Not signed in (Sign In)

Categories

Welcome, Guest

Want to take part in these discussions? If you have an account, sign in now.

If you don't have an account, apply for one now.

Vanilla 1.0.3 is a product of Lussumo. More Information: Documentation, Community Support.

    • CommentAuthorDave Y.
    • CommentTimeMar 7th 2007
     

    My father, back when he worked for CIA in the 1970s, he was involved in the Glomar Explorer and the (partial) raising of a Soviet submarine near Hawaii. I've heard various tellings of the story from him, and criticisms of inaccuracies in media reports of it, and expecially hard criticism of how the story broke and compromised the op. But the part where he wells with pride is when he talks about that they filmed giving the bodies of the recovered Soviet sailors a burial at sea, and that years later, after the story was public, the film of it was given to the Soviets. In the midst of a multiyear effort to recover whatever intelligence they could from a submarine at depths of the ocean that had never been plumbed before, what was important to him was the dignity with which they treated the bodies of those sailors.

    • CommentAuthorDave Y.
    • CommentTimeMar 7th 2007
     

    To make it even more personal, 1974 was the year the GE set sail, in June. In February of that year, my father was away 'on business' (which could only have been connected with Glomar) when my older brother Jeffy, 6 at the time, drowned to death. I never even made the connection until today that part of what was important to him about the treatment of those drowned sailors who died away from their parents was the connection to his own feelings about his son's death while he was far away. I think maybe I'll go cry a little now.

    • CommentAuthorDave Y.
    • CommentTimeMar 7th 2007 edited
     

    Oh wow. The video is on Google video. I'm at work now, so I can't watch it without attracting attention, but I totally need to see this.

    • CommentAuthorGreatWolf
    • CommentTimeMar 7th 2007
     

    I just finished watching the video. (BTW, the links are...difficult...to see.)

    Wow.

    I am impressed with the respect shown to these Russian sailors. To see both flags displayed, to hear both anthems played, to hear the burial service of both navies being read in both English and Russian...that was above and beyond what was "necessary".

    Although, in another sense, it was most assuredly necessary.

    Thank you for sharing this, Dave.

    Seth Ben-Ezra
    Great Wolf

  1.  

    Holy shit, Dave! I've been reading about that op for years! Operation Jennifer. I still like just saying the words "manganese nodules," because they sound so Star Trek. The operation is all wrapped up with the history of Howard Hughes and the agency. A contemporary book that poked open a lot of holes for that issue is Spooks by Jim Hougan.

    So your dad was a CIA officer, and evidently in the Department of Operations (or Plans, as it was changing its name right about the time you're talking about). That's not for nothing, as they say in Boston. I don't know your family history but am interested in any dialogue that may have occurred - not for secrets and insider points, but rather in terms of your thoughts on the lifestyle. There are a lot of books by and about spies' kids. For that matter, it occurs to me, that you yourself might have been considered for agency employment at some time.

    Anyway, for people who are interested, here is the Federation of American Scientists Operation Jennifer link, and the Wikipedia entry. As with so many things, the actual effectiveness of the operation has entered into the conceptual tug-of-war that characterizes CIA operational history ... some people say it was relatively worthless as a means of criticism, others say it was not worth much as a means of cover, others say it was a big haul as a means of agency PR, and others say it was a big haul to bolster their conspiracy theory of some kind. So the observer's left with the usual "don't know" for that issue.

    I'm sorry to learn about your brother. That's a particularly cruel association to have to make.

    ----

    Here is the video link: Burial at sea 9/4/74. It's about 14 minutes long.

    1. I turned ten years old that day; Sept 4 is my birthday. I remember it well.

    2. One thing I have trouble convincing people of, as it seems to have entered a kind of national amnesia, is that in the mid-1970s, the Cold War was widely regarded as over. The U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam, the apparent cooldown from Berlin and Cuba over the past decade, the climactic events of the Watergate scandal, and SALT I ... anyway, it was apparent from the adults around me that "the bad days" were over and that the USA and the USSR had grown reconciled to one another's existence as superpowers. This video reminds me of that general impression, very strongly.

    3. This is history, politics, and ceremony, but it's also your life that we're looking at. I was moved by that as well, as I considered the respect being displayed (your father spoke very truly).

    Best, Ron

    • CommentAuthorDave Y.
    • CommentTimeMar 7th 2007 edited
     

    (Edit: I remembered my manners, specifically that Ron likes to see things as more formal correspondance)

    Ron,

    Actually, I don't believe he was ever in Ops/Plans - he's an Engineer and I believe he was always with DS&T. For something as complicated as the GE, you need lots of involvement from technical folks - you don't pull something like that off with just a bunch of case officers. I'm going to watch the video tonight, maybe let Dad know that its there and that he can watch it from his browser, and post again tonight if I have the chance.

    Dave

  2.  

    Wow.

    Dave, I just...

    I am sorry for your loss, and find this story so powerful I can't properly express it right now.

    • CommentAuthorDave Y.
    • CommentTimeMar 7th 2007
     

    Thanks Brand. I wasn't born until '77, so I never knew Jeffy; only the residual effects of that on my parents.

    Dave

    • CommentAuthorDave Y.
    • CommentTimeMar 7th 2007
     

    I'm glad I watched that. A few years ago, at GMU, I took a history course taught by a member of the CIA History Staff entitled "The History of US Intelligence" - fascinating course. It was a breeze of a course - summer term, no paper required, extra credit for going to the Spy Museum or Crytological Museum, etc. Anyway, when he talked about Jennifer and a couple of other projects, it was interesting to hear the perspective of 'publicly available knowledge' the instructor was using vs. the (often vague) anecdotes I had heard from my father. I'm sure it will surprise noone to hear that my father was much more conservative in what he was willing to discuss in most cases than the un/declassified accounts my instructor was relying on.

    • CommentAuthorDave Y.
    • CommentTimeFeb 24th 2009 edited
     

    Dead thread, but I thought this might be of interest: According to the WSJ, the Glomar Explorer is up for grabs (and, y'know, a stealth ship to go with...)

    (Edit: fixed link)