Project Azorian

What’s one of the most enjoyable things about reading a fast-paced action-adventure like The Da Vinci Code or an edge-of-your-seat techno-thriller like The Hunt for Red October? — THE HISTORY, right?

Yeah, there’s a lot of liberties taken. But you still feel smarter just thumbing through the pages. Without a doubt, all that real-world history makes the read that much more fulfilling for you, the reader. And, glancing through the research that went into O.L.D. — A Good Way to Die, it’s just too good not to share with you here, especially if Cold War history is your thing. Sure, some of it’s rather mundane (like what Ronald Reagan ate for breakfast), but some of it is astonishing.

Take, for example, Project Azorian

In 1968 the Soviet nuclear missile submarine K-129 mysteriously sunk somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, tragically killing all on board. But the Soviet Union, it’s once-mighty Red Fleet now decrepit and underfunded, was clueless as to its whereabouts. The C.I.A., on the other hand — thanks to the Navy’s cutting-edge submarine tracking technology — had a pretty good idea of its location. Only they weren’t sharing. Project Azorian was the C.I.A.’s top-secret effort to raise the K-129 from a depth of almost three miles. What’s impressive is that this was an engineering endeavor so extreme that it was on par with landing a man on the moon… except it was completely illegal and had to be hidden from the public, the media, and, most importantly, the Soviets.

So how did the C.I.A. go about covering up “the most complex, expensive, and secretive intelligence operations of the Cold War”? Simple, they just asked eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes to throw his name on it, christening the supposed deep-sea mining rig as the Hughes Glomar Explorer. Hell, Hughes was so excited to be involved in the cover story that he even let them park the thing next to the Spruce Goose down in Long Beach, CA.

Eventually, Seymour Hersh of the New York Times broke the story to the public… hence why he’s an inspiration for Steven, one of the main characters of my novel. You can read Hersh’s article here. And here’s a fun bit of trivia for ya: You know the phrase “We can neither confirm nor deny that… blah blah blah”? Well, that’s actually called a Glomar Response, named after the C.I.A.’s attempts to stop the press from publishing any details about Project Azorian and the Hughes Glomar Explorer.

For more information about Project Azorian, click here. And while you’re at it, check out these images courtesy the C.I.A.’s very own Twitter account — haha, I don’t know about you but the fact that we live in a world where major intelligence agencies have their own social media accounts just cracks me up. Or scares the shit out of me, whichever.

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