The Punt on Red October: Why D Trump is alleged to have shared classified US nuclear sub secrets with A Pratt
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You’ll have seen there’s word afoot that the ex-pres Donald Trump told an Aussie billionaire all about top secret US nuclear subs, at a Mar a Lago shindig.
In a post on his social media platform Truth Social, Trump’s been quick to quash the goss – calling the reports “false and ridiculous”.
To catch you up, the former president of the United States has been accused by various papers and media outlets of sharing potentially sensitive nuclear posture secrets at a recent party. As if somehow not everything a POTUS knows about anything nuclear-related isn’t sensitive.
Trump naturally jumped on his internet with a devastating retort:
So as per the above, allegedly the corrupt US prosecutors trying to interfere with the presidential elections and in cahoots with salivating US media and desperate for a Friday night (Sydenham time) political hit job, reported allegations Donald J. Trump blabbed about top secret nuclear-themed subs to the Aussie Cardboard Box King (Visy Industries and Pratt Industries founder Anthony Pratt), while the latter was making good use of his member’s pass at the former’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.
Since Anthony Pratt is making news, a reminder of this extraordinary Pratt/Bacharach collab. pic.twitter.com/8GFsU67Wpb
— Mark Humphries (@markhumphries) October 5, 2023
Anyhoo, the ABC America Network got the ball rolling late last week, alleging Trump told Pratt (over sliders at M-A-Lago) all sorts of Tom Clancy stuff – like how many nuclear warheads the subs carry and the stealth capacity of the fleet, including distance to enemy (Russian) subs without being detected.
“Pratt told Trump he believed Australia should start buying its submarines from the United States, to which an excited Trump – ‘leaning’ towards Pratt as if to be discreet – then told Pratt two pieces of information about U.S. submarines: the supposed exact number of nuclear warheads they routinely carry, and exactly how close they supposedly can get to a Russian submarine without being detected.”
Australia, the US and the UK recently ditched a multi-billion contract with Paris, in favour of allowing Canberra to acquire nuclear-powered submarines under the trilateral AUKUS pact.
I guess if the revelations were true the people running US national secrets and the top brass at the US-now-AUKUS nuclear submarine program might not be thrilled to see decades of achievements in counter espionage tossed like a slider down the throat of a potentially delighted Aussie cardboard entrepreneur.
On the other hand, the unexpected and potentially ball-tightening turn in the conversation for nearby eavesdroppers would’ve been thrilling for the US-lovin’ Aussie billionaire who’s finally going to find himself sucked into the media supernova that is the life of the former president.
All this happened back in April 2021 and, according to the ABC America Network, Pratt’s already been grilled by The Feds.
This is what – allegedly – went down, as per ABC. And as far as unexpected encounters of the third kind goes, it doesn’t disappoint.
Sources told the network it was A Pratt who tried to kick off some repartee with the Man at Mar-a-Lago.
The cardboard king sought a subject with which he could spark some good chatter with the ex-pres – and since French-bashing is a safe bet, and subs reportedly a previous touchstone – he suggested Australia should go and buy some US submarines from Washington and not Paris.
This was all Trump needed to ‘lean in’ and divulge the dirty – allegedly – offering up the exact number of nuclear warheads US subs can carry in their payload, and exactly how close a US sub can get to a Russian sub without being detected. To be fair to the president, he did allegedly qualify his gossip with a rider along the lines of – but that’s classified, so don’t tell anyone I told you…
Excitingly, if not surprisingly, the reports go on to allege that a few moments later some 50 other punters – random guests, cheering journos, stunned staff and the occasional nearby Aussie dignitary – (read x3 former Prime Ministers) – were sucking on the succulent submarine secrets over dessert.
Apparently when Pratt was grilled by federal investigators he said he’d no idea if the ex-pres was talking turkey or was really pouring America’s military heart onto the floor of Mar-a-Lago.
Legitimate or not, Pratt only knew the president had taken him into wonderfully deep, probably-don’t-need-to-know confidence – and was told not to repeat a word.
Those secrets – which not even the highest classified US analysts are privy to – look like being enough to get the Pratt/Visy Industries boss a speaking part among a cast of some 80 witnesses the special prosecutor is likely to call upon to testify when the president’s alleged and long-awaited classified documents hoarding habits hit the courts.
A nearby Mar-a-Lago employee then – reportedly – watched Pratt share what Trump had said about the submarine fleet just minutes later, according to ABC’s sources.
The worker was said to be “bothered” and “shocked” that the former president had lobbed the bombshell nuclear deets to someone who wasn’t even a US citizen.
… though possibly not as shocked and bothered as this freaked-out sounding US nuclear-savvy spook that Bloomers got a hold of on the weekend:
“I never knew the exact payload of our nuclear subs nor the details of our anti-submarine warfare capabilities,” Joe Cirincione a security analyst who’s held ‘the highest clearance level’ when he worked in Congress on nuclear weapons issues, said.
“I did not have a need to know. The Australian billionaire didn’t have a need to know either.”
Has anyone confirmed the accuracy of the ex-president’s chat with Pratt? Not that I’ve seen, although the FBI have spoken at least twice with the magnate according to unconfirmed US reports.
The should-have-been-highly-classified chat came in April 2021, months after Trump had gracefully exited the White House, and was subsequently reported to the special prosecutor (Jack Smith) who’s had the gig to get in under the alleged illegal storage of classified documents at the Florida resort.
Smith has since charged Trump with 32 counts of ‘the unlawful retention of national defense (sic) information’ after the feds hauled out of Mar-a-Lago some 300 classified documents, post White House.
The ex-president and two of his aides are also being pinged for allegedly engaging in all sorts of crazy obstructive schemes to neuter the investigation.
All three have pleaded fake news, democratic hit job, election interference, nefarious plot, not guilty and check out the polling.
Apparently Pratt claims he ignored the president’s mum’s-the-word request and shared with everyone his newly acquired nuclear nuggets because it was a terrific way to show how he was advocating for Australia to the (former) president of America.
But which three of our remaining PMs was part of what must surely be one of Australia’s greatest naval intelligence coups since that little japanbese sub turned up in Sydney harbour?
Former Australian Prime Ministers Paul Keating and Tony Abbott told Nine media that they know nuthin’.
The cardboard magnate never talked nuclear subs with them, they say.
That leaves current Ambassador to the US Kevin Rudd, who recently turned up at the opening of Pratt’s US$700 million 100% recycled paper mill and corrugated box factory in Henderson, Kentucky.
Or what about Scott Morrison, the brains behind such hits as isolating and enraging Trump’s geopolitical whipping boy China and of course the AUKUS kerfuffle itself?
At this tantalisingly early stage, no-one really knows which Australian officials Pratt got to tell about his advocating (remember there’s three ex-PMs in there). But I read somewhere Malcolm Turnbull says he’s not one of them.
“The Department of Justice should investigate the criminal leaking, instead of perpetrating their baseless witch-hunts while knowing that President Trump did nothing wrong, has always insisted on truth and transparency, and acted in a proper manner, according to the law,” A Trump spokesperson told CNN over the weekend.
As head of a cracking packaging empire, Pratt and his family are said to be worth circa $24.3 billion.
Part of the success has been down to advocating for Donald Trump.
In 2017, Pratt made the most public of pledges to his adored then-President of the US from a stage aboard the USS Intrepid. Pratt Industries would spend $2bn in the US over the next decade to create 5000 high-paid manufacturing jobs, mainly in the Midwest.
Pratt’s businesses had factories in some 18 of the 22 swing states Trump won throughout the rustbelt revolution in 2016.
According to an interview in 2017 with the Herald Sun, their love affair goes back to a chance meeting at the centre of US industry – the Kentucky Derby in the year 2000.
President Trump is one of the few men in history who has conquered almost everything he has set out to achieve, Pratt told the Herald.
“He has a big heart that more people need to know about. There are very few people in the history of the world who have been extremely successful in two different fields to that level. He is an amazing man.’’
Pratt inherited his mantle as an Aussie manufacturing magnate from his dad – Richard Pratt – who held key positions of national significance but none more central to the functioning of the nation than president of the Carlton Football Club.
Pratt’s immense personal wealth, aided and abetted by Trump’s favourable corporate tax cuts, is funnest to track from the moment he won the attention and admiration of the president by the $100k bet he placed with bookies that Trump would win the 2016 presidential race vs. H Clinton.
What followed must’ve seemed like a dream – freshly minted membership into the hallowed halls of Mar-a-Lago, the then president’s personal appearances (alongside then-prime minister Scott Morrison) at the opening of an Ohio factory. While on the part of Pratt, all he need do to remind Trump of his open door – full page advertisements in top US mastheads (not the New York Times) which gushed vacantly of the president’s terrificness as well as regular slots on Fox News as a business genius plugging Trumpian policy.
As per The New York Times, Pratt was among the various rich-listers and trade barons seemingly buying their way into Trump’s favour.
In 2019 Pratt, Trump and Scooter Morrison launched the $250m factory in Ohio.
A painfully awkward and terribly weird moment best exemplified by this takeout from Crikey:
Pratt told Trump that Morrison was “the Don Bradman of Australian job creation” before realising who he was talking to and shifting to a baseball equivalent.
“Oh wow,” Trump replied, proving he’s much funnier when trying to be polite than he is when being deliberately rude.
Trump’s pro-big business tax breaks catapulted Visy’s US earnings to new heights in 2019 and inflated Pratt’s wealth from $12.9 billion in 2018 to $15.6 billion a year later.
Last month – as promised – Pratt Industries officially unveiled a US$700 million 100% recycled paper mill and corrugated box factory in Henderson, Kentucky.
“It is the most technologically advanced and environmentally friendly paper mill ever built and will save the equivalent of 25,000 trees every day – more trees than are in New York City’s Central Park,” Pratt Industries beamed.
“This is a very proud day for our company because this investment represents a major part of my recent pledge to the United States Ambassador to Australia, Caroline Kennedy, to invest $5 billion in recycling and clean energy infrastructure in the U.S. over the next 10 years,” Pratt told gathered luminaires.
Pratt first set up running Pratt Industries’ US business from out of Atlanta (he lived there for 14 years from the 1990s) where the company had a single paper mill in Georgia. He now has assets invested in America to the value of US$12 billion. He employs some 12,000 American green manufacturing jobs out of 72 factories spread across more than 25 states – and at an average wage of around US$100k per American.
According to the cardboard entrepreneur, he’s the largest Australian employer of Americans, although perhaps his allegiances are blurred now that Pratt refers to himself in press releases as merely “Australian-born.”