NEWS OF THE WEIRD

Can't Possibly Be True

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Tension over digital security is such that an alarming disclosure made in 2004 (and largely ignored) can resurface on a website in 2013 and appear even more astonishing. At the height of the Cold War in the 1960s (and largely because of Pentagon-White House contentiousness), "safeguards" were installed to prevent rogue generals from launching nuclear war on their own. What today would be a PIN number was assigned to each missile, but Strategic Air Command generals mocked the PINs by setting each one to "00000000" — a code that now would be ridiculed as naïve. "00000000" was then written out on each missile's instructions, according to the former launch control officer who disclosed it in 2004.

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