Strategic Air Command Was Not Very Strategic with the Super Secret Nuke Code of 00000000

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Top Tier Gear USA


The only numbers that stood between the world and a nuclear apocalypse were a closely guarded secret for many years but now we know that they must have been developed through intensely difficult algorithms. Obviously, great care had to be taken that this super secret code would not be easily cracked.

Thus, from 1962 until 1977, the code was…are you ready?


That’s right. Eight zeros.

This, of course, is sort of like making your password, well, “password“.

I’m thinking that the Strategic Air Command perhaps was not very strategic after all.

The emphasis, you see, was not on security as much as it was on speed. The Strategic Air Command didn’t want to have any delays in nuking the daylights out of enemies, so they made the code as simple as possible.

Here’s how it happened:

In 1962 JFK signed the National Security Action Memorandum 160, which was supposed to ensure that every nuclear weapon the US had be fitted with a Permissive Action Link (PAL), basically a small device that ensured that the missile could only be launched with the right code and with the right authority.

There was particularly a concern that the nuclear missiles the United States had stationed in other countries, some of which with somewhat unstable leadership, could potentially be seized by those governments and launched. With the PAL system, this became much less of a problem. (source)

The system was designed to be incredibly difficult to bypass, with the hacking of it once described as “about as complex as performing a tonsillectomy while entering the patient from the wrong end.

So, since it was hackproof, the decision was made to provide the incredibly simple launch code. And, if the button pusher was in a panic because, oh, they were about to NUKE AN ENTIRE COUNTRY (!!!), and they forgot the code, it was written down on a handy checklist kept near the device.

Dr. Bruce G. Blair, a Minuteman Launch Officer between the years of 1970-1974, has written several articles about the command and control systems that were in place. One of those papers was called Keeping Presidents in the Nuclear Dark. In it, he wrote about the mindboggling simplicity that stood between the world and nuclear annihilation.

…Strategic Air Command ‘remained far less concerned about unauthorized launches than about the potential of these safeguards to interfere with the implementation of wartime launch orders.’

Incredibly, he also writes that the vital combination for America’s nuclear deterrent was even helpfully noted down for the officers.

‘Our launch checklist in fact instructed us, the firing crew, to double-check the locking panel in our underground launch bunker to ensure that no digits other than zero had been inadvertently dialed into the panel,’ Dr Blair wrote. (source)

Dr. Blair spent years trying to alert the military to the serious security problems inherent in the 00000000 codes, among other issues. Fortunately for the world, he was finally successful in 1977.

Dr. Blair had previously made waves in 1977 when he wrote another article entitled “The Terrorist Threat to World Nuclear Programs“.  He had first attempted to communicate the serious security problems at the nuclear silos to congressmen starting around 1973. When that information fell on mostly deaf earshe decided to outline it for the public in this 1977 article where he described how just four people acting in tandem could easily activate a nuclear launch in the silos he had worked in. Further, amongst other things, the PAL system McNamara had touted was barely in operation and thus launches could be authorised by anyone without Presidential authority.  He also noted how virtually anyone who asked for permission to tour the launch facility was granted it with little to no background checks performed. It is, perhaps, not coincidence that the PAL systems were all activated and the codes changed the same year this article was published. (source)

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  • WhichOneIsWill

    I think this would go along the lines of, “It’s so obvious, they’ll never guess it.”

  • Locus

    “The only numbers that stood between the world and a nuclear apocalypse”

    WRONG. WRONG. Just WRONG. The Internet is so full of this right now.

    In the Daily Mail the article is technically correct but the story is worded in a way that is (deliberately and cleverly) misleading, especially how they use the word “launch” in the headline and repeatedly in the text.

    The Permissive Action Link was an ADDITIONAL SAFEGUARD placed by Kennedy between SAC headquarters and missile silos. It was designed to block teletype messages between SAC and silo unless the 8-digit codes matched. If the code did not match NOTHING would print in the silo at all and the operators would not even know they had missed a message.

    In short, a bad design.

    It was for these reasons, and because there were already sufficient safeguards against incorrect messages…

    In case of a launch order the operators STILL had to unlock their cages and crack sealed envelopes open and verify any printed teletype or spoken code against the ones in their hand, and those codes would have to come from SAC where the corresponding sealed envelopes were kept.

    It was decided not to use the PAL system. They did not have the authority to disable it so they did the next best thing, set it to all zeroes and kept it at that setting so no one would need to touch the dials (and risk changing the mechanism and rendering their communications inoperative) and at the start and end of the shift it was procedure to open the cabinet to ensure it was still zeroes.

    “just four people acting in tandem could easily activate a nuclear launch”

    That part is probably true. The responsibility-buck had to land somewhere. But at least two of those people would need to occupy trusted positions at SAC.

    Doesn’t that make more sense than bald-head crazies almost blowing up the world because they are idiots?

  • John q publik

    the password is 11111111 now.

    • Ken

      Damn I was thinking it should be like “Spaceballs”


      Damn Damn Damn.

  • WHEN linsey williams,interviewed,the military people in the AIR FORCE a few years ago,they admitted they planned to use thermobaric bombs on american towns and cites,where ever the patriots were resisting take over by government terrorists,and NOW they plan to spray poisons and virus on everyone,and are chem trailing eveyone including their own family,NOW YOU have to ask your self,if their spraying their own family,JUST HOW SMART ARE THESE AIR FORCE people anyway,THEIR NOT,the air force is controled by demons from hell,and its ran just like the masons,the lowest level grunts don’t know anything,just like all military,stupid to the bone…….THOMAS JEFFERSON warned everyone,NO STANDING MILITARY,americans are about to understand this very well,JUST BEFORE THE MILITARY KILLS their dumb ass……………

  • Name

    Morons and still morons today.

  • Ken

    If one were to take the panels off a nuclear bomb, couldnt there be some means to attach an outside device to the detontator to over ride the failsafe unit? At some point inside the unit exsists some kind of simple switch that despite the other electronics, would or could be bypassed to allow external detonation. Now detonating it inside the facility would be pointelss of course, so it would still need to be launched somehow and guided to the target. Like any other electrical device, there is always a way around the devices that control it normally.

  • No One

    Maybe this proves that no one wants to destroy the world out all the billions of us that have ever lived, absolutely no one !

  • No One

    As long as you have the crack code you don’t need to have your own Nukes.
    And they have it but have not used it.

  • No One

    Open your heads your minds to what we all are.