If the President of the United States ever needs to do the unthinkable and order the use of nuclear weapons, he cannot rely on name recognition alone. The process for launch authorization includes confirming the President’s identity with a credit-card-sized piece of plastic called “the biscuit.” That piece of plastic is an essential piece of the process, and without it, not even the President can unleash Armageddon.
It stands to reason that the biscuit must always be readily accessible. Unfortunately, that has not always proven true. Despite never being officially confirmed, it is an open secret in Washington, DC circles that President Jimmy Carter once sent the nuclear launch codes to the dry cleaners, left in the pockets of one of his suits.
Additionally, President Bill Clinton once lost his nuclear codes and failed to report it. According to General Hugh Shelton, who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time, “the codes were actually missing for months.” Shelton wrote in his memoir Without Hesitation, “That’s a big deal — a gargantuan deal.”