Military Officials : Unaware of Potential Danger to Pence's 'Nuclear Football' During Capitol Riot
(CNN) - Military officials overseeing the authorization process to launch nuclear weapons were unaware on January 6 that then-Vice President Mike Pence's military aide carrying the "nuclear football" was potentially in danger as rioters got close during the violent Capitol insurrection, according to a defense official.
The vice president is always accompanied by a backup of the "football," which contains the equipment to carry out orders to launch a nuclear strike. It must be ready at all times and is identical to what the president carries, in case he becomes incapacitated.
US Strategic Command became aware of the gravity of the incident after seeing a video played at the Senate impeachment trial Wednesday showing Pence, his Secret Service agents and a military officer carrying the briefcase with classified nuclear launch information running down a flight of stairs inside the Capitol to get to safety, the official said.
"As the rioters reached the top of the stairs, they were within 100 feet of where the vice president was sheltering with his family, and they were just feet away from one of the doors to this chamber," Del. Stacey Plaskett, one of the impeachment managers, explained in the senate trial on Wednesday. In one video, the crowd can be heard chanting "Hang Mike Pence" as they stand in an open doorway of the Capitol.
It is not clear if other national security elements....READ MORE
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