This is extremely disturbing. Two days ago Bob Woodward claimed in his new book that General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, pledged to warn China in advance if then-President Trump ordered any attacks on Chinese interests. Many people found this claim difficult to believe, including myself.

This report claims Milley pledged to alert his CCP counterpart in the event of a U.S. attack, quoting Milley as saying: "General Li, you & 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."

"In a pair of secret phone calls, Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, assured his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Li Zuocheng of the PLA, that the U.S. would not strike, according to a new book by Bob Woodward & Robert Costa."

Yesterday Milley issued a statement that doesn't deny the substance of the allegation.

NEW statement from Milley spokesman Col. Dave Butler:

"The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs regularly communicates with Chiefs of Defense across the world, including with China and Russia..."

"...These conversations remain vital to improving mutual understanding of U.S. national security interests, reducing tensions, providing clarity and avoiding unintended consequences or conflict..."

"...His calls with the Chinese and others in October and January were in keeping with these duties and responsibilities conveying reassurance in order to maintain strategic stability..."

"...All calls from the Chairman to his counterparts, including those reported, are staffed, coordinated and communicated with the Department of Defense and the interagency..."

"...Also in keeping with his responsibilities as senior military advisor to the President and Secretary of Defense, General Milley frequently conducts meetings with uniformed leaders across the Services to ensure all leaders are aware of current issues..."

"...The meeting regarding nuclear weapons protocols was to remind uniformed leaders in the Pentagon of the long-established and robust procedures in light of media reporting on the subject..."

"...General Milley continues to act and advise within his authority in the lawful tradition of civilian control of the military and his oath to the Constitution."

Nowhere in his statement does Milley deny bypassing the elected civilian leadership of the country to offer assurances to China.

Update:

Fox News reports that Milley's calls were coordinated with the Trump's Secretary of Defense.

But Fox News spoke with multiple individuals who were in the room during the two phone calls Milley had with Li. The calls, in October, were coordinated with then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper's office.

"They were not secret," a U.S. official told Fox News about the calls, which took place over video teleconference.

Fox News has learned there were about 15 people present for the calls. Sources told Fox News that there were multiple notetakers present, and said the calls were both conducted with full knowledge of then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper and then-acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller - something Miller denied.

But Miller says:

Former acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, who led the Pentagon from the period after the 2020 election through Inauguration Day, said that he "did not and would not ever authorize" Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley to have "secret" calls with his Chinese counterpart, describing the allegations as a "disgraceful and unprecedented act of insubordination," and calling on him to resign "immediately."

I think we need to hear from Mark Esper.

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