EXCLUSIVE: Former Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, who led the Pentagon from the period after the 2020 election until the day of the inauguration, he said he " did not and never would allow "Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley to have " secret "calls with his data Chinese counterpart , describing the allegations like a "shameful and unprecedented act of insubordination " and calling on him to resign "immediately
In a statement to Fox News, Miller said that the armed forces of the United States, since their inception, have " operated under the inviolable principle of civilian control of the military. "
MILEY THE SPOKESMAN DEFENDS CALLS WITH CHINA AS 'VITAL ' TO AVOID UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OR CONFLICT '
"The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the highest ranking military officer whose sole role is to provide specific military advice to the President, and he is prohibited by law from exercising executive authority to command the forces, "Miller said. " The chain of command runs from the President to the Secretary of Defense, not through the President. "
Miller went on to refer to the allegations, which are included in the book "Peril " co-authored by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, that Milley made two secret phone calls, both to his Chinese counterpart, General Li Zuocheng of the People's Liberation Army. The book claims that the phone calls took place before the 2020 presidential election, October 30, 2020, and then two days after the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill, January 8, 2021.
The book claims that Milley contacted Li after reviewing information suggesting that Chinese authorities believed the United States was planning an attack on China amid military exercises in the South China Sea. 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 advances or attack China in any form, as Milley had. promised, "We are 100% stable. Everything is fine. But democracy can be sloppy sometimes.
But Fox News spoke with pseveral people who were in the room during the two phone calls Milley had with Li. The calls in October were coordinated with Defense at the time. Office of Secretary Mark Esper.
"They were not secret, " a US official told Fox News of the calls, which were made by video conference.
Fox News has learned there were about 15 people present for the calls. Sources told Fox News there were several note takers present, and said the calls were both made with the full knowledge of then-Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Secretary of State. to Acting Defense Chris Miller - which Miller denied. .
"If the report in Woodward's book is correct, it represents This is a shameful and unprecedented act of insubordination on the part of the nation's highest military officer ", Miller said, adding that while the story of the "rampages histrionics and Milley's unauthorized and unconstitutional involvement in foreign policy were true, he must resign immediately or be dismissed by the Secretary of Defense to ensure the sanctity of the officer corps. "
The director of the CentNational counterterrorism leader Christopher Miller testifies during a Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs hearing on "Threats to the Fatherland" on Capitol Hill on September 24, 2020 in Washington, DC (Photo by Joshua Roberts-Pool / Images)
"Pursuit of partisan politics and individual personal interests are a violation of the sacred duty of an officer and have no place in it US Army, "Miller said, adding that " a lower-ranking officer accused of such behavior would immediately be released. I would only be relieved of my duties pending a full investigation and independent. "
" As Secretary of Defense, I have not and will never authorize such conduct, "Miller said.
Miller went on to explain that "the reason " he agreed to serve as Secretary of Defense for the former president Trump was "because of his commitment to our military, veterans and their families and his concern to end our involvement in overseas operations that lacked strategic coherence.
"Any accusation that President Trump intended to start a war with China is completely unfounded," Miller said. more aggressive approach to China, but he was elected to end our nation's wars, not to start new ones. I was proud to play a small role in achieving these goals. "
Miller added: " I look forward to a full, non-partisan investigation into the accusations made by Woodward to ensure that the genius of our founders and subsequent generations who established a system and culture of subjugation of our military - our nation's most powerful force - to civilian control endures. "
And former head of stateDefense Ministry Staff Kash Patel told Fox News that "the law governing Joint Chiefs of Staff specifically prohibits the president from exercising any operational command authority.
"Congress put this into law because the US military is being led by a civilian, the Commander-in-Chief, " Patel continued. deployments, war heater t operations and nuclear control. "
MILLEY CALLS WITH CHINESE COUNTERPART 'WERE NOT SECRET ': US OFFICIALS
Patel added that if the calls with China are true, Milley "broke the law regarding operational authority.
"Calling a foreign counterpart and discussing operational capabilities against this enemy is literally a betrayal, "Patel said. " The White House, neither the office of theDefense Secretary has authorized the president to make calls with Chinese officials regarding the operations. "
And Deputy Defense Department Chief of Staff Joe Francescon also said to Fox News that it was "the policy at the time that there was no high-level government engagement with China, due to their evil deeds and efforts.
Francescon added that it was the "general policy at the time not to have high-level engagement with the Chinese on issues like this ", and added that Miller and his office had "not been informed in advance of any appeal to the Chinese in particular ". "
" At most, they were introduced to that Milley called on foreign allies and partners to reassure them, "he said.
But the spokesperson for the Joint Chiefs of Staff Col. Dave Butler defends the allegations of "secret " calls with his China count erpart , saying the conversations are "vital" to "reducing tensions" and "avoiding unforeseen consequences or conflicts," saying the calls have been coordinated with high-level defense officials.
"The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs communicates regularly with defense chiefs around the world, including China and Russia. These conversations remain vital to improving mutual understanding of the national security interests of the United States, reduce tensions, provide clarity and avoid unintended consequences or conflicts, ”Milley's spokesman Col. Dave Butler said in a statement on Wednesday.
Butler said that Milley's appeals with the Chinese and others in October and January were in accordance with these reassured duties and responsibilities in order to maintain the stability of the country.rategic. "
" All calls from the president to his counterparts, including those reported, are managed, coordinated and communicated with the Defense Department and the interagency, "said Butler .
"Also in True to his responsibilities as Senior Military Advisor to the President and Secretary of Defense, General Milley frequently arranges meetings with uniformed leaders across all services to keep him informed. ensure all leaders are aware of current issues, ”Butler continued. "The meeting regarding the nuclear weapons protocols was intended 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 advise within the framework of his authority in the legal tradition of civilian control of the army and his oath to the Constitution.
Meanwhile , a resAn American official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, maintained that Milley regularly called his Chinese and Russian counterparts, and explained that he has been talking to Li for about five years. The source said it 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 representative from the State Department and Milley's political advisor. Notes of the calls were taken and a briefing note was sent to the secretary at Defense and the communityintelligence, said the official.
"It wasn 't given 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 focused on the elections. 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 call 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 following the January 6 Riot in an attempt to reassure them of stability government and reassure China that the United States. S. did not plan a surprise attack - all of this in theaim to reduce 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.
The White House also defends Milley, with White House press secretary Jen Psaki claiming the president "worked side by side with the president Milley for almost eight months as chairman of the joint chiefs lived with him, is that he is a patriot. "
" This is someone who is loyal to the Constitution and he has confidence in his leadership. And the role he played in his experience with it, "Psaki said. ad-h-50 ad-w-300 ">
Psaki added that the President " knows General Milley, "and said " they worked side by side through a series d 'international events. "
" The President has complete confidence in his leadership, patriotism and loyalty to our Constitution, "Psaki said.
Fox News 'Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report.