A spokesperson for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley defends the allegations of calls "secrets " with its Chinese counterpart , saying the conversations are " vital "to " reducing tension "and " avoiding unintended consequences or conflicts "saying the calls were coordinated with officials in the high level defense.
"The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs communicates regularly with defense chiefs around the world, including China and Russia. These conversations remain vital to improving understanding mutual United States interestsnational security, reduce tensions, bring clarity and avoid unforeseen consequences or conflicts, "Milley's spokesman Col. Dave Butler said in a statement on Wednesday.
Butler said on Wednesday. stated that Milley's calls "with the Chinese and others in October and January were in accordance with these reassured duties and responsibilities in order to maintain strategic stability.
"All calls from President to his counterparts, including those reported, are managed, coordinated and communicated with the Defense Department and the interagency, "Butler said.
MILEY SECRETLY CALLED THE CHINESE OFFICIALS IN FEAR TRUMP " ATTACK "IN LAST DAYS, BOOK CLAIMS
" In accordance with his responsibilities as Senior Military Advisor to the President and Secretary of Defense, theGeneral Milley frequently holds meetings with uniformed leaders in all departments to ensure that all leaders are aware of current issues, "Butler continued. " The meeting regarding the nuclear weapons protocols aimed to remind uniformed Pentagon leaders of the solid and long-established procedures in light of media reports on the subject. "
Butler added: " General Milley continues to act and to advise within his authority in the legal tradition of civilian control of the army and his oath to the Constitution. "
The allegations, which are included in the book " Peril, " Co-authored by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, says Milley made two secret phone calls, both to his Chinese counterpart, People's Liberation Army General Li Zuocheng. The book claims that the phone calls were made before the election2020 presidential election, October 30, 2020, then two days after the January 6 riot at the Capitol, January 8, 2021.
Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley listen during briefing with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon in Washington, Wednesday, September 1, 2021, on the end of the war in Afghanistan. (AP Photo / Susan Walsh)
The book claims that Milley contacted Li after reviewing information suggesting that Chinese authorities believed states -United States were preparing an attack on China as part of military exercises in the South China Sea.
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The authors of the book also claim that Milley contacted Li a second time to reassure him that the United States would not make any kind of advance or attack the China in any form, as Milley promised, “We are 100% stable. Everything is fine. But democracy can be botched sometimes. "
But Fox News spoke with several people who were in the room during the two phone calls Milley had with her.c Li. The appeals were coordinated with the office of the Secretary of Defense.
"They were not secret, " a US official told Fox News of the calls, which were made by video conference.
Fox News has learned that there were around 15 people present for the calls. Sources told Fox News that there were several note-takers present, and said the calls were both knowingly made by then-Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and then Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller.
A familiar US official said Milley regularly called his Chinese and Russian counterparts, and explained that he had been talking to Li ever since. about five years. The source said this was normal for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
According to the official, there was full civilian oversight of the phone calls, including a Dpresenting from the State Department and Political Advisor to Milley.
"This was not done as some sort of conspiracy," another participant who overheard the conversation told Fox News.
According to those familiar, the October phone call had several topics, one of which was about the election. The Chinese, according to the sources, were concerned about what they saw as the instability of the American system. Milley, according to a source, reassured his counterpart that the United States is a stable democracy.
Another source said the appeal was to assure adversaries that the United States was not planning any military action.
Fox News has learned that Milley had up to 20 phone calls with Li and NATO allies in the aftermath of the January 6 riot in an attempt to reassure the stability of the US government and reassure China that the US had not planned a surprise attackise - all with the aim of reducing tensions with China during the interim period between the elections and the inauguration, and to project stability so that the adversaries of the United States do not profit from the internal disturbances during this period.
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"It was a measure of stability and confidence, not subversive, " Another official present for the declared the call, adding that reporting on Milley's attempt to break into the nuclear chain of command as "even more ridiculous.
En Meanwhile, the Woodward-Costa book also addresses a phone call between Milley and House speaker Nancy Pelosi, who spoke about her concerns about Trump was " mad "in the wake of the Capitol riot, and implored Milley to take up nuclear football.
According to sources, Milley reassured Pelosi that "nuclear weapons are good " and told the speaker that we have procedures, checks and balances. "
Des Sources told Fox News that Milley then contacted the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Hyten and a number of other officials to review and understand the procedures.
"The President has the exclusive power to launch nuclear weapons, but the President does not launch nuclear weapons on his own," an official told Fox News.
The review lasted approximately 10 minutes and was intended to remind that there would be a conference call if the president - any presidentent - decides to launch a nuclear weapon.
"This is standard operating procedure, " said an official.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs is not in the chain of command to authorize the use of force or a nuclear launch, but rather is the president's chief military adviser. requires layers of verification by the Pentagon and the US Strategic Command in Nebraska, which oversees all nuclear forces. At no point did Milley fit into this chain of command, according to those familiar with the conversations, including members of the Joint Chiefs.
Milley is scheduled to testify on September 28 before the Senate committee of the armed forces. The hearing was supposed to focus on Afghanistan, but officials now expect Milley to answer questions, under oath, from the Woodward-Costa book.
"This book raises serious concerns and I would say thatsome of the allegations strike me as somewhat far-fetched, "Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas told Fox News Wednesday, adding that Milley " will be testifying in Congress in just a few days, and we will address those concerns. "
" We don't want to jump to any hasty conclusions yet, but we will certainly take a look at them and see exactly what happened, "Coton said.
He added: "We'll make sure he answers it, but obviously it's one of those claims that seems a bit far-fetched.
"L 'idea that an American military general is going to warn an adversary that an attack is imminent, as you say, while Donald Trump has never even thought of a military attack on China "said Cotton. "The whole thing is quite far away. -fetched. "