Former Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller ripped Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley on Wednesday over a report that Milley told his Chinese counterpart that he would warn the Chinese military if the U.S. — and then-president Donald Trump — was about to launch a strike.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday, based on revelations in a forthcoming book from Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, that Milley was allegedly so worried that Trump would strike China that he called and told Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army that the U.S. would not launch a strike and, that if the U.S. did, it would not be a surprise.
“General Li, I want to assure you that the American government is stable and everything is going to be okay. We are not going to attack or conduct any kinetic operations against you,” Milley reportedly said. “General Li, you and I have known each other for now five years. If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s not going to be a surprise.”
Miller told Fox News that he “did not and would not ever authorize” Milley to have “secret” calls with General Li, saying that the allegations against Milley were a “disgraceful and unprecedented act of insubordination,” and calling on him to resign “immediately.”
“The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the highest-ranking military officer whose sole role is providing military-specific advice to the president, and by law is prohibited from exercising executive authority to command forces,” Miller said. “The chain of command runs from the President to the Secretary of Defense, not through the Chairman.”
Fox News’s report said that their sources indicated that the calls “were not secret” and that about 15 people were on the two calls, which were allegedly conducted with the knowledge of then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper and then-acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller, which Miller denied.
The Washington Post’s Josh Rogin disputed Griffin’s reporting, saying that his sources said that Milley did not properly coordinate the calls, adding that a senior agency official told him, “When Milley did these calls, it was with Joint Staff, and nobody from [Office of the Secretary of Defense] participated in it. If someone from State Department was on the call, the Joint Staff should say who it is.”
I’m told this (what Jennifer tweeted) is not true. Milley did not properly coordinate: SAO: “When Milley did these calls, it was with Joint Staff, and nobody from OSD participated in it. If someone from State Department was on the call, the Joint Staff should say who it is.” https://t.co/Uub67POGEn
— Josh Rogin (@joshrogin) September 15, 2021
“If the reporting in Woodward’s book is accurate, it represents a disgraceful and unprecedented act of insubordination by the Nation’s top military officer,” Miller said, “histrionic outbursts and unsanctioned, anti-Constitutional involvement in foreign policy prove true, he must resign immediately or be fired by the Secretary of Defense to guarantee the sanctity of the officer corps.”
“Pursuit of partisan politics and individual self-interests are a violation of an officer’s sacred duty and have no place in the United States military,” Miller concluded, “a lesser ranking officer accused of such behavior would immediately be relieved of duty pending a thorough and independent investigation.”
Miller said that the notion that Trump was intent on starting a war with China was “unfounded.”
Former chief of staff for the Department of Defense Kash Patel responded to the explosive report on Milley by saying “that calling a foreign counterpart and discussing operational capabilities against that enemy is literally treasonous.”
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