23 November 2008

The U.S. nuclear "secret unlock code" was... 00000000

Those of you who are embarrassed to admit that your passwords for most sites are not robust enough may be able to take some comfort from this admission about events during the height of the Cold War. In the 1960s Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, concerned about nuclear security, had "technical locks" placed on the Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles to prevent unauthorized deployment.
The Strategic Air Command (SAC) in Omaha quietly decided to set the “locks” to all zeros in order to circumvent this safeguard. During the early to mid-1970s, during my stint as a Minuteman launch officer, they still had not been changed. 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. SAC remained far less concerned about unauthorized launches than about the potential of these safeguards to interfere with the implementation of wartime launch orders. And so the “secret unlock code” during the height of the nuclear crises of the Cold War remained constant at 00000000.
Found at Reddit, where the discussion thread also revealed that in that same era, the British RAF's nuclear bombs were armed by using a bicycle lock key...
To arm the weapons you just open a panel held by two captive screws - like a battery cover on a radio - using a thumbnail or a coin.

Inside are the arming switch and a series of dials which you can turn with an Allen key to select high yield or low yield, air burst or groundburst and other parameters.

The Bomb is actually armed by inserting a bicycle lock key into the arming switch and turning it through 90 degrees. There is no code which needs to be entered or dual key system to prevent a rogue individual from arming the Bomb.
The bomb in the header is not a Minuteman missile or an RAF bomb. It is the nuclear fission device AN602 - Kuzkina Mat - being washed by some cleaning women.


  1. The bomb in the picture is not just "random" Russian bomb, it's nuclear fission device AN602 - Kuzkina Mat (the most powerful and destructive weapon ever built). Over 50 megatons of explosive power!

    It's nice to know that it's clean :)

    1. It would have to be a thermonuclear bomb to have that yield, get your facts right, the largest fission bombs ever detonated have only a yield of approximately 0.5 megatons

    2. Here's the Wikipedia entry -

      The Tsar Bomba was a three-stage Teller–Ulam design hydrogen bomb with a yield of 50 to 58 megatons of TNT (210 to 240 PJ).

      Wrong? I'm not taking sides; I have no idea what's right. I'm just quoting the sources available to me. I'm an English major.

  2. Thanks, Volo. I've added your information to the post.

  3. And the US is still trying to prosecute UK resident, Gary McKinnon, for "hacking" into "secured" governmental websites when all he did was use the word "password," which was never reset from the default PASSWORD.

    But he DID discover that the US has a secret space program, with off-planet fleets and who-knows-what kind of technology that could revolutionize our planet and get us completely away from both oil AND nuclear, both of which are killing us...literally and figuratively. That was a BIG no-no. The oligarchy/corporatocracy would never stand for that being known publicly so Gary must be made an example of.

    Still, it is shocking to hear of reports like these. It doesn't lead to confidence in our leaders (assuming we had any to begin with...)

  4. http://projectcamelot.org/jake_simpson.html

  5. Thank you. Here's an excerpt from your link that will provide the gist for interested readers -

    "Jake did not blink when we mentioned time travel, the Mars base, or the advanced fleet of craft which we had been told by Henry Deacon serviced it. Jake told us that some of the advanced craft were capable of traveling from geostationary orbit (22,300 miles) to treetop height in five seconds. (Work it out: that's about 16 million miles per hour - although Jake made it clear that the craft would not actually be moving through space in the normal sense... and would also never be seen unless this was intended.) Some of the craft were "larger on the inside than outside".

    Had they traveled to the outer reaches of the solar system? Yes. Beyond our solar system? Yes. Are some of them superluminal (i.e. capable of faster-than-light travel)? Yes..."

  6. Guess we know it's not a "dirty" bomb.

  7. well if you think about it during the high stress conditions of a NUCLEAR WAR do you really wanna be fumbling around complicated mechanisms? You want your men to carry out those orders without thinking. Do you want some guy to have a moment to reflect on the millions that will die from his deed when there might be a swarm of ICBMs heading your way while he is inputting some code? I bet the adrenaline rush from waging nuclear war would be so great you would forget your name......

    1. If the world is about to end in a nuclear holocast, is retaliation whats most important?


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