special operations background, expertise that fit well with Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen’s interest in unconventional warfare.

“Shelton often stated that he did not believe in ‘fair fights’ and endorsed the use of overwhelming force when committing American troops to combat,” JCS says.

According to ABC News:

Gen. Hugh Shelton, who served under Clinton as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tells the story in his just-published memoir, “Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior.”

“At one point during the Clinton administration,” Shelton writes, “the codes were actually missing for months. […] That’s a big deal — a gargantuan deal.”

Shelton claims the story has never been released before, but Ret. Air Force Lt. Col Robert Patterson told a very similar account in his own book, published seven years ago.

Patterson was one of the men who carried the football, and he says it was literally the morning after the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke that he made a routine request of the president to present the card so that he could swap it out for an updated version.

“He thought he just placed them upstairs,” Patterson recalled.

“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.”

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By David Hawkins

David Hawkins is a writer who specializes in political commentary and world affairs. He's been writing professionally since 2014.

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