A. It was a missile, and it was ...
1. Launched by mistake. This would be the most frightening outcome, as if some launch officer put his elbow on the ignite button and blamo.
2. Launched purposely to show strength. This is the most ridiculous outcome of all since everybody knows we can launch submarine-borne missiles. "Hey look, we can still kick ass" is pretty weak and utterly un-Obama. If he didn't order it that would be worse.
3. The Chinese or Russians launched to show everyone they can. Maybe upset about the dollar devaluation and sending the O a greeting card (aimed in his direction after all) to show their dissatisfaction. This actually makes more sense than the above two scenarios. But damn, 35 miles offshore? Pretty bold. But what could we do, attack Beijing?
B. It was not a missile, it was...
1. An airplane. Makes the most sense. Besides, FAA could prove this rather easily by looking at radar tapes and noticing anything leaving a primary target in that area coming from the horizon as well as all the overhead traffic around that location.
2. "Balloon Boy at 40, 000, the sequel".
My personal guess-- an airplane, probably a large wide body like A380 or B747, coming from the west towards the viewer (suffering from parallax effect). At least I hope so.
And if so that's a big fat strike two for the big media over the past week, some of whom also bought off on the 200 million a day India trip. One would expect that kind of weak fact-checking from bloggers but c'mon, these are supposed to be professionals... Unless they are covering up for the real reason (cue the heavy metal soundtrack and evil laugh..).
Here's another report saying the FAA did not find any fast-moving primary targets on their radar (a primary target is one that is not in contact with controllers, when in contact they light up a data block of information and are brighter).
One might think that if a missile was launched right off the coast of Catalina Island at least a few pilots would have noticed and advised ATC but none did according to reports, which is a bit odd since the videos themselves show aircraft flying past in the foreground. Granted, the helicopter crew first reported it and they are pilots, but they were low and not off the coast. Somebody should have seen this thing rise up off the ocean. We'll see if anyone comes forward.
In the TWA 800 crash one of the primary witnesses was a military helicopter pilot flying near shore who claimed to have seen a flare rise from the horizon then arc back east before exploding near the plane (he called it ordnance). Many other witnesses on the ground claimed to have seen it rise off the water and supposedly there was even amateur video footage of such aired for about 6 hours on some NBC stations that showed it (legend has it the FBI reportedly came and confiscated it). The FAA radar tapes showed some fast-moving objects nearby.
In other words, to this day there remains much more verification that something rose off the surface in that event as compared to this one. Decide for yourself if that says more about politics, the media or eyewitness accounts in general.
ABC just can't let go of this story, running it full top position on their web site as of this writing at 9:40 am CST. Here's a gem:
The contrail did not appear on the Federal Aviation Authority's radar replays.That would be a first, since air traffic radars have never shown clouds or contrails before.
This story could have easily been put to rest had the initial video been longer than a few snippets. In other words, if some amateur videographer (or maybe a security camera pointed west and tilted upwards) had captured the entire event it would have been conclusive as to whether the object was moving towards or away from the coast. Towards the coast and it's clearly an airplane, with the viewer perhaps seeing a 75-100 mile contrail fanning out in the upper breeze. Away from the coast and it has to be moving up, ergo, a mystery missile.
Surely Keith Olbermann will be pointing out the hilarity of all this tonight, after all Glenn Beck isn't buying the airplane (cough swamp gas weather balloon) explanation. Of course he'd have to accuse his own network of balloon boy coverage.