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Clinton 'misplaced nuclear codes'

New book claims former US President couldn’t recall where he left the codes at the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

A FORMER WHITE House aide has claimed in a new book that Bill Clinton once lost the country’s nuclear codes “for months”.

Each American president carries a small plastic rectangular card – known as “the biscuit” – listing numbers which can then be used to open a briefcase holding the codes to arm the country’s nuclear warheads. (The briefcase is known as “the football”). The codes are used to identify the president to commanders when ordering that the nuclear missiles be unleashed.

General Hugh Shelton, who was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time, said in his new memoir, Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior that when he made a routine request for the card in 2000, an aide to the then President Clinton had to admit that it had been misplaced. The Daily Telegraph reports Shelton as saying that:

The codes were actually missing for months. That’s a big deal – a gargantuan deal.

The general claims that procedures dictate that an official be sent to the president to check the codes every month. The book says that an official arrived on one occasion only to be told that “the biscuit” was with the president, who could not be disturbed. When officials came to check the codes a month later,  they were told a similar story. According to Gen Shelton’s book, the loss was only reported when it came time to change the codes and a presidential aide had to admit they were missing.

A similar claim was made by a former Clinton aide, Lt Col Robert Patterson, in a book published in 2003. Lot Col Patterson had claimed then that the card was found to be missing the morning after the Drudge Report website broke the scandal that Clinton had had a sexual relationship with his inern Monica Lewinsky, in January 1998.

It has previously been rumoured that former president Jimmy Carter once left the card in a suit that was sent to the dry cleaners.