On Sunday, the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) shared a strange tweet followed by a misspelled apology, prompting speculation as to whether the command had just tweeted out nuclear launch codes or if it had been hacked.
In a since-deleted tweet posted Sunday evening, STRATCOM, which oversees the U.S. nuclear arsenal, tweeted “;l;;gmlxzssaw.”
Stars and Stripes tweeted, “One person on Twitter speculated that the message was some kind of “strategy” and someone else asked: “Should we all be taking cover?” Soon more people weighed in with theories on the origin and meaning of ‘;l;;gmlxzssaw.’”
A potential hack of STRATCOM raises concerns because the military command’s responsibilities include overseeing “strategic deterrence; nuclear operations; space operations; joint electronic spectrum operations; global strike; missile defense; and analysis and targeting.”
A Twitter user named a new account after the STRATCOM’s gibberish tweet and posted, “Found my next (and possibly USSC’s most recent) password!”
STRATCOM attempted to address and apologize for the first strange tweet, posting, “Apologizes for any confusion. Please disregard this post.”
A Twitter user who took notice of the pair of STRATCOM tweets posted, “US Strategic Command can’t spell apologies. Have they been hacked, or are incompetents running our nuclear arsenal?
Both tweets were eventually deleted. The Hill reported that the original “;l;;gmlxzssaw” tweet garnered 11,000 retweets and hundreds more comments before STRATCOM deleted both the original tweet and the apology tweet about half an hour later.
STRATCOM’s Twitter account currently has no further tweets appearing to exlain or try to provide further context to its confusing posts.
Several Twitter users posted tweets suggesting the seemingly random string of characters could actually be coded missile launch commands. One Twitter user suggested the characters could translate to a hexadecimal or an Enigma M3 code.
Television writer Hart Hanson 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?”
Other Twitter users appeared to poke fun at the tweet.
One Twitter user posted, “US strategic command” with a facepalm emoji and “;l;;gmlxzssaw” and a meme of Chinese leader Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un taking notice of the bizarre tweet.
Another Twitter user posted, “If you want peace you must prepare for ;l;;gmlxzssaw.”
The incident drew comparisons to a 2017 tweet in which then-President Donald Trump posted, “Despite the constant negative press covfefe.”