How the CIA Used Howard Hughes to Steal a Russian Sub in the Most Daring Covert Operation in History
Author: Josh Dean
An incredible true tale of espionage and engineering set at the height of the Cold War—a mix between The Hunt for Red October and Argo—about how the CIA, the U.S. Navy, and America’s most eccentric mogul spent six years and nearly a billion dollars to steal the nuclear-armed Soviet submarine K-129 after it had sunk to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean; all while the Russians were watching. In the early hours of February 25, 1968, a Russian submarine armed with three nuclear ballistic missiles set sail from its base in Siberia on a routine combat patrol to Hawaii. Then it vanished. As the Soviet Navy searched in vain for the lost vessel, a small, highly classified American operation using sophisticated deep-sea spy equipment found it—wrecked on the sea floor at a depth of 16,800 feet, far beyond the capabilities of any salvage that existed. But the potential intelligence assets onboard the ship—the nuclear warheads, battle orders, and cryptological machines—justified going to extreme lengths to find a way to raise the submarine. So began Project Azorian, a top-secret mission that took six years, cost an estimated $800 million, and would become the largest and most daring covert operation in CIA history. After the U.S. Navy declared retrieving the sub “impossible,” the mission fell to the CIA's burgeoning Directorate of Science and Technology, the little-known division responsible for the legendary U-2 and SR-71 Blackbird spy planes. Working with Global Marine Systems, the country's foremost maker of exotic, deep-sea drilling vessels, the CIA commissioned the most expensive ship ever built and told the world that it belonged to the reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes, who would use the mammoth ship to mine rare minerals from the ocean floor. In reality, a complex network of spies, scientists, and politicians attempted a project even crazier than Hughes’s reputation: raising the sub directly under the watchful eyes of the Russians. The Taking of K-129 is a riveting, almost unbelievable true-life tale of military history, engineering genius, and high-stakes spy-craft set during the height of the Cold War, when nuclear annihilation was a constant fear, and the opportunity to gain even the slightest advantage over your enemy was worth massive risk.
How the CIA Used Howard Hughes to Steal a Russian Sub in the Most Daring Covert Operation in History
Author: Josh Dean
"In the early hours of February 25, 1968, Russian nuclear-armed submarine K-129 left Siberia on a routine combat patrol to Hawaii. Then it vanished. As the Soviet Navy searched in vain for the lost vessel, a small, highly classified American operation found it--wrecked at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. The sub lay three miles down, but the potential intelligence assets on board--the nuclear warheads, battle orders, and cryptological machines--presented an extraordinary opportunity. So began Project Azorian, a top secret mission that took six years, cost an estimated $800 million, and would become the largest and most daring covert operation in history. After the US Navy declared retrieving the sub "impossible," the mission fell to the CIA's burgeoning Directorate of Science and Technology, which commissioned the most expensive ship ever built [the Hughes Glomar Explorer] and told the world that it belonged to the reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes, who would use the mammoth vessel to mine rare minerals from the ocean floor. In reality, a vast network of spies, scientists, and engineers attempted a project even crazier than Hughes's reputation: raising the sub directly under the watchful eyes of the Russians, at a time when nuclear annihilation was a constant fear and the opportunity to gain even the slightest advantage over one's enemy was worth massive risk."--Jacket.
The Most Daring Covert Operation in History
Author: Josh Dean
Publisher: Amberley Publishing Limited
The incredible true story of a lost Russian submarine and the most outlandish and expensive covert operation even undertaken by the CIA, at the height of the cold war.
The Untold Story of a Soviet Sumbarine's Nuclear Strike Attempt on the U.S.
Author: Kenneth Sewell,Clint Richmond
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Documents the true story of a rogue Soviet submarine's 1968 attempt to provoke a war between the U.S. and China by firing a missile off the coast of Hawaii, in an account that offers insight into the subsequent cover-up and the event's influence on U.S. negotiations with the USSR and China. Reprint.
The CIA and the Raising of the K-129
Author: Norman Polmar,Michael White
Publisher: Naval Institute Press
Despite incredible political, military, and intelligence risks, and after six years of secret preparations, the CIA attempted to salvage the sunken Soviet ballistic missile submarine K-129 from the depths of the North Pacific Ocean in early August 1974. This audacious effort was carried out under the cover of an undersea mining operation sponsored by eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes. “Azorian”—incorrectly identified as Project Jennifer by the press— was the most ambitious ocean engineering endeavor ever attempted and can be compared to the 1969 moon landing for its level of technological achievement. Following the sinking of a Soviet missile submarine in March 1968, U.S. intelligence agencies were able to determine the precise location and to develop a means of raising the submarine from a depth of more than 16,000 feet. Previously, the deepest salvage attempt of a submarine had been accomplished at 245 feet. The remarkable effort to reach the K-129, which contained nuclear-armed torpedoes and missiles as well as cryptographic equipment, was conducted with Soviet naval ships a few hundred yards from the lift ship, the Hughes Glomar Explorer. While other books have been published about this secret project, none has provided an accurate and detailed account of this remarkable undertaking. To fully document the story, the authors conducted extensive interviews with men who were on board the Glomar Explorer and the USS Halibut, the submarine that found the wreckage, as well as with U.S. naval intelligence officers and with Soviet naval officers and scientists. The authors had access to the Glomar Explorer’s logs and to other documents from U.S. and Soviet sources. The book is based, in part, on the research for Michael White's ground-breaking documentary film,Azorian: The Raising of the K-129, released in late 2009. As a result of the research for the book and the documentary film, the CIA reluctantly issued a report on Project Azorian in early 2010, even though they tried to withhold details that were in that brief document from the public record by redacting one-third of it. In this book, the story of the CIA’s Project Azorian is finally revealed after decades of secrecy.
The True Story of a U.S. Cold War Submarine's Covert Operations Against the Soviet Union
Author: Peter Sasgen
Documents the story of a covert submarine espionage operation against the Soviet Union during the cold war as experienced by a commanding officer of the U.S.S. Blackfin, a submarine that faced extraordinarily high risks in the Soviet-controlled waters north of the Arctic Circle.
The Birth of the U.S. Chemical Warfare Service and the Race for the World¿s Deadliest Weapons
Author: Theo Emery
Publisher: Little, Brown
An explosive look into the dawn of chemical warfare during World War I "A terrifying piece of history that almost no one knows." - Hampton Sides In 1915, when German forces executed the first successful gas attack of World War I, the world watched in horror as the boundaries of warfare were forever changed. Cries of barbarianism rang throughout Europe, yet Allied nations immediately jumped into the fray, kickstarting an arms race that would redefine a war already steeped in unimaginable horror. Largely forgotten in the confines of history, the development of the U.S. Chemical Warfare Service in 1917 left an indelible imprint on World War I. This small yet powerful division, along with the burgeoning Bureau of Mines, assembled research and military unites devoted solely to chemical weaponry, outfitting regiments with hastily made gas-resistant uniforms and recruiting scientists and engineers from around the world into the fight. As the threat of new gases and more destructive chemicals grew stronger, the chemists' secret work in the laboratories transformed into an explosive fusion of steel, science, and gas on the battlefield. Drawing from years of research, Theo Emery brilliantly shows how World War I quickly spiraled into a chemists' war, one led by the companies of young American engineers-turned-soldiers who would soon become known as the "Hellfire Boys." As gas attacks began to mark the heaviest and most devastating battles, these brave and brilliant men were on the front lines, racing against the clock-and the Germans-to protect, develop, and unleash the latest weapons of mass destruction.
Inside the Secret U.S.-Soviet Submarine War
Author: W. Craig Reed
Publisher: Harper Collins
“Red November delivers the real life feel and fears of submariners who risked their lives to keep the peace.” —Steve Berry, author of The Paris Vendetta W. Craig Reed, a former navy diver and fast-attack submariner, provides a riveting portrayal of the secret underwater struggle between the US and the USSR in Red November. A spellbinding true-life adventure in the bestselling tradition of Blind Man’s Bluff, it reveals previously undisclosed details about the most dangerous, daring, and decorated missions of the Cold War, earning raves from New York Times bestselling authors David Morrell, who calls it, “palpably gripping,” and James Rollins, who says, “If Tom Clancy had turned The Hunt for Red October into a nonfiction thriller, Red November might be the result.”
The Untold Story Of American Submarine Espionage
Author: Sherry Sontag,Christopher Drew
Over the course of five years, investigative reporters Sherry Sontag and Chris Drew interviewed hundreds of men who had never spoken about their underwater lives—not even to their wives and children. They uncovered a wealth of classified information: the tapping of undersea Soviet telephone cables, the stealing of Soviet weapons, the tragic collisions of enemy submarines. They tell of medals awarded in secret and deaths disguised with disinformation. Blind Man's Bluff is a critical work of history that reads with all the excitement of a Tom Clancy novel and all the tragedy of Das Boot.
Author: Nancy Pearl
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
From “America’s librarian” and NPR books commentator Nancy Pearl comes an emotional, “Anne-Tyler-esque” (Library Journal) debut novel about an unlikely marriage at a crossroads. George and Lizzie are a couple, meeting as college students and marrying soon after graduation, but no one would ever describe them of being soulmates. George grew up in a warm and loving family—his father an orthodontist, his mother a stay-at-home mom—while Lizzie was the only child of two famous psychologists, who viewed her more as an in-house experiment than a child to love. After a decade of marriage, nothing has changed—George is happy; Lizzie remains…unfulfilled. But when George discovers that Lizzie has been searching for the whereabouts of an old boyfriend, Lizzie is forced to decide what love means to her, what George means to her, and whether her life with George is the one she wants. With pitch-perfect prose and compassion and humor to spare, George and Lizzie is “a richly absorbing portrait of a perfectly imperfect marriage,” (Amy Poeppel, author of Small Admissions), and “a story of forgiveness, especially for one’s self” (The Washington Post).
Inside the Daring Mission to Recover a Nuclear-armed Soviet Sub
Author: David H. Sharp
Recounts Project AZORIAN, the clandestine Cold War efforts of the CIA, under the guise of an undersea mining operation, to recover the sunken Soviet ballistic-missile submarine K-129 from the depths of the Pacific Ocean.
Privacy, Mass Surveillance, and the Struggle to Reform the NSA
Author: Timothy H. Edgar
Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
Category: Political Science
Safeguarding Our Privacy and Our Values in an Age of Mass Surveillance America’s mass surveillance programs, once secret, can no longer be ignored. While Edward Snowden began the process in 2013 with his leaks of top secret documents, the Obama administration’s own reforms have also helped bring the National Security Agency and its programs of signals intelligence collection out of the shadows. The real question is: What should we do about mass surveillance? Timothy Edgar, a long-time civil liberties activist who worked inside the intelligence community for six years during the Bush and Obama administrations, believes that the NSA’s programs are profound threat to the privacy of everyone in the world. At the same time, he argues that mass surveillance programs can be made consistent with democratic values, if we make the hard choices needed to bring transparency, accountability, privacy, and human rights protections into complex programs of intelligence collection. Although the NSA and other agencies already comply with rules intended to prevent them from spying on Americans, Edgar argues that the rules—most of which date from the 1970s—are inadequate for this century. Reforms adopted during the Obama administration are a good first step but, in his view, do not go nearly far enough. Edgar argues that our communications today—and the national security threats we face—are both global and digital. In the twenty first century, the only way to protect our privacy as Americans is to do a better job of protecting everyone’s privacy. Beyond Surveillance: Privacy, Mass Surveillance, and the Struggle to Reform the NSA explains both why and how we can do this, without sacrificing the vital intelligence capabilities we need to keep ourselves and our allies safe. If we do, we set a positive example for other nations that must confront challenges like terrorism while preserving human rights. The United States already leads the world in mass surveillance. It can lead the world in mass surveillance reform.
A Top-Secret Mission to the Bottom of the Pacific
Author: Roger Dunham
Publisher: Naval Institute Press
This is a story about a secret mission to find a lost Soviet submarine in the great depths of the Pacific Ocean, a mission never acknowledged by the U.S. Department of Defense. Deeply beneath the searching navy of the Soviet Union, the nuclear submarine hunt was so secret that even the men on the vessel never knew the object of their search. The brave exploits of these sailors and their remarkable commanding officer, enduring near-tragedies at sea and nearly-impossible challenges deep under the Pacific, are described by the author who also provides his own personal experiences under the tightest secrecy ever required for a submarine mission. The failures, the near catastrophes, and the challenges are described in personal detail, and the final outcome bringing critical Cold War information to the president of the United States is a saga like none in the annals of submarine exploits.
Japan's Top Secret Submarines and Its Plan to Change the Course of World War II
Author: John Geoghegan
The riveting true story of Japan's top secret plan to change the course of World War II using a squadron of mammoth submarines a generation ahead of their time In 1941, the architects of Japan's sneak attack on Pearl Harbor planned a bold follow-up: a potentially devastating air raid—this time against New York City and Washington, DC. The classified Japanese program required developing a squadron of top secret submarines—the Sen-toku or I-400 class—designed as underwater aircraft carriers, each equipped with three Aichi M6A1 attack bombers painted to look like U.S. aircraft. The bombers, called Seiran (which translates as “storm from a clear sky”), were tucked in a huge, water-tight hanger on the sub’s deck. The subs' mission was to travel more than halfway around the world, surface on the U.S. coast, and launch their deadly air attack. This entire operation was unknown to U.S. intelligence. And the amazing thing is how close the Japanese came to pulling it off. John Geoghegan’s meticulous research, including first-person accounts from the I-401 crew and the U.S. capturing party, creates a fascinating portrait of the Sen-toku's desperate push into Allied waters and the U.S. Navy's dramatic pursuit, masterfully illuminating a previously forgotten story of the Pacific war.
A True Story of Cold War Espionage and Betrayal
Author: David E. Hoffman
"While getting into his car on the evening of February 16, 1978, the chief of the CIA's Moscow station was handed an envelope by an unknown Russian. Its contents stunned the Americans: details of top-secret Soviet research and development in military technology that was totally unknown to the United States. From 1979 to 1985, Adolf Tolkachev, an engineer at a military research center, cracked open the secret Soviet military research establishment, using his access to hand over tens of thousands of pages of material about the latest advances in aviation technology, alerting the Americans to possible developments years in the future. He was one of the most productive and valuable spies ever to work for the United States in the four decades of global confrontation with the Soviet Union. Tolkachev took enormous personal risks, but so did his CIA handlers. Moscow station was a dangerous posting to the KGB's backyard. The CIA had long struggled to recruit and run agents in Moscow, and Tolkachev became a singular breakthrough. With hidden cameras and secret codes, and in face-to-face meetings with CIA case officers in parks and on street corners, Tolkachev and the CIA worked to elude the feared KGB. Drawing on previously secret documents obtained from the CIA, as well as interviews with participants, Hoffman reveals how the depredations of the Soviet state motivated one man to master the craft of spying against his own nation until he was betrayed to the KGB by a disgruntled former CIA trainee. No one has ever told this story before in such detail, and Hoffman's deep knowledge of spycraft, the Cold War, and military technology makes him uniquely qualified to bring readers this real-life espionage thriller"--Provided by publisher.
Into the CIA's Heart of Darkness
Author: John Prados
Publisher: The New Press
Category: Political Science
"The Ghosts of Langley offers a detail-rich, often relentless litany of CIA scandals and mini-scandals. . . [and a] prayer that the CIA learn from and publicly admit its mistakes, rather than perpetuate them in an atmosphere of denial and impunity." —The Washington Post From the writer Kai Bird calls a “wonderfully accessible historian,” the first major history of the CIA in a decade, published to tie in with the seventieth anniversary of the agency’s founding During his first visit to Langley, the CIA’s Virginia headquarters, President Donald Trump told those gathered, “I am so behind you . . . there’s nobody I respect more, ” hinting that he was going to put more CIA operations officers into the field so the CIA could smite its enemies ever more forcefully. But while Trump was making these promises, behind the scenes the CIA was still reeling from blowback from the very tactics that Trump touted—including secret overseas prisons and torture—that it had resorted to a decade earlier during President George W. Bush’s war on terror. Under the latest regime it seemed that the CIA was doomed to repeat its past failures rather than put its house in order. The Ghosts of Langley is a provocative and panoramic new history of the Central Intelligence Agency that relates the agency’s current predicament to its founding and earlier years, telling the story of the agency through the eyes of key figures in CIA history, including some of its most troubling covert actions around the world. It reveals how the agency, over seven decades, has resisted government accountability, going rogue in a series of highly questionable ventures that reach their apotheosis with the secret overseas prisons and torture programs of the war on terror. Drawing on mountains of newly declassified documents, the celebrated historian of national intelligence John Prados throws fresh light on classic agency operations from Poland to Hungary, from Indonesia to Iran-Contra, and from the Bay of Pigs to Guantánamo Bay. The halls of Langley, Prados persuasively argues, echo with the footsteps of past spymasters, to the extent that it resembles a haunted house. Indeed, every day that the militarization of the CIA increases, the agency drifts further away from classic arts of espionage and intelligence analysis—and its original mission, while pushing dangerously beyond accountability. The Ghosts of Langley will be essential reading for anyone who cares about the next phase of American history—and the CIA’s evolution—as its past informs its future and a president of impulsive character prods the agency toward new scandals and failures.
Author: The Central Intelligence Agency
""Azorian,"" the code name for a U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) project to recover the sunken Soviet submarine K-129 from the Pacific Ocean floor in 1974, using the purpose-built ship Hughes Glomar Explorer.. The 1968 sinking of K-129 occurred approximately 1,560 nautical miles (2,890 km) northwest of Hawaii. Project Azorian was one of the most complex, expensive, and secretive intelligence operations of the Cold War at a cost of about $800 million ($3.9 billion in 2017 dollars). Now, for the first time in print, is the official CIA history of the event. This document, secured by FOIA and heavily redacted but provides a detailed history from the CIA, of Howard Hughes daring plan to recover the sunken K-129.
A Story of World War I Espionage and the Greatest Treasure Salvage in History
Author: Joseph Williams
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
On January 25, 1917, the HMS Laurentic struck German mines off the coast of Ireland and sank. Its shipment was critical: Britain at that time was facing escalated submarine warfare, which had been sinking millions of tons of cargo and threatening the country with starvation. The Laurentic was carrying 44 tons of gold bullion to the still-neutral United States via Canada in order to finance the war effort for Britain and its allies. The salvage mission was confidential, since the British government dared not alert the Germans to the presence of the sunken treasure. Lieutenant Commander Guybon C. C. Damant was the most qualified officer to head the mission—he personally set a deep sea diving record in 1906 and had worked to establish safer deep sea diving procedures.Though Damant's salvage team was successful at first, and recovered a significant amount of gold, wild gales battered the wreck into the shape of an accordion, turning the operation into a multiyear struggle of man versus nature. Damant was called off the salvage when his skill became needed to lead a team of covert divers to investigate and search through the contents of recently sunk U-boats for ciphers, minefield schematics, and other secret documents. The information they obtained, once in the hands of British intelligence, proved critical toward Allied efforts to defeat the U-boats and win the war.At the conclusion of the war, Damant had become obsessed with completing his long-deferred mission. His team struggled for five more years as it became apparent that the work could only be accomplished by muscle, grit, and persistence. In the end, Damant and his team recovered 99 percent of the gold with no significant injuries to the men. His deed became one of the most notable exploits in the annals of undersea diving and naval operations, and the Laurentic became a model for later salvages. More than an incredible story about undersea diving adventure, The Sunken Gold is a story of human persistence, bravery, and patriotism.
An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base
Author: Annie Jacobsen
Publisher: Little, Brown
Area 51 It is the most famous military installation in the world. And it doesn't exist. Located a mere seventy-five miles outside of Las Vegas in Nevada's desert, the base has never been acknowledged by the U.S. government-but Area 51 has captivated imaginations for decades. Myths and hypotheses about Area 51 have long abounded, thanks to the intense secrecy enveloping it. Some claim it is home to aliens, underground tunnel systems, and nuclear facilities. Others believe that the lunar landing itself was filmed there. The prevalence of these rumors stems from the fact that no credible insider has ever divulged the truth about his time inside the base. Until now. Annie Jacobsen had exclusive access to nineteen men who served the base proudly and secretly for decades and are now aged 75-92, and unprecedented access to fifty-five additional military and intelligence personnel, scientists, pilots, and engineers linked to the secret base, thirty-two of whom lived and worked there for extended periods. In Area 51, Jacobsen shows us what has really gone on in the Nevada desert, from testing nuclear weapons to building super-secret, supersonic jets to pursuing the War on Terror. This is the first book based on interviews with eye witnesses to Area 51 history, which makes it the seminal work on the subject. Filled with formerly classified information that has never been accurately decoded for the public, Area 51 weaves the mysterious activities of the top-secret base into a gripping narrative, showing that facts are often more fantastic than fiction, especially when the distinction is almost impossible to make.