How safe is the US president's 'nuclear football'?2021|02:25
It’s called the “nuclear football” and wherever the President goes, the briefcase goes. It contains the launch codes needed for a nuclear strike. But now the Pentagon is asking, how safe is the thing, after it was revealed that one of the briefcases almost came in range of the rioters that stormed congress on January 6. The Pentagon’s watchdog, the Inspector General's office, says it's now evaluating to what extend officials can detect and respond if it's "lost, stolen or compromised." The football is officially called the "Presidential Emergency Satchel" and one US official told Reuters that the January 6 siege helped trigger the evaluation. Vice President Mike Pence was at the US Capitol at the time, accompanied by a military aide carrying a backup nuclear football when President Trump's supporters stormed the place. Security camera footage shows Pence being escorted to safety, the satchel right behind him. Even if rioters had taken possession of the satchel, any nuclear strike order would still have needed to be confirmed and processed by the military. But this was just one of several times during Trump's presidency that the security of the nuclear football came into question. Rewind to 2017: Trump was in Beijing having lunch with Chinese President Xi Jinping. A Chinese security official got into a tussle in another room with the US military aide carrying the briefcase. According to a former senior Trump administration official, the White House chief of staff John Kelly intervened and got into a physical altercation with the Chinese official to ensure the nuclear football did not get away from the military aide. Also on Jan. 20 of this year, Trump insisted on leaving Washington before the inauguration of Democrat Joe Biden. That meant a live football would have to go with him to be on hand until Biden was sworn in. Trump was accompanied by a military aide carrying a nuclear football. These incidents will all be looked at as the Pentagon accesses just how secure the nuclear button is.