President Reagan temporarily lost possession of his secret personal nuclear code card after he was shot last March, setting off a tug of war between the FBI and his military aides, the Washington Post reports.
After Mr. Reagan's recovery, the administration apparently conducted a thorough review of how the system worked that day.
Attorney General William French Smith apparently mediated the dispute, ordering the FBI to temporarily keep the card, which is needed to verify presidential strike orders in military emergencies. It was returned two days later.
The card is the only device personally carried by the President to authenticate his nuclear commands. It contains a series of coded numbers and words with which he can identify himself to military officials in the Pentagon's war room.
White House communications director David Gergen said the national security of the United States was not impaired.