General: Clinton White House lost nuke code WASHINGTON, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- The top-secret codes that let the president launch a nuclear attack got lost for months around 2000, a former Joint Chiefs chairman said. In his book "Without Hesitation," retired Gen. Hugh Shelton wrote, "Even though movies may show the president wearing these codes around his neck, it's pretty standard that they are safeguarded by one of his aides, but that aide sticks with him like glue." President Bill Clinton "assumed, I'm sure, that the aide had them like he was supposed to" and was probably unaware of the problem, he said. "The codes were actually missing for months," Shelton said. "We dodged a silver bullet." What apparently went missing was a card with code numbers that let the president access a briefcase -- the "football," always kept by an aide close by -- containing instructions for launching a nuclear attack. Once a month, the military verifies the president has the right codes. At least twice in a row, Shelton wrote, an aide told the checker the president was in a meeting but assured him he had the codes. Then one month around 2000, when it was time to replace the codes, the president's aide said they had completely disappeared.