So, back during the campaign, Bill Clinton was considered a foreign policy genius. And it was probably because everyone just said so, because no one really remembers much of the 1990s anyway, other than that’s when Kurt Cobain died and when Rugrats was still on the air and everyone was happy and had huge shoulder balloons on their prom dresses. But he was. Or at least he was portrayed as such because at the time no one knew that, for a few months in either 1998 or 2000, Bill Clinton totally lost the paper with all of the nuclear codes on it.
Gen 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 “the codes were actually missing for months. That’s a big deal — a gargantuan deal.”
A similar claim was made by Lt Col Robert Patterson, a former aide, in a book published seven years ago. He was one of the men who carried the briefcase, known as the “football”, and he said that the morning after the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke that he made a routine request of the president to present the card so that he could provide an updated version.
“He thought he just placed them upstairs,” Lt Col Patterson recalled. “We called upstairs, we started a search around the White House for the codes, and he finally confessed that he in fact misplaced them. He couldn’t recall when he had last seen them.”
Shelton says that the nuclear codes were misplaced in early 2000, before Clinton handed over the keys to the Oval Office, and while Al Gore was hailing the foreign policy accomplishments of the Clinton Administration in his bid to become the next President. Shelton doesn’t seem to know about the incident in 1998, which means we were totally safe from nuclear attack at least twice in the Clinton era.
But let’s be real here. We were always in more of a danger of Hillary Clinton trying to nuke her husband than we ever were of a pissing match with Russia.