Squadron of Nuclear Missiles Mysteriously Shut Down. by Lounge Daddy
What powered down 50 nuclear missiles on October 23, 2010?
What exactly failed is unknown. Depending on the source it was either a “power failure,” or “equipment failure,” or just “failure.” If what happened isn’t certain, what caused the failure is likely to remain, officially, a great big question mark.
And the government probably prefers it that way.
What we do know …
Something shut down 50 nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). A full one-ninth of the U.S. missile stockpile went temporarily offline on Saturday, October 23.
It happened at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming. (View map.) The 90th Missile Wing, headquartered there, controls 150 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic nuclear missiles. They’re on full-time alert and are housed in a variety of bunkers across several states.
According to an article in The Atlantic:
Saturday morning, according to people briefed on what happened, a squadron of ICBMs suddenly dropped down into what’s known as “LF Down” status, meaning that the missileers in their bunkers could no longer communicate with the missiles themselves.
LF Down status also means that various security protocols built into the missile delivery system, like intrusion alarms and warhead separation alarms, were offline. In LF Down status, the missiles are still technically launch-able, but they can only be controlled by an airborne command and control platform.
According to the official, engineers believe that a launch control center computer (LCC), responsible for a package of at least five missiles, usually ten of them, began to “ping” out of sequence, resulting in a surge of “noise” through the system. The LCCs interrogate each missile in sequence, so if they begin to send signals out when they’re not supposed to, receivers on the missiles themselves will notice this and send out error codes.
Since LCCs ping out of sequence on occasion, missileers tried quick fixes. But as more and more missiles began to display error settings, they decided to take off-line all five LCCs that the malfunctioning center was connected to. That left 50 missiles in the dark. The missileers then restarted one of the LCCs, which began to normally interrogate the missile transceiver. Three other LCCs were successfully restarted.
The suspect LCC remains off-line.
The Atlantic also reports that the specific cause of the failure “remains unknown.” There’s speculation that it could have been cause by a breach of underground cables deep beneath the base, according to a senior military official.
Because it is allegedly “next to impossible for these systems to be hacked,” according to The Atlantic‘s source, the military does not believe the incident was caused by “malicious actors.”
A half dozen individual silos were affected by Saturday’s failure.
Two possibilities: neglect, or external attack.
One possible explanation is a growing climate of carelessness that infecting the very people charged with keeping us safe. Poorly maintained cables is being suggested as a possible cause.
For a recent example of sloppiness: In 2008, Gates fired the Secretary of the Air Force and its chief of staff after a series of incidents suggested to Gates that the service wasn’t taking its nuclear duties seriously enough. At one point, a B-52 bomber flew across the continental U.S. without realizing that its nuclear weapons were “hot.”
The other possible explanation is external computer attack; although The Atlantic‘s source dismissed this as unlikely. The CIA had been arranging to have “faulty parts” inserted into Iran’s nuclear supply chain. Events in recent weeks have made it appear likely that the faulty parts included firmware loaded with the Stuxnet computer worm. This began causing trouble in Iran, and later China; thus providing a revenge motive.
A third possibility …
For the other explanation, we turn to a very recent press conference. On Sept 27 of this year, a group of retired Air Force officers spoke at the National Press Club in Washington DC about past incidents of nuclear missiles being powered down — similar to the incident on Oct 23.
The incidents discussed at the press conference also included Unidentified Flying Objects; and each incident was also followed by military superiors ordering (and sometimes threatening) the witnesses to not talk about it.
Consider, for example, this account from Former Air Force Capt. Robert Salas (full story is available online in an article at AOL News):
On March 16, 1967, Salas was 60 feet below ground working a 24-hour shift monitoring a launch-control center outfitted with 10 nuclear Minuteman missiles.
“I got a call from the topside guard, telling me they were watching some strange lights flying around in the sky, making odd maneuvers. They didn’t think they were airplanes because they were going very fast, turning on a dime and not making a bit of noise,” Salas told AOL News.
“A few minutes later, he called back, this time screaming into the phone, scared to death, and he said, ‘Sir, I’m looking out my front window and there is a glowing red oval-shaped object hovering right above the front gate, and I’ve got all the guards out here with their weapons drawn.’ ”
As Salas started to inform his duty partner and commander about what was going on 60 feet above them, something chilling happened.
“All of a sudden, we started getting bells and whistles going off. As we looked at the display board in front of us, sure enough, the missiles began going into an unlaunchable, or no-go, mode. They couldn’t be launched — it went from green to red.
“We also had a couple of security violations, meaning there were lights indicating some kind of intrusion at the missile sites, where the missiles were actually located, about a mile or two away from the launch control facility.”
Salas said it was extraordinary that they lost so many missiles at the same time. Isolated mishaps had made a single missile go “unlaunchable,” but never 10 at once.
Interesting aftermath to the story: Salas returned to the base and was ordered to report to his squadron commander where he also met with a member of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, or AFOSI. Salas first asked if what they had just been through was some sort of Air Force exercise, and says he was told “absolutely not.”
“After we told them our recollection of the incident, the AFOSI captain wanted us to sign papers, saying we’d never talk about this and swear we wouldn’t even talk to our wives or any of the other airmen on the base — nobody.
“I felt a little weird about this because all of us who were launch officers had above top-secret clearance, and I asked, ‘If this is classified, what’s it classified as?’ And he said, ‘Secret,’ and I said, ‘Well, we’ve got above top secret — why do we have to sign anymore papers?’ ”
But further information was denied Salas and his men.
And what does he think would’ve happened to him had he gone to the press with the story?
“If I went public with this while still in the service, I would’ve been in Leavenworth [maximum security federal prison], breaking stones into little pebbles.”
Note the part that says: Salas said it was extraordinary that they lost so many missiles at the same time. Isolated mishaps had made a single missile go “unlaunchable,” but never 10 at once.
This Oct 23 incident didn’t involve 1 missile, or even 10. This is about a full 50 nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles being deactivated. This is extraordinary!
The article in The Atlantic doesn’t say anything indicating a UFO was in the area; but that isn’t going to exclude UFO involvement being a possibility.