Pendant plus de 15 ans, de 1962 à 1977, le code "secret" pour déverrouiller le tir des missiles à charge nucléaire était 00000000 et était écrit sur la procédure à suivre pour tirer…
Il avait été mis en place par le président Kennedy, sous l’influence de Robert McNamara qui souhaitait remettre en place un contrôle des militaires par les civils.
Permissive Action Link - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Newer, more sophisticated nuclear weapons were simpler in their operation and were produced en masse. They were less cumbersome to arm and use than previous designs. Accordingly, new controls were necessary to prevent their unauthorized use. As the Cold War came to a head in the 1960s, the government felt it best not to leave the use of nuclear weapons in the hands of possibly-renegade generals, including the commander of Strategic Air Command (SAC). Without Permissive Action Links, nuclear weapons were effectively under the independent command of a number of generals.
Il faut dire, le patron du SAC, le général Thomas Power était considéré par certains de ses subordonnés comme instable… Le code fut donc mis en place, mais par souci d’efficacité mis à 0 et affiché…
For the Minuteman ICBM force, the US Air Force’s Strategic Air Command worried that in times of need the codes would not be available, so they quietly decided to set them to 00000000. The missile launch checklists included an item confirming this combination until 1977.
C’est Bruce Blair,un ancien officier de tir dans le Montana, qui le révéla à McNamara en 2004.
Keeping Presidents in the Nuclear Dark (Episode #1 : The Case of the Missing “Permissive Action Links”) - Bruce G. Blair, Ph.D.
Last month I asked Robert McNamara, the secretary of defense during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, what he believed back in the 1960s was the status of technical locks on the Minuteman intercontinental missiles. These long-range nuclear-tipped missiles first came on line during the Cuban missile crisis and grew to a force of 1,000 during the McNamara years — the backbone of the U.S. strategic deterrent through the late 1960s. McNamara replied, in his trade-mark, assertively confident manner that he personally saw to it that these special locks (known to wonks as “Permissive Action Links”) were installed on the Minuteman force, and that he regarded them as essential to strict central control and preventing unauthorized launch.
When the history of the nuclear cold war is finally comprehensively written, this McNamara vignette will be one of a long litany of items pointing to the ignorance of presidents and defense secretaries and other nuclear security officials about the true state of nuclear affairs during their time in the saddle. What I then told McNamara about his vitally important locks elicited this response: “I am shocked, absolutely shocked and outraged. Who the hell authorized that?” What he had just learned from me was that the locks had been installed, but everyone knew the combination.
Récit par le Guardian (2004)
Zero protection from nuclear code | World news | The Guardian
In the darkest days of the cold war, as the world trembled on the brink of a nuclear war, one thing above all stood in the way of catastrophe: the secret eight-digit access number required to launch America’s arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Without that vital obstacle, anybody - a crazed military commander, or a terrorist - might have been able to spark a conflict that would have killed millions.
For the sake of our sanity, then, perhaps it’s best that we have had to wait until now to discover that for many years, according to an expert closely involved in the process, the eight digits in question were 00000000.
Un article de 2005 sur le contrôle de l’arme nucléaire avec, notamment, ce passage sur les compromis à trouver entre sécurité et facilité de mise en œuvre…
US Nuclear Weapon Safety and Control , Grant Elliott
These tradeoffs lie at the heart of the technical problems of safety and control. Ultimately, choices must be made and the middle ground will surely come at some cost to peace of mind. No technological solution can solve the fundamental problems of securing a weapon while maintaining its usability. Weapon control will always be a human issue.
Et qui conclut sur l’aspect à double tranchant de la sécurité : la croyance en un système de contrôle efficace autorise la prolifération…
It is not surprising that attempts to control a weapon will limit its use; what is surprising is that the political freedom gained by imple- menting these measures may actually act to promote the construction of more weapons. Once a government is confident that its weapons are securely within its control and the people are confident those weapons are unlikely to accidently injure them, a major roadblock to prolif- eration is lifted. Safety and control quickly becomes a double-edged sword.
Le dispositif de protection est appelé PAL, ce qui signifiait initialement Prohibited Action Link (verrouillage d’une action interdite) mais s’interrogeant sur l’effet psychologique de cette dénomination, elle avait été remplacée par Permissive Action Link (verrouillage d’une action admise).