U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) had to give an explanation about an incoherent tweet after it left many people scratching their heads and incited some panic.
Strategic Command is in charge of the United States' nuclear weapons arsenal throughout the Army, Air Force and Navy.
USSTRATCOM—which is one of eleven unified combat commands in the United States Department of Defense—wrote in the now-deleted tweet on Sunday:
US Strategic Command just tweeted this 😬😬😬 https://t.co/2vR465AAUl— Caleb Hull (@Caleb Hull) 1616975924.0
Without a follow-up from the agency responsible for "strategic deterrence, global strike, and operating the Defense Department's Global Information Grid" many feared the mysterious tweet might have been some sort of alarm or a nuclear launch code.
People were justifiably wracking their brains.
@CalebJHull Does anyone know what that means? Did they accidentally almost tweet some top secret national security… https://t.co/44MTfBHK8Z— Hi (@Hi) 1616976293.0
@CalebJHull Skynet has taken over... It’s speaking their language... 🤣 https://t.co/46n8XqNc9K— Rahul Betgeri (@Rahul Betgeri) 1616976955.0
Journalist Mikael Thalen filed a freedom of information act request (FOIA) with Strategic Command and received a response after 4 hours and 42 minutes.
Thalen discovered the culprit for the cryptic message was a child who accessed the unattended computer belonging to the Twitter manager for the agency.
"Filed a FOIA request with U.S. Strategic Command to see if I could learn anything about their gibberish tweet yesterday," wrote Thalen.
"Turns out their Twitter manager left his computer unattended, resulting in his 'very young child' commandeering the keyboard."
Filed a FOIA request with U.S. Strategic Command to see if I could learn anything about their gibberish tweet yeste… https://t.co/8SR9c3JdNz— Mikael Thalen (@Mikael Thalen) 1617054706.0
The explanation for the accidental balderdash read as follows:
"The Command's Twitter manager, while in a telework status, momentarily left the Comannd's Twitter account open and unattended."
"His very young child took advantage of the situation and started playing with the keys and unfortunately, and unknowingly, posted the tweet."
The agency assured:
"Absolutely nothing nefarious occurred, i.e., no hacking of our Twitter account. The post was discovered and notice to delete it occurred telephonically."
@MikaelThalen "notice to delete it occurred telephonically" is a very good euphemism for the boss yelling at you.— Brad Heath (@Brad Heath) 1617056974.0
Of course, Twitter being Twitter, users had fun with the gaffe.
@MikaelThalen @benedictevans I know the feeling https://t.co/t6mQ9M8xg5— i b ur doug (@i b ur doug) 1617063946.0
@MikaelThalen @sandeep_PT The young child's tweet got way better engagement, which means the StratCom should immedi… https://t.co/UJBmLk2C57— X Æ A-12 Cov-19 (@X Æ A-12 Cov-19) 1617077467.0
Future History book: The Nuclear disaster in 2022 was caused by... https://t.co/WSN2dCskqR— Jon Nicosia (@Jon Nicosia) 1617055207.0
Some young kid in Nebraska is in big trouble 😂 https://t.co/DDK0jOtObZ https://t.co/9IOWqi1itK— Jordan Pascale🎙️ #WeMakeWAMU (@Jordan Pascale🎙️ #WeMakeWAMU) 1617055517.0
@MikaelThalen *This is JUMBO with a SILVERFLASH message for TIMMY in three parts.* BREAK, BREAK. Part One: Call da… https://t.co/rt5OTPA9aI— J. T. LaSaine (@J. T. LaSaine) 1617057558.0
@MikaelThalen @Regcoppinger I don't see the problem. There was a child in charge of the nuclear codes for the last 4 years 💁🏼♂️— Ambrose (@Ambrose) 1617120150.0
@MikaelThalen @damilne1 Not a cat then? I'm disappointed. https://t.co/sk61d0RZbR— Captain Tweep 🏴🇪🇺 (@Captain Tweep 🏴🇪🇺) 1617099940.0
As you were, folks.
Nothing to see here.