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CIA opens files on project to raise sunken Soviet submarine
Zee News ^ | 1/13/2010 | Zee News

Posted on 02/13/2010 12:59:40 AM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for the first time has revealed details about an ultra-secret Cold War-era project to raise a sunken Soviet submarine from the depths of the Pacific Ocean in 1974.

The high-risk salvage operation, code-named ‘Project Azorian’, had been shrouded in secrecy for decades but the spy agency broke its silence in newly-declassified documents published yesterday by an independent watchdog, the National Security Archive.

The documents, drawn from a 50-page article written for an in-house CIA journal, recount the daring bid approved by then-president Richard Nixon to raise the submarine using a specially-designed ship, the Glomar Explorer.

Newspaper articles in 1975 first uncovered the operation but the Central Intelligence Agency initially refused to confirm its existence and had declined requests for information even after the Cold War ended.

"They've been holding on to it for years," John Prados, an author and analyst at the National Security Archive, said.

"The release of this article greatly advances our knowledge of Project Azorian."

The episode began after a Soviet Golf-II submarine, the K-129, sank in 1968 in an accident 1,560 miles northwest of Hawaii, the cause of which remains unclear. The Soviet sub, which was carrying three ballistic missiles armed with nuclear warheads, offered a potential boon to US intelligence agencies if it could be lifted out off the ocean floor and examined

(Excerpt) Read more at zeenews.com ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: cia; coldwar; dieselsubmarine; glomarexplorer; golfii; howardhughes; k129; pacificfleet; pacificocean; russiannavy; sosus; sovietmilitary; sovietnavy; sovietsubmarine; sovietunion; submarine; usintelligence

1 posted on 02/13/2010 12:59:40 AM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld
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To: sonofstrangelove
How's dear ole dad doing these days? ... :-)


2 posted on 02/13/2010 1:08:22 AM PST by Star Traveler (Remember to keep the Messiah of Israel in the One-World Government that we look forward to coming)
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To: Star Traveler

He is fine. His arm is still giving his problems.


3 posted on 02/13/2010 1:10:12 AM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld ("I have learned to use the word "impossible" with the greatest caution."-Dr.Wernher Von Braun)
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This is a Golf II submarine
4 posted on 02/13/2010 1:10:51 AM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld ("I have learned to use the word "impossible" with the greatest caution."-Dr.Wernher Von Braun)
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To: sonofstrangelove
Don't forget ole Howard Hughes, too... :-)

Howard Hughes

"I am determined to elect a president of our choosing this year and one who will be deeply indebted, and who will recognize his indebtedness. Since I am willing to go beyond all limitations on this, I think we should be able to select a candidate and a party who knows the facts of political life....If we select Nixon, then he, I know for sure knows the facts of life."
-- from handwritten memos by Howard Hughes, early in the 1968 presidential campaign

5 posted on 02/13/2010 1:14:24 AM PST by Star Traveler (Remember to keep the Messiah of Israel in the One-World Government that we look forward to coming)
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To: All

6 posted on 02/13/2010 1:16:25 AM PST by Star Traveler (Remember to keep the Messiah of Israel in the One-World Government that we look forward to coming)
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To: Star Traveler

Howard Hughes lend his name to the project to support the cover story.Hughes and his companies did not have any actual involvement in the project.


7 posted on 02/13/2010 1:19:25 AM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld ("I have learned to use the word "impossible" with the greatest caution."-Dr.Wernher Von Braun)
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To: All

Deep Six

September 09, 2008
Joe Massucci

A lost Soviet submarine. A mad, reclusive billionaire. A dangerous covert salvage from the bottom of the sea. A Cold War espionage thriller? No, it’s the true story of a unique recovery ship that’s now getting a new lease on life with oil and gas companies.

The Glomar Explorer is a massive 618-foot-long, 50,000-ton deepwater drilling vessel, which BP contracted to carry out drilling operations in its Gulf of Mexico Atlantis oil field. However, the ship was originally designed for a far different mission. Built during the 1970s for tycoon Howard Hughes, her space-age claw would pluck precious minerals from the deepest ocean floors.

Or so the world was told.

The story of the Hughes Glomar Explorer actually began back in February 1968, when K-129, a Soviet Golf-class submarine, disappeared mysteriously in the Pacific Ocean some 600 miles northwest of Hawaii. Despite an intensive search, the Soviets couldn’t find a trace of their sub. But thanks to a top-secret naval intelligence system based in Pearl Harbor, the United States Navy knew that K-129 had sunk. And, more important, where.

K-129 carried the Soviet’s latest nuclear missiles and torpedoes. She also carried their most advanced navigation system, coding devices and code books. If the sub could be salvaged, it would be the intelligence coup of the Cold War.

There was one problem. The sub lay on the bottom in 17,500 feet of water – more than three miles down. And experts said it couldn’t be salvaged.

Raising the beast

The CIA ignored the experts and hired Houston-based Global Marine Inc. to raise K-129. Because no submarine could operate at that depth, a special salvage ship had to be built that would incorporate radically new technology – all under the cover of reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes’ seabed-mining venture.

However, the ship couldn’t lift the submarine alone. A submersible mining barge equipped with a massive claw positioned beneath the ship would serve as an underwater platform to lift and then as a hanger to hide the recovered submarine.

If the Soviets discovered the ship’s true mission, the Hughes Glomar Explorer could be sunk.

The vessel’s crew faced hazards that would sober even the bravest. First, the nuclear warheads, exposed to immense water pressure, might be unstable and could possibly explode during retrieval. Perhaps even more dangerous, the salvage crew would be alone on a vast ocean. If the Soviets discovered the ship’s true mission, the Hughes Glomar Explorer could be sunk.

And, finally, there was the weather. If a storm hit while lifting K-129, the pipe string could snap, tearing the ship in half.

Heavy lifting

By June 1974, after extensive preparations, the Hughes Glomar Explorer and the submersible barge were ready. By now Howard Hughes was a madman in failing health, and President Richard Nixon had resigned in disgrace. The Cold War raged on.

The Hughes Glomar Explorer moved into position over the wreck in July. But President Ford didn’t grant permission to begin the operation until August 11. Working under immense time pressure because of a rapidly closing weather window, “Project Jennifer” was carried out over the next month. Soviet spy ships arrived and began circling – and watching.

The massive claw with its hydraulic fingers grappled the sub, and lifting began. Slowly the submarine was hoisted from the seabed. When the ship was carrying the full weight of the sub, 2,500 tons, she sat seven feet lower in the water. The operation continued until the wreck was some 5,000 feet from the surface. Then disaster struck.

Part of the claw broke off and the wreck began to disintegrate. A nuclear missile slipped from its launch tube and tumbled back to the seabed. There was no detonation. A nervous crew continued lifting. The remaining section of the sub was small enough to fit into the ship’s “moon pool,” a huge opening in the center of the ship, where it was dissected and analyzed.

Cover blown

The world remained in the dark about the ship’s true mission, which the CIA code-named “Project Jennifer.” However, that changed when four burglars broke into Hughes’ office and stole thousands of dollars in cash and files about the project, scattering papers as they fled. Assuming the files contained business documents, the thieves demanded a million dollars for their return. The FBI and the Los Angeles police were brought in.

Most of the documents were ultimately recovered but, despite tight secrecy, details leaked to the media. In February 1975, Jack Anderson’s column in the Los Angeles Times broke the story of Project Jennifer to the world. The ship’s cover was blown, and plans to return that summer to recover the remainder of the wreck were abandoned.

Exactly what the US Navy recovered remains a debate even today. Some say that the entire submarine was raised and that the claw-breaking story was further “cover.” Officially, only the forward 38 feet of the submarine was salvaged, and with it a pair of nuclear-tipped torpedoes, several encoding devices, various code books and the bodies of six sailors, which were given a solemn Soviet burial at sea. In 1993, then-CIA director Robert Gates gave a videotape of the burial to Boris Yeltzin, the former Soviet leader, as a confirmation that the Cold War was over.

Other missions

So what became of the Hughes Glomar Explorer?

She was transferred to the Navy in 1976 where she stayed essentially mothballed for the next 20 years. Global Marine, one of the largest offshore drilling contractors in the world, came up with a better idea. In 1996, the company signed a 30-year contract with the Navy to lease the vessel and totally recondition and convert her into a one-of-a-kind deep-sea drill ship.

After $180 million in conversions, the ship, renamed simply the Glomar Explorer, can drill in 7,500-foot waters and, with some modification, up to 11,500 feet – 2,000 feet – deeper than any existing rig.

Now retired from CIA service, the Glomar Explorer, whose very name recalls Cold War intrigue and adventure, is no longer salvaging sunken submarines. Still a proud vessel, she’s now contracted to companies like BP, helping them find oil in the Gulf of Mexico’s ultra deep water.

This article originally appeared in Beyond magazine, Fall 2001.

8 posted on 02/13/2010 1:23:08 AM PST by Star Traveler (Remember to keep the Messiah of Israel in the One-World Government that we look forward to coming)
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To: All
On Wikipedia...

USNS Glomar Explorer (T-AG-193)


9 posted on 02/13/2010 1:26:14 AM PST by Star Traveler (Remember to keep the Messiah of Israel in the One-World Government that we look forward to coming)
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To: IncPen

ping


10 posted on 02/13/2010 1:28:09 AM PST by Nailbiter
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To: Star Traveler

^__^


11 posted on 02/13/2010 1:28:20 AM PST by happinesswithoutpeace (We are unable to transmit through conscious neural interference.)
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To: All

The Hughes “Glomar Explorer”

K-129, a Soviet Golf-II Class submarine, sank in the Pacific on April 11th, 1968 with a full complement of nuclear ballistic missiles on board. The CIA concocted a plan to enlist the billionaire Howard Hughes to build a ship that would be capable of lifting the sub off the ocean floor 17,000 ft. below.

It had long been known the ocean floor was littered with chunks of magnesium mixed with other useful metals. Hughes made it known that he was going to build a ship The Hughes Glomar Explorer for the purpose of harvesting these metals. Other mining companies were so taken in that they began their own deep-sea mining operations. In fact, the entire enterprise was a cover for the CIA.

In June of 1974, the completed Glomar Explorer attempted to lift the ship. It was partially successful, as the sub broke apart during the operation. Only part of the sub was ultimately recovered - including the bodies of 8 Soviet sailors who were filmed being buried at sea in a bizarre ceremony. What materials were actually recovered are still classified. More details can be found here.

One wonders who the CIA could even turn to these days to pull off that sort of an undertaking. The bottom line is: they just don’t make billionaires like they used to; do pompous blowhards like Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, or geeky shut-ins like Steve Case of AOL and Michael Dell of Dell Computer even hold a candle to Howard Hughes?

12 posted on 02/13/2010 1:32:34 AM PST by Star Traveler (Remember to keep the Messiah of Israel in the One-World Government that we look forward to coming)
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To: sonofstrangelove

How did that go: Order in the court. The judge is eating beans. He is sitting in the bathtub sinking submarines.


13 posted on 02/13/2010 1:52:11 AM PST by Sarah-bot
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To: Sarah-bot

I have never heard that before.LOL

:)


14 posted on 02/13/2010 1:52:54 AM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld ("I have learned to use the word "impossible" with the greatest caution."-Dr.Wernher Von Braun)
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To: sonofstrangelove

I’m not that old. I heard it from my mom.


15 posted on 02/13/2010 1:54:42 AM PST by Sarah-bot
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To: sonofstrangelove

Nothing in the article that I see that hasn’t been published before. Nothing about Sunnyvale.


16 posted on 02/13/2010 2:01:22 AM PST by InABunkerUnderSF (California -- Ya es como Mexico)
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To: Star Traveler

God, now I am going to have to watch that movie. I have been avoiding it because I am homo-phobic.


17 posted on 02/13/2010 2:24:34 AM PST by Sarah-bot
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To: Sarah-bot

It’s a great movie and a “laugh-a-minute” for those who lived through those times... :-)


18 posted on 02/13/2010 2:26:49 AM PST by Star Traveler (Remember to keep the Messiah of Israel in the One-World Government that we look forward to coming)
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To: Star Traveler

You have convinced me.:-)


19 posted on 02/13/2010 2:46:35 AM PST by Sarah-bot
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To: sonofstrangelove
The episode began after a Soviet Golf-II submarine, the K-129, sank in 1968 in an accident 1,560 miles northwest of Hawaii, the cause of which remains unclear.

.. the effect however is clear in the minds of some. Ninety-nine men lost when the Soviets lured the U.S.S Scorpion into a trap believing that a collision with the U.S.S. Swordfish sank their boat.

Not one word about the U.S.S Scorpion here or in the article?

In possession of the latest encrytion gear taken from the U.S.S. Pueblo and virtual daily updates by John Walker the Soviets could indeed track the Scorpion

According to the book All Hands Down about the 1968 destruction of the submarine USS Scorpion investigators were ordered that hostile action was not to be given any consideration.

Though it is very likely that the Soviets lured the Scorpion into a trap the LBJ administration and the Nixon administration did not want to hear it.

The book quotes a source involved in the official investigation: "Ninety-nine men are not worth [what would follow]. Other reasons had to be found for the loss."

OK so an immediate war with the Soviets (nukes and all) would be a hefty price to pay but couldn't Nixon/Kissenger have delayed détente? Or something!

20 posted on 02/13/2010 4:13:45 AM PST by WilliamofCarmichael (If modern America's Man on Horseback is out there, Get on the damn horse already!)
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To: sonofstrangelove

“The project was nearly cancelled over its mushrooming costs”.
In reality this was one of the most cost effective projects the U.S. has undertaken.
Reason to obtain the sub was to obtain Russian Top Secret
Crypto Codes used in their and our Top Secret Communications.
It succeeded.
Soviiest had no idea for a few years that we’d in fact obtained their codes.


21 posted on 02/13/2010 5:00:43 AM PST by Joe Boucher ((FUBO) Obammy is little more than a quota boy.)
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To: Joe Boucher

“Soviiest had no idea for a few years that we’d in fact obtained their codes.”

Naval codes. The USSR’s air and ground forces codes - using one day pads and five alaphabet letters in a grid formation (example: ABNRO BYXAA CCAAB RRAAY BABYO) - had been broken since the late 60s.


22 posted on 02/13/2010 5:17:37 AM PST by PIF
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To: Star Traveler

Wonder how much / if the Glomar Explorer’s chances of success could have been enhanced by the availability of GPS ...


23 posted on 02/13/2010 9:07:17 AM PST by TXnMA (D'Aleo re Hansen's "GISS" temperature database: "Non Gradus Anus Rodentum!")
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To: TXnMA
You were saying ...

Wonder how much / if the Glomar Explorer’s chances of success could have been enhanced by the availability of GPS ...

I'm not sure. I don't think that the Russians were saying much about their sub, so I don't think they were giving away information about the location. I don't know how much difference it would have made for the Americans, once they found the sub, in the first place. And then, I don't know if GPS would have helped in regards to the problem of the sub breaking apart when they were lifting it up.

I sorta think it would not have made any difference.

24 posted on 02/13/2010 9:37:29 AM PST by Star Traveler (Remember to keep the Messiah of Israel in the One-World Government that we look forward to coming)
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To: Star Traveler
I was thinking along the lines of more precise station-keeping while making the lift, etc, Reduced lateral displacement should reduce the likelihood of payload breakup...

With a combination of today's technologies (GPS, deep submersibles, ROVs, etc,) I would think our chances for success would be considerably improved.

25 posted on 02/13/2010 10:01:15 AM PST by TXnMA (D'Aleo re Hansen's "GISS" temperature database: "Non Gradus Anus Rodentum!")
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To: TXnMA

Yeah, I see what you mean and in that respect, then yeah, it could have made a difference. But, if you read another FReeper’s post, we got the “whole thing” anyway ...

We may be reading misinformation about this subject... :-)


26 posted on 02/13/2010 10:06:02 AM PST by Star Traveler (Remember to keep the Messiah of Israel in the One-World Government that we look forward to coming)
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To: TXnMA
I'm sorry, it wasn't on this thread... here's the link to the other thread that says what happened (from another FReeper)...

Post #16

Gone fishing: Secret hunt for a sunken Soviet sub


27 posted on 02/13/2010 10:09:57 AM PST by Star Traveler (Remember to keep the Messiah of Israel in the One-World Government that we look forward to coming)
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To: Star Traveler

Interesting article, but it always bugs me when reporters get the most basic facts wrong:
“ By June 1974, after extensive preparations, the Hughes Glomar Explorer and the submersible barge were ready. By now Howard Hughes was a madman in failing health, and President Richard Nixon had resigned in disgrace. The Cold War raged on.

The Hughes Glomar Explorer moved into position over the wreck in July. But President Ford didn’t grant permission to begin the operation until August 11.”

Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974, not in June. Thus, Ford effectively granted permission as quickly as feasible under the circumstances.


28 posted on 02/13/2010 10:43:04 AM PST by DrC
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To: Star Traveler
There is an extensive article on the K129 recovery at

http://www.mikekemble.com/ misc/k129.html

It includes a detailed scanned article, but, unfortunately, some of the pages appear to be truncated by premature EOFs, leaving only blank gray on the bottom portions.

The article does include a sketch of the "Clementine" lifting device, etc...

29 posted on 02/13/2010 11:07:18 AM PST by TXnMA (D'Aleo re Hansen's "GISS" temperature database: "Non Gradus Anus Rodentum!")
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To: TXnMA
That link (although provided by Google Images) no longer works. Here's how I actually got there:

1) I searched for "sea shadow" "HMB-1" in Google Images.

2) I clicked on this image:

3) I allowed the whole page to load...

That's " the long way 'round", but it works - I tried it out to be sure...

30 posted on 02/13/2010 11:27:43 AM PST by TXnMA (D'Aleo re Hansen's "GISS" temperature database: "Non Gradus Anus Rodentum!")
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To: sonofstrangelove
Interesting place for "nosing around" on this subject:

http://www.ttbrown.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=459&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&start=60

I got there by searching for the September, 2002 issue of "The Sub Committee Report Magazine" based on this lead from the mikekemble site:

"The following item was sent to me by its author Tom Docherty in November 2004. It was written for The Sub Committee Report Magazine. September 2002 Edition. Reproduced here with the author's permission. http://subcommittee.com/"

That is the "scanned article with the bottom parts of many pages "grayed out" by apparent "early EOFs" (End-Of-File characters). Probably computer glitches -- but, possibly, a crude means of "redaction"...

31 posted on 02/13/2010 12:08:51 PM PST by TXnMA (D'Aleo re Hansen's "GISS" temperature database: "Non Gradus Anus Rodentum!")
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To: Star Traveler

Comments 30 & 31 were intended for you, too...


32 posted on 02/13/2010 12:14:33 PM PST by TXnMA (D'Aleo re Hansen's "GISS" temperature database: "Non Gradus Anus Rodentum!")
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To: Joe Boucher

I read it brought up two nuclear torpedoes and six bodies.According to a Lockheed engineer on site, the recovered section did not contain nuclear missiles nor the cryptographic equipment or codebooks that would have been of such extraordinary value for U.S. military intelligence


33 posted on 02/13/2010 4:14:55 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld ("I have learned to use the word "impossible" with the greatest caution."-Dr.Wernher Von Braun)
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To: sonofstrangelove

If Lockheed engineers are anything like Pratt & Witney engineers I’d trade a the whole lot for a broken fungo bat.


34 posted on 02/13/2010 4:21:30 PM PST by Joe Boucher ((FUBO) Obammy is little more than a quota boy.)
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To: TXnMA

Thanks... :-)


35 posted on 02/13/2010 5:41:06 PM PST by Star Traveler (Remember to keep the Messiah of Israel in the One-World Government that we look forward to coming)
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To: Star Traveler
That's "Manganese (Mn)" -- not "Magnesium (Mg)" nodules...

Ignorant writers...

36 posted on 05/27/2014 7:39:50 PM PDT by TXnMA ("Allah": Satan's current alias... "Barack": Allah's current ally...)
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