Top military general took secret action to prevent Trump from using nuclear weapons, book says

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, took top-secret actions to prevent former President Donald Trump from using nuclear weapons, a new book says.

General Milley took it upon himself, just two days after the 6 January Capitol riot, to limit Mr Trump’s ability to order a military strike.

Watergate journalist Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, both of The Washington Post, report in their new book Peril that General Milley was thoroughly disturbed by the attack on the Capitol and that he “was certain that Trump had gone into a serious mental decline in the aftermath of the election, with Trump now all but manic, screaming at officials and constructing his own alternate reality about endless election conspiracies”.

Mr Woodward and Mr Costa also write that Gen Milley was worried that Mr Trump may “go rogue,” CNN reported.

The book says Gen Milley told his top staffers: “You never know what a president’s trigger point is.”

The top military leader hosted a secret meeting in his office at the Pentagon on 8 January to review the process for initiating military action, including the launching of nuclear weapons.

Gen Milley told the officials in charge of the Pentagon’s war room – the National Military Command Center – not to follow any orders unless he was involved.

According to Peril, Gen Milley told the officials: “No matter what you are told, you do the procedure. You do the process. And I’m part of that procedure.”

He then asked each of the officers to verbally confirm that they understood as he looked them in the eye.

“Got it?” Gen Milley asked.

“Yes, sir,” the officials responded. Gen Milley “considered it an oath,” the reporters write.

The book is based on more than 200 interviews with people participating firsthand in the covered events as well as witnesses and depicts an unhinged Mr Trump yelling at his senior staff as he tries to stay in office.

Gen Milley grew worried as he observed Mr Trump’s erratic behaviour and became even more concerned about US national security following the events of 6 January. The top military leader had had two phone calls with China’s top general, who had become uneasy at the unrest in the United States.

The authors write that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Gen Milley during a tense phone call: “If they couldn’t even stop him from an assault on the Capitol, who even knows what else he may do? And is there anybody in charge at the White House who was doing anything but kissing his fat butt all over this?”

“You know he’s crazy. He’s been crazy for a long time,” she added.

“Madam Speaker, I agree with you on everything,” the general replied, according to Peril. After the call, Gen Milley told his service chiefs to watch everything “all the time”.

He then called the Director of the National Security Agency (NSA), Paul Nakasone.

“Needles up … keep watching, scan,” he told General Nakasone.

“Aggressively watch everything, 360,” General Milley told then-CIA Director Gina Haspel.

“Milley was overseeing the mobilization of America’s national security state without the knowledge of the American people or the rest of the world,” Mr Woodward and Mr Costa write. They add that “some might contend that Milley had overstepped his authority and taken extraordinary power for himself” but that the general thought that it was “a good faith precaution to ensure there was no historic rupture in the international order, no accidental war with China or others, and no use of nuclear weapons”.

After discovering that Mr Trump had signed a memo written by two of his allies instructing the withdrawal of all US troops from Afghanistan by 15 January 2021, without notifying anyone on the national security team, Gen Milley couldn’t forget that Mr Trump had gone over the heads of the military.

After the insurrection on 6 January, Gen Milley “felt no absolute certainty that the military could control or trust Trump and believed it was his job as the senior military officer to think the unthinkable and take any and all necessary precautions,” the authors write.

Gen Milley thought it was the “absolute darkest moment of theoretical possibility”.

Mr Woodward and Mr Costa write that Mr Trump might start a conflict with the US or abroad to distract the nation and the world from his election loss to President Joe Biden.

More follows…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *