Declassified photo of “Nuclear Football” in transit during the George W. Bush Administration
While the United States continues its controlled descent into madness under the leadership of President Joe Biden, newly unearthed information about past executive-level contingency powers provides a deeper understanding of what Americans could expect in the event of a national emergency.
William Burr, a senior analyst at the nonprofit National Security Archive, today published a report that explores the previously unknown documentation — providing multiple clues about the contents of the famed presidential “Football” — that for decades has remained hidden away from the public.
Burr’s brief further explains:
“Since the late 1950s, U.S. military personnel traveling with the President have carried a special case known variously as the ‘satchel,’ the ‘black bag,’ the ’emergency actions pouch,’ and, as it is perhaps best known, the ‘Football.’ Epitomizing presidential control of nuclear weapons, the Football and the military aides who carry it enable the President to make decisions about the use of nuclear weapons in the event of a sudden military crisis.”
The declassified documentation provides a rare glimpse into the details of executive orders known as Presidential Emergency Action Documents (PEADs) through communications from numerous high-level government officials, including Edward A. McDermott, who served as Deputy Director of the Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization throughout the 1960s.
According to McDermott, the purpose of the documents held safely in the Football was “to clothe the President with formal emergency powers,” even though at least some were of “doubtful legality.”
Among the contingency powers with questionable legality were the suspension of habeas corpus, the declaration of martial law, and the authorization of mass arrests and even arbitrary detention.
The documents illustrate a decades-long debate between White House officials who were “worried about the status of the PEADs.”
Among those whose communications are now public are former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, Reagan’s NSA Director William Odom, and even President Carter’s second cousin, Hugh Carter, Jr., who expressed that the PEADs were “obsolete given the total devastation which could be expected from a thermonuclear attack on the US.”
The many concerns among White House officials seemingly led FEMA in 1980 to turn over updated documents to the White House to be included in the new and improved Football.
But while much light has now been shed on the nature of the ultra-secret emergency planning in previous decades, it remains unknown if the many concerns about constitutional legality were ever completely resolved.
With President Biden’s deteriorating mental capacity on full display while his administration pushes America ever closer to the brink of nuclear conflict, it becomes a disturbingly reasonable possibility that plans from the Football could be put into action.
And considering news that President Trump may soon be put behind bars, all bets are off for the future of the United States Constitution.
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