The Best Theory We've Heard Yet: The "Mystery Missile" Was Actually A Covert Spy Satellite


We’ve heard a few theories of what the mystery missile off the coast of California was:

  • Some kind of fat finger error on the part of someone in a missile station somewhere.
  • A missile shot from a submarine, possibly a nuke. (One ex-defence chief thought it might even be a show of technical force to coincide with Obama’s trip overseas)
  • A test.

Marc Ambinder, who is an encyclopedia of how the government works, thinks it could be a a spy satellite. He tweets:

When launching spy satellites, opsec = timing of launch… post-launch cover story can be weak.

So, basically, it could have been an impromptu satellite launch.

Meanwhile, there’s plenty of concern out there, like what we mentioned earlier, that the government’s inability to comment is pretty terrifying.

Here’s Naval Analyst Raymond Pritchett (via Wired)

When someone makes an unannounced launch what looks to be a ballistic missile 35 miles from the nations second largest city (at sea in international waters), and 18 hours later NORAD still doesn’t have any answers at all – that complete lack of information represents a credible threat to national security. If NORAD can’t answer the first and last question, then I believe it is time to question every single penny of ballistic missile defence funding in the defence budget. NORTHCOM needs to start talking about what they do know, rather than leaving the focus on what they don’t know.

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