On Sunday the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), the U.S. military command that oversees the U.S. nuclear arsenal, sent out a now-deleted gibberish tweet “;l;;gmlxzssaw” followed by a misspelled apology. On Monday, it was revealed that a young child had accessed the command’s Twitter account and sent the tweet.
Daily Dot filed a freedom of information act (FOIA) request for information about the strange tweet and STRATCOM’s FOIA officer Kendall Cooper replied hours later saying the tweet occurred when the agency’s Twitter manager momentarily left his computer unattended around his young child.
“The Command’s Twitter manager, while in a telework status, momentarily left the Command’s Twitter account open and unattended,” Cooper’s response reads. “His very young child took advantage of the situation and started playing with the keys and unfortunately, and unknowingly, posted the tweet.”
Along with overseeing the U.S. nuclear arsenal, STRATCOM’s responsibilities include overseeing strategic deterrence, space operations, joint electronic spectrum operations, global strike, missile defense, and analysis and targeting.
The gibberish tweet set off rumors and later jokes that the military command had sent out nuclear launch codes.
One Twitter user tweeted, “Did anyone else pee themselves a little bit when they read this tweet? I’m outlining a story. Should I keep going or go do something else with my last few minutes?”
After the first gibberish tweet, STRATCOM sent out a second tweet apologizing for the confusion.
STRATCOM tweeted, “Apologizes for any confusion. Please disregard this post.”
One Twitter user said, “US Strategic Command can’t spell apologies. Have they been hacked, or are incompetents running our nuclear arsenal?”
STRATCOM eventually deleted both the original gibberish tweet and the misspelled apology tweet.
In his FOIA response, Cooper said there were no written records detailing the Twitter incident, but said “absolutely nothing nefarious occurred, i.e., no hacking of our Twitter account. The post was discovered and notice to delete it occurred telephonically.” Cooper said the Daily Dot may appeal the Secretary of Defense’s FOIA appellate authority.
The incident drew comparisons to a 2017 tweet in which then-President Donald Trump posted, “Despite the constant negative press covfefe.”
One Twitter user posted, “;l;;gmlxzssaw is the new covfefe.”
Another user posted, “Is ;l;;gmlxzssaw a kind of covfefe? They all seem nuke related.”
Military commands have drawn negative attention in the past for sending inappropriate tweets on official channels. Two weeks ago, amid a Twitter fued between military officials and Fox News host Tucker Carlson, an official Marine Corps account referred to Carlson as a “boomer” before deleting the tweet and apologizing. In October, Fort Bragg’s official account replied to a set of nude photos posted on Twitter with its own raunchy comments. The Fort Bragg account was eventually deleted, but not before social media users noticed the explicit interaction.