So the Pentagon has no explanation for the mystery missile spotted off the southern California coast last night and reported by CBS News.
“The operative word is ‘unexplainable,'” a Pentagon spokesman said.
I guess they’ll tell us the “system is working.”
Perhaps the most interesting theory: Obama was showing off to Asia while on his jaunt.
So why not just be upfront with the American people and say so?
Well, we know this administration already has a pre-existing problem with leveling with the American people about unidentified flying objects involved in p.r. campaigns.
Remember Scare Force One? That transparency-evading scandal led to the resignation of White House Military Office director Louis Caldera.
Commenter Aloha Guy in response to the theory that Obama was showing off to Asia: “Perhaps China was showing off to Obama.”
Update: Hmmmmm. From the Danger Room, Was it a missile or no?
Some folks are seizing on a Navy notice — advising pilots to avoid the area — as evidence that the sea service isn’t lying about the launch. But that notice was issued today, hours after the mystery missile sighting.
Meanwhile, naval analyst Raymond Pritchett makes a smart point: that the mystery itself is becoming a security problem.
“When someone makes an unannounced launch what looks to be a ballistic missile 35 miles from the nations second largest city (at sea in international waters), and 18 hours later NORAD still doesn’t have any answers at all – that complete lack of information represents a credible threat to national security,” he writes. “If NORAD can’t answer the first and last question, then I believe it is time to question every single penny of ballistic missile defense funding in the defense budget. NORTHCOM needs to start talking about what they do know, rather than leaving the focus on what they don’t know.”
To confuse matters even further: that contrail, seen from that CBS news helicopter, might not have been a missile at all. It’s “probably an aircraft contrail seen from a weird angle,” reader WB emails, attaching the photo below from contrailscience.com. It shows a plane plume, photographed on New Year’s Eve above San Clemente, California. It, too, was mistaken for a missile. To WB’s eyes, the ascent from yesterday’s launch was “far too slow to be a missile and the glittering exhaust ‘flame’ is, I believe, sun reflecting off the aircraft’s airframe at altitude.”
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