Ronald Reagan loved movies. One night in June 1983, he sat down at Camp David to watch WarGames. The film stars Matthew Broderick as a tech-wiz teenager who unwittingly hacks into the main computer at Norad, the North American Aerospace Defense Command. Thinking he has merely stumbled upon a new computer game, the hacker comes dangerously close to starting a third world war.
Five days later, the president was in a meeting with the secretaries of state, defense and treasury, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and 16 senior members of Congress. They were there to discuss a new nuclear missile and the prospect of arms talks with the Russians.