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Security quotes of the week

And while Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara directly oversaw the installation of PALs [Permissive Action Links] on the US-based ICBM arsenal, US Strategic Command generals almost immediately had the PAL codes all reset to 00000000 to ensure that the missiles were ready for use regardless of whether the president was available to give authorization.
Sean Gallagher on the "secret" codes needed to launch Minuteman nuclear missiles

Tensions in Thailand are high as a week of anti-government protests have turned violent and continue unabated. However, in an apparent reversal of a common theme with anti-government protests in recent years, multiple news sources have reported that protestors temporarily cut off a large portion of Internet service to their country.
Doug Madory in the Renesys blog

The letter was much more pretentious in its presentation of what the NSA was dealing with in the aftermath of Snowden’s disclosures. The letter also accused media outlets of “sensationalizing” leaks. These talking points refrained from specifically suggesting media reports have been incorrect. Sending these kinds of documents home with employees to share with family is emblematic of the insular culture of people who have committed their lives to Top Secret America and have placed themselves above criticism by any person, whether they be in the halls of power, a media organization or a civil society group in this country. And, while the talking points are for employees’ family members, they could also be for employees too.
Kevin Gosztola dismantles the claims in an NSA "talking points for holiday gatherings" handout
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Security quotes of the week

Posted Dec 8, 2013 14:47 UTC (Sun) by Jandar (subscriber, #85683) [Link]

coup?

Posted Dec 12, 2013 20:51 UTC (Thu) by deconfliction (guest, #94407) [Link]

"US Strategic Command generals almost immediately had the PAL codes all reset to 00000000 to ensure that the missiles were ready for use regardless of whether the president was available to give authorization."

The implication seems to be this was in defiance of McNamara, and perhaps the president. Wouldn't such commandeering of the nuclear arsenal be a literal coup?

coup?

Posted Dec 12, 2013 20:59 UTC (Thu) by mathstuf (subscriber, #69389) [Link]

I read that 00000000 is/was the code for the missiles themselves, not the payload.

coup?

Posted Dec 12, 2013 21:44 UTC (Thu) by magfr (subscriber, #16052) [Link]

If you were able to send a US missile towards USSR during the height of the cold war then the fact that it was a dud wasn't that important - the return missile probably would be armed => Boom.

coup?

Posted Dec 13, 2013 4:50 UTC (Fri) by mathstuf (subscriber, #69389) [Link]

We've had close[1] calls[2]. I'd think the reasoning was more for retaliation ourselves than first strike capabilities. If something happened where we couldn't get the nukes armed, at least drop some weights on them. That's really just speculation though.

Sometimes the short-sightedness of people (and groups thereof) really amazes me. The whole MAD problem is insane when you think about it. As if there was going to be a winner if it ever happened. Communism, capitalism; who the fuck would care at that point?

[1]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanislav_Petrov
[2]http://www.mentalfloss.com/article/25685/7-close-calls-nu...


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