Amid reports that White House Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley vowed to tip China off regarding any potential U.S. attack, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., crafted a letter calling for President Joe Biden to fire his top general immediately.
"I write with grave concern regarding recent reporting that Gen. Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, worked to actively undermine the sitting commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces and contemplated a treasonous leak of classified information to the Chinese Communist Party in advance of a potential armed conflict with the People's Republic of China (PRC)," Rubio wrote to Biden on Tuesday.
"These actions by Gen. Milley demonstrate a clear lack of sound judgment, and I urge you to dismiss him immediately," the letter continued.
The reports came from myriad outlets outlining the contents of "Peril," a new book by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, which will be released Sept. 21.
The book claims that Milley told his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Li Zuocheng, in a pair of secret calls — one four days before the presidential election, the other two days after the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol — he would give China a heads-up on a U.S. attack.
"Gen. Li, I want to assure you that the American government is stable and everything is going to be O.K.," Milley told Li, the book claimed, as The Washington Post reported. "We are not going to attack or conduct any kinetic operations against you.
"Gen. 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."
Rubio warned that such a leak would be dangerous for U.S. forces and damaging to national security.
"I do not need to tell ... you the dangers posed by senior military officers leaking classified information on U.S. military operations, but I will underscore that such subversion undermines the president's ability to negotiate and leverage one of this nation's instruments of national power in his interactions with foreign nations," Rubio's letter to Biden continued.
"Even more egregiously, reports indicate that General Milley interfered with the procedures by which the civilian commander-in-chief can order a nuclear strike," the letter read.
"He purportedly instructed officials not to take orders without his involvement and forced them to take an oath to that effect. A senior military officer interfering with that civilian-controlled process is simply unacceptable at best, and at worst, would cause ambiguity which could lead to war."
Milley's alleged actions undermine not only the president but the choice Americans made of their commander in chief.
"Gen. Milley has attempted to rationalize his reckless behavior by arguing that what he perceived as the military's judgment as more stable than its civilian commander," Rubio added in his letter to Biden. "It is a dangerous precedent that could be asserted at any point in the future by Gen. Milley or others. It threatens to tear apart our nation's longstanding principle of civilian control of the military.
"You must immediately dismiss Gen. Milley," Rubio's letter concluded. "America's national security and ability to lead in the world are at stake."
These surfaced allegations are only the latest snag on Milley in the public view. Among the other issues that have damaged him in the public eye:
- Appearing with former President Donald Trump in the long-rebuked walk to the vandalized church outside the White House at the height of the protests that followed the murder of George Floyd by a police officer.
- Stressing the need to address the alleged scourge of "white rage" or domestic terrorism in the military.
- The chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, including leaving billions of dollars of military equipment, leaving behind U.S. citizens and critical allies, and permitting the Taliban to swiftly take control of the country before the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
Milley was elevated to his position by Trump, but Trump has told Newsmax he regrets that decision, suggesting the fact former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis did not like Milley might have been reason enough for Trump to like him. Ultimately, Trump told host Greg Kelly, he knew he had hired ''a loser" in Milley.
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