You think that some newsies would do some simple fscking research.
From the November 29, 2013 London Daily Mail:
Dial 00000000 for Armageddon. US's top secret launch nuclear launch code was frighteningly simple
For nearly 20 years, the secret code to authorize launching U.S. nuclear missiles, and starting World War III, was terrifyingly simple and even noted down on a checklist.
From 1962, when John F Kennedy instituted PAL encoding on nuclear weapons, until 1977, the combination to fire the devastating missiles at the height of the Cold War was just 00000000.
This was chosen by Strategic Air Command in an effort to make the weapons as quick and as easy to launch as possible, as reported by Today I Found Out.
From my own Blog entry for November 10, 2005:
Whoops -- bad choice for a combination...
I had heard of this before but here it is on the web so it must be accurate!
From DamnInteresting:They provide links to the source material.I've Got the Same Combination on My Luggage!
America's gaggle of "Minuteman" long-range nuclear missiles went on line for the first time during the Cuban missile crisis in 1960. But the world was supposedly protected from mutual assured destruction by the "Permissive Action Links" (PALs) which required an 8-digit combination in order to launch. Robert McNamara, then the U.S. Secretary of Defense, personally oversaw the installation of these special locks to prevent any unauthorized nuclear missile launches. He considered the safeguards to be essential for strict central control and for preventing nuclear disaster.
But what Secretary McNamara didn't know is that from the very beginning, the Strategic Air Command (SAC) in Omaha had decided that these locks might interfere with any wartime launch orders; so in order to circumvent this safeguard, they pre-set the launch code on all Minuteman silos to the same eight digits: 00000000.
For seventeen years, during the height of the nuclear crises of the Cold War, the code remained all zeros, and was even printed in each silo's launch checklist for all to see. The codes remained this way up until 1977, when the service was pressed into activating the McNamara locks with real launch codes in place. Before that time, the the lack of safeguards would have made it relatively easy for a small group of rogue silo officers or visitors to implement an unauthorized nuclear missile launch.
The DamnInteresting link is still up and running fine. It also has comments that link to some debunking from SNOPES as well as comments from airmen who explain that this was just the entry code and the actual eight-digit launch code had to be entered in a separate step. Eight years is a long time in a 20-something "journalist's" life but a judicious bit of Googling would have been appropriate for anything published. For the London Daily Mail to fail to catch this is shameful...