In 1962, President Kennedy was fearful that individual military commanders had too much leeway to launch nuclear attacks on their own initiative, and instituted a new policy that an eight-digit password would be neccessary to launch missiles. Air Force officers, more fearful of delayed nuclear response than a rogue commander, followed the letter if not the spirit of the rule and used 00000000 in every missile silo – – and, just like half the people in your office do with your passwords, they then wrote the eight-digit sequence on a piece of paper to make sure nobody forgot. The Air Force disputes this story, but it comes from Bruce Blair, who was an Air Force launch office in the 1970’s.
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