Sunday, February 21, 2010

Deep secrets: Former cold war agent gagged by the CIA

HE remembers the women sunbathing naked on the deck of a passing yacht. He remembers, too, the lurking menace of a Russian intelligence-gathering trawler, watching from afar as one of the most audacious American coups of the cold war unfolded on the ocean floor, 16,500ft beneath the Pacific surface. David Sharp recalls every detail of the 1974 mission known as Project Azorian, one of the most ambitious, expensive and politically volatile clandestine operations launched by the CIA. As one of the CIA’s agents in charge of recovering a sunken Soviet submarine and its cargo of nuclear-tipped missiles, Sharp spent 63 days at sea on what he described last week as a “marvellous engineering effort and a marvellous security effort to keep it under wraps”. The broad outlines of the historic intelligence feat have been written about and debated for decades, have been publicly acknowledged by governments in both Washington and Moscow and have inspired countless conspiracy theories and malevolent accusations. Yet the man who knows most about the Hughes Glomar Explorer recovery ship and its effort to retrieve the Soviet Golf-II submarine K-129 is still being gagged by the more

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