Sunday, September 23, 2007

How Chinese Military Hackers Took Over A Nuclear-Armed B52

by William Thomas

"Within hours, an airplane with a wingspan longer than the Wright Brothers’ first flight was safely loaded with avgas, sandwiches, and six nuclear weapons. Uploaded to the bomber using an accordion cradle on each missile trolley, each Advanced Cruise Missile was fueled once it was secured to a hard point under the aircraft’s wings. Because the ACMs were not inside a bomb bay, where they could be armed in flight, each underslung missile had to be fully armed before takeoff. “Wing walker” is not a B-52 job description. The plates connecting the firing circuits of each warhead to the cockpit were then activated, and the safeties were pulled from each clearly marked “nuclear weapon”-rendering it “live”. For the Explosive Ordnance Disposal detail who performed the loadout, there could be no doubt they were activating six nuclear weapons.

Alarms on the flight line should have sounded as soon as they sniffed hot ions leaking from the pulled pile rods in six slowly fissioning warheads. But the alarms remain silenced. That order, Hank insisted, could only have come under the properly coded signature of the National Command Authority-Commander-in-Chief G.W. Bush or Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates.

The ensuing takeoff was an event branded on the central nervous system of every creature in auditory range as eight jet engines at maximum takeoff thrust levitated six missiles, up to 46,000 gallons of fuel, and an airplane the length of a 150-foot ship into a blue yonder that had just become much wilder. Everyone within miles knew that a B-52 had come into Minot and taken off again. But only God and the devil knew where it was going.

And they weren’t saying.

In the silence left by this momentous departure, if there were questions, nobody voiced them. Perhaps there were a few quietly delivered high-fives instead. Despite the high stress that runs counter to every human instinct, everyone involved had carried out their assigned duties with complete attention to the details required to launch a half-dozen live nuclear weapons “safely”. The professionally conducted operation was carried off in complete secrecy, without a hitch, only after the loadout and launch order had been digitally confirmed as coming from the NCA. There was only one problem regarding the originators of those orders, Hank emailed me:

IT WAS NOT US.”

Once the B-52 was airborne, it flew into an electronic black hole. No electromagnetic emissions came from the bomber. There were no radio calls to home base asking, “Are you guys sure you really want to do this?” Even more startling, no coded IFF squawks identified the BUFF (Big Ugly Fat Fucker) as friendly to prowling post-9/11 fighters. And no transponder beeps identified the airplane and its mission."


added 9/23 - The main thing that I take away from this essay is the fact of strict protocols and procedures every step of the way in the transport of weapons of mass destruction. Tests and retests, redundancy of checkpoints, verifications and monitors and all the rest of the stifling conduct the military is famous for would be strictly adhered to. Orders would be rigorously followed.

With an incident so egregious, so frightening, we should expect the fraudulent cover stories to commence, and the WaPost doesn't disappoint us. In an insulting piece of garbage that came out today called Missteps in the Bunker, we're supposed to believe that oopsie, some small goof happened and by golly those nuclear bombs were somehow just overlooked:

" After eyeballing the missiles on the right side, a flight officer signed a manifest that listed a dozen unarmed AGM-129 missiles. The officer did not notice that the six on the left contained nuclear warheads, each with the destructive power of up to 10 Hiroshima bombs."
(...)
A simple error in a missile storage room led to missteps at every turn, as ground crews failed to notice the warheads, and as security teams and flight crew members failed to provide adequate oversight and check the cargo thoroughly."

Total bullshit. This is the cover story we're handed whenever we confront Real Bad News. "By cracky we never would have expected Iraq to turn out this way!" "Katrina took us all by surprise, donchaknow!" "Those Abu Ghraib guards, how could such a few bad apples do that stuff?"
It's pure propaganda to protect serial scumbags who couldn't face up to their responsibilities and the consequences of their actions if their lives depended on it. Nothing was ignored or disregarded that day, that's impossible to do with strict protocols and security requirements in place. The Post fabrication unwittingly alerts us to this fact when it later admits:

"The news, when it did leak, provoked a reaction within the defense and national security communities that bordered on disbelief."

added 9/25 - It looks like I'm not the only one thinking the Post article was smoke and mirrors.
Missteps in the Bunker - DAMAGE CONTROL?
"The Washington Post article is one big dis-information piece and rates as perhaps the worst piece of propaganda I've ever read in years. I'd like to think for now that Warrick and Pincus aren't part of such a blatant attempt at damage control. In fact, the innumerable inaccuracies are a total insult to any reader with even half a brain still working."

2 Comments:

Anonymous Nick Z. said...

Strange orders, in any case, no matter how they were enacted. I mean, why would such peculiar orders exist in the first place, I have to wonder?

Activating nukes manually and attaching them to the wings on the outside of a B-52?

Very peculiar.

23/9/07 10:30 AM  
Blogger nolocontendere said...

Well, these were cruise missiles, and the whole episode is so freaky that it just may be that the author is on to something.

23/9/07 7:43 PM  

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