The Jennifer Project
In 1968 a Soviet G-class submarine mysteriously exploded and sank to the bottom of the Pacific. With Cold War secrecy and speed, U.S. military intelligence raced to find a way to raise the sub. In the new preface to this edition of The Jennifer Project, which was first published in 1977, author Clyde Burleson discusses some of the sources he could not reveal twenty years ago and provides an interesting swords-to-plowshares update.
In one of the more remarkable episodes of high-tech espionage and engineering of the Cold War, the effort to raise the Soviet sub, code-named the "Jennifer Project," assembled a cast of players that included top military brass, the CIA, and the eccentric millionaire and inventor Howard Hughes.
The Project was a monumental effort to create a tool that could reach three miles below the ocean's surface and pull the sub from primordial muck—in secret. Financed and built by Hughes and Global Marine under contract with the CIA, the ship created to pluck the sub from the ooze was a technological marvel. Two football fields in length and twenty-three stories high, the Hughes Glomar Explorer held in its hull a six-million-pound submersible "claw" for picking up sections of the submarine.
The project cost the U.S. government hundreds of millions of dollars, but the intelligence community was betting that, if successful, reclamation of the Soviet submarine would mean accessing invaluable military knowledge as the two superpowers neared negotiations in the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty talks. The Jennifer Project revisits a fascinating period of high-level intrigue and invention that has remained unknown to many Americans.
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