Not to worry, the nuclear launch codes are safe... STRATCOM's cryptic tweet was the gibberish handiwork of a 'SMALL CHILD'

The US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) has ended the mystery over an ominously cryptic Twitter post that some feared was a nuclear launch code, explaining that a small child unknowingly sent the meaningless message.

It turns out that STRATCOM’s Twitter manager was working remotely on Sunday and stepped away from his computer, leaving the social media account open and unattended, the command told Daily Dot reporter Mikael Thalen on Monday.

The manager’s “very young child took advantage of the situation and started playing with the keys and, unfortunately and unknowingly, posted the tweet,” STRATCOM said.

Absolutely nothing nefarious occurred, i.e., no hacking of our Twitter account. The post was discovered and notice to delete it occurred telephonically.

The explanation at least provided ironic comic relief from the purportedly high-security organization that oversees the US nuclear arsenal – but not before setting off panic and apocalyptic speculation. After the accidental message, “;l;;gmlxzssaw,” was discovered about 30 minutes later, STRATCOM deleted it and asked followers to disregard the message.

By that time, however, the post had been retweeted thousands of times and spurred much speculation – ranging from a compromised Twitter password to an imminent nuclear Armageddon. It didn’t help, either, that STRATCOM didn’t disclose what happened until the following day, after Thalen submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that forced a response.

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Screenshot © Twitter / @CalebJHull
‘Tweeting our launch codes?’ US Strategic Command sends cryptic tweet, setting off panic & speculation

Some speculation over the source of the tweet was less sinister, including a popular theory that a cat was involved. STRATCOM continued to be the butt of jokes after setting the record straight. UK hacker Marc Rogers asked, “So you’re saying hacking STRATCOM’s Twitter is child’s play?” Systems analyst Lauren Weinstein observed, “At least the kid didn’t have the launch codes.”

Reuters reporter Brad Heath found humor in the stilted language in STRATCOM’s explanation: “‘Notice to delete it occurred telephonically’ is a very good euphemism for the boss yelling at you.”

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