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Mystery 'missile' launch near L.A. no threat to national security, government officials say [Updated]

Military and aviation officials said Tuesday they don't know who may have launched a mysterious object spotted in the sky late Monday off the Southern California coast, but noted that whatever the projectile was, it did not pose a threat to national security.

A KCBS news helicopter spotted what appeared to be a missile traveling through the sky northwest of Catalina Island, about 35 miles west of Los Angeles.

Video posted online by the television station showed a luminous point hurtling through the sky followed by a long contrail.

Officials with the Defense Department, the Navy and the Air Force said they did not have any details on the object or its launch site. Pentagon officials said that initial indications were that the military was not involved.

"We are aware of the unexplained contrail reported off the coast of Southern California yesterday evening," according to a statement Tuesday from the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the U.S. Northern Command, which operates the U.S. and Canadian missile warning system. "At this time, we are unable to provide specific details but we are working to determine the exact nature of this event.

"We can confirm that there is no indication of any threat to our nation and we will provide more information as it becomes available," the statement said.

The Federal Aviation Administration didn't approve any commercial space launches in the area Monday, spokesman Ian Gregor said Tuesday.

"We're looking into this," he said.

[Updated at 9:55 a.m.: Naval Base Ventura County spokeswoman Teri Reid said Tuesday that the contrail seen off the Southern California coast on Monday did not originate at Naval Air Station Point Mugu.

"It didn't happen here," she said. "There was no firing on the range yesterday."

Nor did it come from Vandenberg Air Force Base, officials there said, adding that the facility's last launch was to put a satellite into orbit on Friday.]

-- Tony Barboza

Comments () | Archives (467)

"Officials with the Defense Department, the Navy and the Air Force said did not have any details on the object or its launch site. Pentagon officials said that initial indications were that the military was not involved."

Yuh huh. Paging Sergeant Schultz, call for Sergeant Schultz........

Then what the hell was it?

Pssst, never mind that nuclear missle behind the curtain, it's nothing important!

These are not the droids you are looking for. Move along.

Somebody better come up with an explanation and fast. That was no toy rocket. To be able to see the exhaust plume from so far away means that missile was the real deal. If the military wasn't behind it then who was? This is unsettling to say the least.

How can an unidentified missle launch 35 miles off our coast that we say was not us not be a threat to national security?

Its a missile.

If the pentagon really doesn't know, then a foreign power just showed off their hot new stealth subs.

If the pentagon really doesn't know, then it is a security issue.

If the pentagon really doesn't know, then we are overpaying for our military. We can get incompetence for far less than what we pay.

If the pentagon really doesn't know.


Submarine launched ICBM is quite obvious.

Dont worry. The Crips are deep into their missile program and they've promised to only aim their projectiles at the Bloods... There's somebody firing rockets into the sky and the geniuses in charge of missile defense are trying to put on a happy face as they admit they dont have a clue who it is. Behind the scenes the CYA chaos is probably roiling. Of the many unhinged whackos in our crazy-quilt region which obscure and angry group is readying some shocking surprise? Film at eleven!

Could this be a X prize ship?

If they don't know what it is or who fired it how can they say it posses no threat to homeland security? The media freaks out when someone leaves a bag on the train unattended but a missile fired close to L.A. and no one seems concerned? Someone is not telling us the whole truth here.

They don't know where the missle launch came from or where it is headed, but yet they do know that it is not a threat to national security. Nothing to see here people, move along. Gimme a break.

For your next update, could somebody ask Pt. Mugu and/or Vandenberg where the missile went after it was launched?

Come one people... it's obvious... it's... IRON MAN!!!

With Obama in India for trade talks and at an international security summit.... Tony Stark aka Iron Man is protecting America in his absence and getting some publicity. You know Tony!!!

Obviously came from a Chinese or N. Korean or Russian sub to embarass, strike, HUMILIATE Obama and our Navy. Our Navy would NEVER Sub launch so close to a U.S. city.

Leftover fireworks?

Let's spend MORE money on defense! They're doing so well!

If the military doesn't know what it was, how can they say it wasn't a threat to national security??

Nothing to worry about, George Dubya will protect us from this rogue missile, and, he has already written a revision to his new book taking credit.

Ummm. Did nobody see the military helicopter in the sky? between 9 and 13 seconds it is hanging in the sky next to the contrail...

It was simply a weather balloon filled with swamp gas reflecting the light from Venus. Nothing to see here people, move along.

Of course it was our military. Just a coincidence that the President is in Asia... i think not

Amazing that an event this big and visible, has gone largely unreported and unanswered. The denial by local military installations may mean nothing because if it were an errant launch, they would want to circle their wagons and make sure they have an airtight story before divulging it to the public. The question is however, what if that was not one of our missiles? Who fired it, from where and why?

While it may have been a launch by the U.S. military, it raises the specter of the greatest single threat to the survival of the United States; namely, an EMP Attack that might kill all except 30 million Americans.

See, e.g., http://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/emp-attack-only-30-million-americans-survive/

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