Skip to comments.The Farewell Dossier
Posted on 02/01/2004 9:20:02 PM PST by Pokey78
Intelligence shortcomings, as we see, have a thousand fathers; secret intelligence triumphs are orphans. Here is the unremarked story of "the Farewell dossier": how a C.I.A. campaign of computer sabotage resulting in a huge explosion in Siberia all engineered by a mild-mannered economist named Gus Weiss helped us win the cold war.
Weiss worked down the hall from me in the Nixon administration. In early 1974, he wrote a report on Soviet advances in technology through purchasing and copying that led the beleaguered president détente notwithstanding to place restrictions on the export of computers and software to the U.S.S.R.
Seven years later, we learned how the K.G.B. responded. I was writing a series of hard-line columns denouncing the financial backing being given Moscow by Germany and Britain for a major natural gas pipeline from Siberia to Europe. That project would give control of European energy supplies to the Communists, as well as generate $8 billion a year to support Soviet computer and satellite research.
President François Mitterrand of France also opposed the gas pipeline. He took President Reagan aside at a conference in Ottawa on July 19, 1981, to reveal that France had recruited a key K.G.B. officer in Moscow Center.
Col. Vladimir Vetrov provided what French intelligence called the Farewell dossier. It contained documents from the K.G.B. Technology Directorate showing how the Soviets were systematically stealing or secretly buying through third parties the radar, machine tools and semiconductors to keep the Russians nearly competitive with U.S. military-industrial strength through the 70's. In effect, the U.S. was in an arms race with itself.
Reagan passed this on to William J. Casey, his director of central intelligence, now remembered only for the Iran-contra fiasco. Casey called in Weiss, then working with Thomas C. Reed on the staff of the National Security Council. After studying the list of hundreds of Soviet agents and purchasers (including one cosmonaut) assigned to this penetration in the U.S. and Japan, Weiss counseled against deportation.
Instead, according to Reed a former Air Force secretary whose fascinating cold war book, "At the Abyss," will be published by Random House next month Weiss said: "Why not help the Soviets with their shopping? Now that we know what they want, we can help them get it." The catch: computer chips would be designed to pass Soviet quality tests and then to fail in operation.
In our complex disinformation scheme, deliberately flawed designs for stealth technology and space defense sent Russian scientists down paths that wasted time and money.
The technology topping the Soviets' wish list was for computer control systems to automate the operation of the new trans-Siberian gas pipeline. When we turned down their overt purchase order, the K.G.B. sent a covert agent into a Canadian company to steal the software; tipped off by Farewell, we added what geeks call a "Trojan Horse" to the pirated product.
"The pipeline software that was to run the pumps, turbines and valves was programmed to go haywire," writes Reed, "to reset pump speeds and valve settings to produce pressures far beyond those acceptable to the pipeline joints and welds. The result was the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space."
Our Norad monitors feared a nuclear detonation, but satellites that would have picked up its electromagnetic pulse were silent. That mystified many in the White House, but "Gus Weiss came down the hall to tell his fellow NSC staffers not to worry. It took him another twenty years to tell me why."
Farewell stayed secret because the blast in June 1982, estimated at three kilotons, took place in the Siberian wilderness, with no casualties known. Nor was the red-faced K.G.B. about to complain publicly about being tricked by bogus technology. But all the software it had stolen for years was suddenly suspect, which stopped or delayed the work of thousands of worried Russian technicians and scientists.
Vetrov was caught and executed in 1983. A year later, Bill Casey ordered the K.G.B. collection network rolled up, closing the Farewell dossier. Gus Weiss died from a fall a few months ago. Now is a time to remember that sometimes our spooks get it right in a big way.
Stay safe Travis ! WD Update ??
Stay safe !
Hey, you buy this story? I don't. I think the biggest non-nuke is still the explosives ship in Halifax in 1918.
Could be BS as you state but I think too much of this sort of walter mitty maurder thang went on day to day in the Christians In Action department. Too much to dismiss in most cases. Your friends and neighbors at work per se.....
Stay Safe !
Stay Safe !
Or so we're TOLD. </conspiracy>
Turn about is fair play. Nice payback for what the Soviets did with the design of the F104 Starfighter.
The Halifax explosion of December, 1917 was notable for the resulting largest number of fatalities [circa 2000] and a very large dollar value due to the multiple ships destroyed/damaged, with 50 or so either so affected or involved in the recovery efforts following the blast, plus 1500+ homes destroyed and 10,000+ damaged; literally thousands of residents were left homeless. The French ship involved was carrying a cargo of tons of explosive picric acid, TNT and guncotton, plus other explosives. I recall an exercise with a nuclear blast simulator that used a 2.5 KT equivalent for the Halifax blast.
The Canadian Riple Rock detonation in 1958 was a larger blast, IIRC 1.25 million KG of explosives] and is certainly the largest intentional blast on record, but was of course planned and those in the area were evacuated beforehand, so no casualties resulted.
Because of the *cocktail* of various explosives in the Halifax blast, it was probably a less forceful explosion than the planned and tamped Ripple Rock shot, but was certainly the most disasterous nonnuclear explosive incident on record.
In terms of duration and BTUs expended, the Russian pipeline fires/explosion might take the prize, but not in terms of an instantaneous blast.
When Lockheed transferred the manufacturing package to West Germany to supply the German Luftwaffe and other European air forces with the F104 as a multirole all weather interceptor and strike aircraft rather than just as a *pure* day interceptor as the USAF had used it. The Russians allegedly inserted some erronious engineering data into the technical specifications that eventually resulted in numerous crashes and fatalities. The plane developed the nickname widowmaker and fliegendesarg [flying coffin] among the Germans, and neither did it help matters that one of the German defence ministers who approved the acquisition of the F104 was found to have taken bribes from Lockheed.
The pendulum of irony cuts deep on its return swings, however, and the son of that minister, a Luftwaffe pilot, was one of those killed in a F104 Starfighter crash, which numbered over a hundred pilots killed in all.
See the web entry *here* for a summary of the affair, there are a couple of books from the period that delve further into the matter.
Every year Halifax sends a mega spruce to Boston in thanks for that city's help in the rescue effort. Boston sent trainloads of field hospital gear, doctors and nurses, every kind of supply in record speed, no questions asked, no payment sought.
The similarity of the date of the WWI Halifax disaster to that of the WWII Pearl Harbor atrocity is uncannily spooky. Both mass casualty events very suddenly brought the nation to the sudden realization that we were at war, perhaps better now understood by us now in the hindsight light of 09/11/01.
Give me the easier-going if sometimes equally brutal days of the Antelope any day. Someday you're going to have to show me which end of a sail goes up the pole thingy.
Rereading this thread many years later, I point out that the Stuxnet virus is exactly the same sort of counter-intelligence coup that is claimed here with respect to the Russian pipeline.
A blast from the past.
Depends on how you count *biggest*.
The Texas City Disaster is the deadliest industrial accident in U.S. history. The incident took place on April 16, 1947, and began with a mid-morning fire on board the French-registered vessel SS Grandcamp in the Port of Texas City. The fire detonated approximately 2,300 tons of ammonium nitrate and the resulting chain reaction of fires and explosions killed at least 581 people.
The Texas City Disaster is generally considered the worst industrial accident in American history. Witnesses compared the scene to the fairly recent images of the 1943 Air Raid on Bari and the much larger devastation at Nagasaki. The official death toll was 581. Of the dead, 405 were identified and 63 have never been identified. These 63 were placed in a memorial cemetery in the north part of Texas City near Moses Lake. A remaining 113 people were classified as missing, for no identifiable parts were ever found. This figure includes firefighters who were aboard Grandcamp when it exploded. There is some speculation that there may have been hundreds more killed but uncounted, including visiting seamen, non-census laborers and their families, and an untold number of travelers. However, there were some survivors as close as 70 feet (21 m) from the dock. The victims' bodies quickly filled the local morgue, and several bodies were laid out in the local high school's gymnasium for identification by loved ones.
Over 5,000 people were injured, with 1,784 admitted to twenty-one area hospitals. More than 500 homes were destroyed and hundreds damaged, leaving 2,000 homeless. The seaport was destroyed and many businesses were flattened or burned. Over 1,100 vehicles were damaged and 362 freight cars were obliteratedthe property damage was estimated at $100 million ($983 million in today's terms).
A 2 ton anchor of Grandcamp was hurled 1.62 miles (2.61 km) and found in a 10-foot (3 m) crater. It now rests in a memorial park. The other main 5 ton anchor was hurled 1/2 mile (800 m) to the entrance of the Texas City Dike, and rests on a Texas shaped memorial at the entrance. Burning wreckage ignited everything within miles, including dozens of oil storage tanks and chemical tanks. The nearby city of Galveston, Texas, was covered with an oily fog which left deposits over every exposed outdoor surface.
The Halifax Explosion occurred on Thursday, December 6, 1917, when the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, was devastated by the huge detonation of the SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship, fully loaded with wartime explosives, which accidentally collided with the Norwegian SS Imo in "The Narrows" section of the Halifax Harbour. About 2,000 people were killed by debris, fires, or collapsed buildings and it is estimated that over 9,000 people were injured. This is still the world's largest man-made accidental explosion.
While it is unknown exactly how many deaths resulted from the disaster, a common estimate is 2,000, with an official database totaling 1,950 names made available through Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management in the Book of Remembrance. As many as 1,600 people died immediately in the blast, the tsunami, and collapse of buildings, with an additional 9,000 injured, 6,000 of them seriously. 1,630 homes were destroyed in the explosion and fires, with 12,000 more houses damaged. This disaster left roughly 6,000 people homeless and without shelter and 25,000 without adequate housing. The city's industrial sector was in large part gone, with many workers among the casualties and the dockyard was heavily damaged.
The explosion was responsible for the vast majority of Canada's World War I-related civilian deaths and injuries, and killed more Nova Scotian residents than were killed in combat. Detailed estimates showed that among those killed, 600 were under the age of 15, 166 were labourers, 134 were soldiers and sailors, 125 were craftsmen, and 39 were workers for the railway.
Explosion aftermath: the St. Joseph's Convent, located on the southeast corner of Gottingen and Kaye streets.Many of the wounds inflicted by the blast were permanently debilitating, with many people partially blinded by flying glass or by the flash of the explosion. Thousands of people had stopped to watch the ship burning in the harbour, with many people watching from inside buildings, leaving them directly in the path of flying glass from shattered windows. Roughly 600 people suffered eye injuries, and 38 of those lost their sight permanently. The large number of eye injuries led to better understanding on the part of physicians, and with the recently formed Canadian National Institute for the Blind, they managed to greatly improve the treatment of damaged eyes. The significant advances in eye care as a result of this disaster are often compared to the huge increase in burn care knowledge after the Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire in Boston. Halifax became internationally known as a center for care for the blind, accounting for a large proportion of patients.
According to estimates, roughly $35 million Canadian dollars in damages resulted (in 1917 dollars; adjusted for inflation, this is about CAD$500 million in 2007 dollars
Bigger explosion at Texas City, more damage and death due local population, habitat, structures etc being closer in Halifax was my impression.
You diggin on old posts for fun tonight Archy or just missing good threads ??......:o)
See posts #37 and #38. I got pinged here too.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.