Sunday, May 25, 2008

Search for Titanic: the Cold War Connection

"Titanic search was cover for secret Cold War subs mission"
Times (UK) (May 24, 2008)

"The man who located the wreck of the Titanic has revealed that the discovery was a cover story to camouflage the real mission of inspecting the wrecks of two Cold War nuclear submarines.

"When Bob Ballard led a team that pinpointed the wreckage of the liner in 1985 he had already completed his main task of finding out what happened to USS Thresher and USS Scorpion...."

" 'I couldn't tell anybody,' he said. 'There was a lot of pressure on me. It was a secret mission. I felt it was a fair exchange for getting a chance to look for the Titanic.

"... 'We handed the data to the experts. They never told us what they concluded – our job was to collect the data. I can only talk about it now because it has been declassified.' ..."

Strikes me as a reasonable trade: the researcher had expertise but not enough money, the American military had enough money, but not the researcher's abilities.

(I suppose, though, it's only a matter of time before someone decides that America sank the Titanic so that there would be a cover story for an undersea search.)

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