Since Mar-a-Lago guest and Trump supporter Richard DeAgazio posted a picture to his Facebook with a military aide carrying the “nuclear football,” the backlash has been intense.Screenshot/Twitter (deleted)
DeAgazio has closed his Facebook, deleted his Twitter, and doesn’t appear to be returning calls from the media, including those from Independent Journal Review.
We wanted to know if the accusations of DeAgazio putting national security at risk were true. So we decided to talk to someone who was charged with carrying the “nuclear football” for two years, U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel Buzz Patterson (Ret.).
Patterson was the Air Force’s senior military aide to President Bill Clinton:Buzz Patterson
The Lt. Colonel was one of five people given the responsibility to carry the “nuclear football.” We asked Patterson about the controversy surrounding DeAgazio.
Patterson told Independent Journal Review:
“It’s certainly not an issue. I was photographed several times over the years. I even included a couple in my first book, ‘Dereliction of Duty.’
It’s not that there is a football that’s sensitive, it’s what’s actually in it that’s the bottom line.”
He continued, addressing the critics who think that major security protocols were breached:
“It’s ludicrous. They have absolutely no clue what they are talking about. Anything to bring up impeachment. Hell, Bill Clinton actually lost the nuclear codes and nobody cared.”
Patterson elaborated, sharing the story of when Clinton lost the codes:
“In 1998, the day before the State of the Union address, I went to meet with President Clinton. Typically, I would ask him if he had any questions about the nuclear process, any questions about targeting, any questions about how to use the codes.
But that morning I asked if he had the codes, and he said he had misplaced them and that he will get back to me later. Later ended up being never. We ended up doing an exhaustive search of the White House, never did find them. When I asked the president how long it had been since he had seen them, he couldn’t recall. It had been a matter of months, possibly.
I called the Pentagon. They were beside themselves. There was no process to recreate the codes. So they ended up working through the night and giving him new codes in the morning, but we are talking about the most important military document perhaps in this nation.
Without it, he cannot perform his function as commander in chief with our nuclear program. And that had never happened in our history.”
Then, he dished out some advice to the members of the mainstream media who have made this issue bigger than it needs to be:
“I don’t have a high opinion of the mainstream media especially as it applies to their handling of military and national security affairs. The military shouldn’t be used for partisan political purposes, period.”
Patterson was with the Clinton administration from 1996 to 1998.