Nuclear button chaos behind Reagan
By Katty Kay in Washington
Audio tapes just released reveal the confusion among top presidential aides over the wherabouts of the triggers for the US nuclear arsenal as Ronald Reagan recovered from an assassination attempt.
In the first few minutes after the 1981 shooting by John Hinckley, Mr Reagan’s top aides withdrew to the Situation Room which is located in the basement of the White House.
There, behind electronic locks and guarded by uniformed Secret Service agents, they tried to manage the fallout from the shooting.
Normally no tape recorders are allowed in the Situation Room, but National Security Adviser Richard Allen decided that on this occasion a recording was necessary to ensure an indisputable record of events