Sen. Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, incorrectly claimed Tuesday that President Trump can access nuclear codes as easily as his Twitter account.
Markey: “Donald Trump can use nuclear codes as easily as he can use his Twitter account.” Yikes.
— Josh Rogin (@joshrogin) November 14, 2017
— PSR Security (@PSRsecurity) November 14, 2017
However, according to all publicly available information, launching a nuclear attack is a much more involved and difficult process than tweeting.
Bloomberg explains that after the president consults with his military and civilian advisers, the senior officer in the Pentagon must verify that the person ordering the strike is actually the president, the war room prepares the launch order, multiple safes with matching codes need to be opened by launch crews, and at least two five-person launch crews must agree to carry out the order.
An article from Popular Science similarly explains, “A different set of codes, generated by the NSA, stay in military custody at the Pentagon and various other locations around the country. These are the codes that actually hold the power, since the military can carry out an attack in the event that the President or a successor can’t authorize it themselves.”
“So, you can’t just punch in a password and smash a big red button to rain hellfire down on your enemies,” they confirm.