Did a military mascot gain control of the U.S. Strategic Command Twitter account or has someone inadvertently released the launch code for a nuclear weapon?
These were among the questions asked by commenters after the command, at 8:48 a.m. Monday, tweeted the sequence ";l;;gmlxzssaw."
The unusual message had received more than 12,000 likes, 9,000 retweets and hundreds of comments less than an hour after it was posted.
"Apologizes for any confusion. Please disregard this post," the command, at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., tweeted in vain after the original message.
The command did not respond Monday to a phone message from Stars and Stripes.
Strategic Command is responsible for U.S. nuclear forces that can deliver nuclear arms from land- and sea-based missiles and from aircraft.
Soon more people weighed in with theories on the origin and meaning of ";l;;gmlxzssaw."
"I know it's good to delegate work down to the appropriate level, but I'm not sure social media should be run by the base mascot," one person commented above a photo of a cat.
Another speculated that the message was some kind of "strategy" and someone else asked: "Should we all be taking cover?"
One tweeter posted a short video of the robot from the movie Terminator adding: "This is what happens when you let the machines take over. They're talking in code."