Monday, July 24, 2017

War Games Almost Go Real

From Thomas Powers - "Intelligence Wars" (p. 351)

Note: General William Odom was former director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence (ACSI) - Army Intelligence.

"It was in this climate of heightened fear and apprehension late in the Carter administration that the American nuclear command and control structure was upset by a series of false alarms - erroneous reports from technical systems that an attack was under way."

"In the most dramatic of these episodes the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD), from its bomb-proof post deep beneath Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado, informed Colonel (later General) William Odom, military assistant to Carter's national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, that the Soviet Union had launched 220 missiles targeted on the United States."

"Odom, at three o'clock in the morning, called Brzezinski, who prepared himself to notify the President in time for the US to retaliate - that is, within three to seven minutes after the Soviet launch. Soon Odom called again to confirm the bad news, adding that the revised, now-correct number of attacking Soviet missiles was 2,200 - the long-dreaded, all out Pearl Harbor-style first strike intended to destroy American missiles in their silos. Brzezinski did not wake his wife; he was convinced everyone would soon be dead. But just before he was about to call President Carter, Odom called a third time to say it was all a mistake - someone at NORAD had loaded the computer-controlled warning system with exercise tapes used for simulating war games. Nothing to worry about! Brzezinski went back to bed."

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