A Chinese security official was tackled by a US Secret Service agent in an incident involving the U.S. "nuclear football" during President Donald Trump's visit to Beijing last year, according to a Sunday report by Axios.
The "football" or "president's emergency satchel" is an 45-lb aluminum-framed Zero Halliburton briefcase inside a black leather "jacket," in which a plastic card with the nuclear launch codes called the "nuclear biscuit" can be found. It also contains the procedures for the Emergency Broadcast System, a "black book" with a "menu" of pre-planned strike options, and a book of classified bunkers where the President can be sheltered. The football is always carried by a military aide who is required to remain nearby the President at all times.
Five people familiar with the matter described what went down to Axios's Jonathan Swan:
- When the U.S. military aide carrying the nuclear football entered the Great Hall, Chinese security officials blocked his entry.
- A U.S. official hurried into the adjoining room and told Kelly what was happening. Kelly rushed over and told the U.S. officials to keep walking — "We're moving in," he said — and the Americans all started moving.
- Then there was a commotion. A Chinese security official grabbed Kelly, and Kelly shoved the man’s hand off of his body. Then a U.S. Secret Service agent grabbed the Chinese security official and tackled him to the ground.
The whole incident was reportedly over in a flash, and U.S. officials were told to keep quiet about it (good job guys).
Trump's team reportedly conducted a routine security briefing with the Chinese prior to their visit to Beijing, so there was either a breakdown in communications on the Chinese end, or the scuffle was intentional.
At no point did the Chinese take possession of the nuclear football, nor even touch the briefcase - and the head of the Chinese security detail is said to have apologized to the Americans following the incident.