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

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The Pentagon inspector basic is launching a overview of “nuclear soccer” safety.
The analysis follows the riot on the Capitol in January, when rioters got here near Pence and his soccer.
The watchdog desires to know extra concerning the plans if the satchel is “misplaced, stolen, or compromised.”

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The Department of Defense inspector basic is assessing the navy’s plans for securing the “nuclear soccer” in an emergency.

The Pentagon watchdog is trying into the “extent that DoD processes and procedures are in place and enough to alert DoD officers within the occasion that the Presidential Emergency Satchel is misplaced, stolen, or compromised,” in keeping with a memo despatched Monday.

The memo added that this overview can be trying into “the adequacy of the procedures the DoD has developed to reply to such an occasion.”

The inspector basic’s determination to overview the safety of the “nuclear soccer” follows the Jan. 6 riot on the US Capitol, the place rioters got here alarmingly near the vice chairman and the navy aide carrying his backup soccer. Video from the Capitol siege confirmed Pence being rushed out, with the emergency briefcase shut behind.

Read More: Here’s the place the ‘nuclear soccer’ got here from and why it follows US presidents wherever they go

Officially referred to as the president’s emergency satchel, the nuclear soccer is a cellular nuclear command-and-control asset {that a} president can use with different instruments to wage nuclear battle ought to such excessive motion be deemed essential.

The president, because the commander in chief of the US navy, has sole nuclear-strike authority, and the soccer follows him wherever he goes. A backup case, for use if the president have been killed or incapacitated, additionally accompanies the vice chairman, simply because it did Mike Pence on Jan. 6.

—Stephen Schwartz (@AtomicAnalyst) February 10, 2021Through the Capitol riot, a few of the rioters got here inside 100 ft of Pence, in keeping with a number of reviews. Some have been chanting “hold Mike Pence” after the vice chairman didn’t try to overturn the outcomes of the presidential election and in flip drew criticism from then-President Donald Trump.

Read More: Impeachment trial video reveals Mike Pence speeding from the Capitol with a ‘nuclear soccer’ shut behind as rioters stormed the constructing

Stephen Schwartz, a nonresident senior fellow with the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and an professional on the soccer, beforehand instructed Insider that the rioters, assuming they made it previous Pence’s safety element, wouldn’t have been ready to make use of the satchel.

That stated, if they’d someway gotten their palms on it, it will have been a “large and unprecedented safety breach, disclosing a few of the most delicate and subsequently extremely categorised data generated by the federal government,” he stated.

Speaking to CNN concerning the Pentagon inspector basic overview, Schwartz instructed the outlet he was “not conscious that such an evaluation has ever been executed earlier than.”

He stated that “a violent home riot was nearly definitely not a part of the DOD and Secret Service risk matrix till six months in the past,” including that “it is the one latest recognized occasion placing the ‘soccer’ in important potential hazard to impress this stage of concern.”

CNN reported in February that navy officers have been unaware that the “nuclear soccer” was in danger in the course of the Capitol riot, elevating questions on its safety.

Massachusetts Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, who serves as chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform’s Subcommittee on National Security, and Tennessee Rep. Jim Cooper, chairman of the Committee on Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, responded positively to information of the safety overview, which they requested in March in response to the Capitol riots.

“The riot on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, was not solely an unprecedented assault on our democracy, but it surely additionally put our nationwide safety in grave hazard,” they stated in a press release.

The lawmakers added that “it’s crucial that we absolutely perceive the processes and procedures which might be in place to guard the Presidential Emergency Satchel—particularly when its custodians could be in peril—and we applaud the DOD OIG for accepting our request to provoke this analysis.”

CNN reported that that this evaluation was “largely precipitated by congressional issues following the occasions of January 6 on Capitol Hill.”

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