The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 9, 1976 · Page 17
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December 9, 1976

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 17

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Thursday, December 9, 1976
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Page 17
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Palm Beach Post, Thursday, December 9, 1976 AIT Glomar Crew Member Recalls Submarine Recovery and were routinely checked for radioactivity. "The instrument went as high as anything could go," he said, "and they found it was on me." Collier said he thought little of the incident until his wife recently had a miscarriage during her second pregnancy. Now he is frightened, he said, but does not know what to do. After some agonizing moments, the claw encircled the submarine, the account continued, but the few prongs that had become stuck were bent out of shape and could not fully support the submarine. At 5,000 feet, the rear two-thirds of the submarine broke off and sunk, Wayne said. The section that broke off, Wayne Collier said, included the conning tower, the three missiles and the vessel's code room - the prime targets of the recovery mission. Billy Collier talked at length about his intense 12-hour days disassembling the vessel in the huge hold of the Glomar. As many as 100 oversized air-conditioning units were working constantly in the "moon pool," he said, in an attempt to rec reate the water temperature three miles down, and to delay the submarine's decay. The Soviet submarine, a 1958 Golf class model driven by a diesel engine was radioactive, as CIA analysts had predicted. The Collier brothers said there had been decay of the nuclear warheads that were mounted on the vessel's three missiles and four torpedoes. Two of the torpedoes were recovered, according to the brothers. Moments after the submarine's forward section was brought into the "moon pool," Billy Collier recalled, the crew members were summoned to the ship's dining room as Blackjack told them the submarine was "hot" and gave them a chance to forego working on the project and thus avoid exposure to radiation. The men all agreed to go below to work, he said. Special uniforms were provided, including a full-length cotton jumper and a shiny outer uniform that seemed to have a metallic content, Billy Collier said. After work, Billy recalled, the men were carefully checked and ordered to take hot showers. "After five days, they decided it wasn't necessary to take all of the precautions," he said, and the suits were dispensed with to insure that the job of dismantling the submarine could proceed quickly. Collier worked his normal shift with about six other men, he said, and then he and others took a break TS337T BE A COURT REPORTER GOLD COAST SCHOOL OF MACHINE SHORTHAND 040 41 CO KFOK Elves, Frogs, Animals, Bird Baths, GARDEN POEM MARKER Small 4.98 Wind Moving Ornaments, mm Flamingos, Egrets, Large M 2.98 fc,ntfa lLr j,M. OTi fiv . 3un uiai. at U ZLijiu,.. QS7GBW I Ml' A (c) New York Times NEW YORK - The Central Intelligence Agency's attempt in July 1974 to salvage a Soviet submarine failed when an error in judgment resulted in damage to prongs on a huge claw that was to have retrieved the submarine from a depth of three miles, according to two former members of the project. Wayne R. Collier of Houston, who was in charge of recruitment on the project for the CIA, and his brother, Billy C, who served as a cutting torch handler, said at least two prongs of the claw were severely bent back as CIA technicians tried to grab the 320-foot Soviet submarine on the ocean floor 750 miles north of Hawaii, where she had sunk in 1968. The claw was unable to fully support the vessel as she was being lifted, and she broke into two large pieces, the brothers said. The front section, less than one-third of the submarine, was brought to the surface, according to high-level intelligence officials. The CIA, which spent four years building a computer-run submarine rescue ship, the Glomar Explorer, was forced to cancel a second attempt to recover the main section of the vessel after newspaper publicity about the operation early last year. The Glomar Explorer was built under elaborate cover and was considered under the code names Azori-an, Jennifer and Matador - to be one of the government's highest-held secrets. In a series of interviews, the Collier brothers also provided an insight into the CIA's extensive efforts to recruit, train and direct the 125 crew members of the Glomar Explorer without attracting public attention. Their detailed account of the operation's basic failure - the inability to retrieve all of the submarine, including the code room and three nuclear-tipped missiles - was independently verified by The New York Times in interviews with another crew member and high government officials with first-hand knowledge of the operation. The Collier brothers' description of the unsuccessful mission is at variance with published reports, including one in Time magazine alleging that the CIA operation did recover all of the submarine, and one in Science magazine speculating that the vessel might have been recovered in pieces. Such reports, which have drawn official "no comments" from the Pentagon and the CIA, were depicted as fallacious by the Collier brothers and by The Times's sources inside the intelligence community. Wayne Collier, who is 33 years old and is now in the oil business in Houston, said some crew members of the Glomar Explorer, including his brother, were exposed to radioactivity from corroded nuclear warheads during the CIA's subsequent analysis of the recovered section of the Soviet submarine. Collier added that he and his brother were considering legal action against the intelligence agency. "I feel it was negligence on the part of the agency," Wayne Collier said. Since leaving his job at the Glomar Explorer, Wayne said, his brother Billy - who weighs 240 pounds and is known as Bimbo to his friends has felt weak. "It's as if he doesn't have any energy," Wayne Collier said. In addition, he said, Billy's wife suffered a miscarriage three months ago. The key failure, according to Collier, was not mechanical, but rather, a failure in human judgment. The concept behind the planned recovery of the submarine was simple: A huge claw capable of grabbing and lifting the submarine was constructed, fit under the Glomar Explorer at sea, and then - while the Explorer was stabilized with the aid of computers over the sunken submarine -the claw was extended slowly into the ocean. The Explorer, a 36,000-ton vessel 618 feet long and more than 115 feet wide, was capable of generating 12,-000 horsepower. The ship's "moon pool," a huge hold into which the submarine was to be hoisted, was 200 feet long and 65 feet wide. Once the submarine was recovered and placed in the pool, the water would be pumped out and the disassembling would start. The submarine was known, on the basis of previous reconnaissance photographs taken by deep-diving Navy craft, to be intact. The plan according to Wayne Collier and other sources was for the claw to encircle the submarine and pull it to the surface. The claw, nicknamed Clementine by crew members, was operated by a seawater hydraulic system. But Wayne said, two or three prongs of the claw somehow became entangled in the seabed along the aft end of the submarine. According to Wayne's account, there was a debate inside the control room; repositioning the claw could cause an extensive delay and, at the great stress of the three-mile depth, could even lead to mechanical breakdown. The project leader, a high-level CIA official known to the crew as Blackjack, ordered the claw's engineer to increase the power to pull the claw around the submarine, Collier said. 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Guest and supersize towels plus bath mat in solid colors only. Save nowl Touel Prices h'.ffectii'e thru December IHth been used because CAMP has been unable to find work for the cooperative of some 25 men who would be operating the harvesters. "We're securing contracts right now to put that equipment to work. We think this workers' co-op is a concept that could upgrade working conditions for farm workers and we're going to pursue it," he said. Another expense questioned by auditors was $4,800 which Otis P. Williams, Lakeland chairman of the board at CAMP, deposited into an insurance company account to pay for a policy for migrants. Williams, vice president of the insurance company, withdrew the $4,800 from the company account without purchasing the insurance and that money should be recovered, auditors said. Black said CAMP's own audit acknowledged that the $4,800 had been outstanding since August 1974. He showed an audit report which listed $4,800 "receivable" from Farm Workers Harvesting Inc. He declined comment on when these funds would be recovered. Asked about reports that CAMP had formed subsidiary agencies with corporate officers that are illiterate, Black defended the agencies. He said CAMP had formed transportation cooperatives with vans serving rural areas of Broward County, Indiantown, the Rangeline, Immokalee and Belle Glade. The buses, he said, charge fares sufficient to cover expenses, or about one quarter the cost of a taxi. Some of the co-ops, said Black, have illiterate officers. "Many of the people we are trying to help don't have much formal education," Black said. "How do you help people that are illiterate? Ignore them?" Omitted from audits of the migrant agency was any account of how successful it had been in providing services - day care, job training, work, alcohol rehabilitation and aid to youth and the aged - to the impoverished. According to DOL statistics, not included in the audit, CAMP had projected it would reach 1,164 participants with the $1.5 million DOL grant in 1975. DOL data indicated more than 3,000 persons were involved in CAMP programs during that period, better than 260 per cent of the services promised. In contrast to this, Black said, the DOL has a dismal track record in bringing opportunities to migrants. He cited an August 1974 NAACP lawsuit against the department in which it was found that employment offices overseen by DOL were not referring migrants to the more promising openings. The judicial order, signed by U.S. District Court Judge Charles Richey, told the DOL to see to it that migrants receive the full benefits of available training, counseling and job referrals. "What we're talking about here is due process of law," said Black. "This agency has been convicted without due process. We want a hearing on this audit and on why we've been turned down for the 1977 grant. It may be a little unusual, but it would appear that in this case, the defendant is asking for a trial." to the state Department of Education. Claiming due process of law has been denied CAMP - that the agency never had an opportunity to discuss audit findings with the DOL and that findings were leaked to funding sources without the audit being made public the poverty agency has appealed DOL's grant denial. It has filed a petition to request a DOL hearing on CAMP'S use of funds. "It is certainly curious," reads CAMP's petition, "that a project which auditors viewed as being operated in a fraudulent manner and about which they felt compelled to suggest not only an investigation but also termination has had no preventative action taken against it by the Labor Department. Petitioner's (CAMP's) bank accounts have not been 'frozen,' the grant has not been terminated or suspended. "There are two possible conclusions to be drawn from this situation. (1) Incompetence amounting to misfeasance by Labor Department personnel aware of the situation; or (2) Prejudice against petitioner by Labor Department officials." Black said he is confident a hearing would absolve CAMP of all alleged abuses and determine "that not a single penny had been misspent." For instance, Black said, auditors claim CAMP used $280,000 too much to administer its 1975 programs, an unallowable percentage of its grant monies. Yet, he said, the DOL did not establish until late this year what percentage of a grant could be used for administration. Raymond P. Workman, deputy director of finance for CAMP, said the DOL had allowed agencies to use 20 per cent of a grant for administering a program until this year, when it began talking about calculating fair administrative costs based on an "indirect cost rate." He showed an October letter from DOL's Atlanta audit office notifying CAMP it was then about to establish what the indirect cost rate would be. "They said we had $280,000 in questionable indirect costs in 1975. They didn't even have a specific indirect cost rate then," Workman said. DOL auditors said one of their mofe serious findings - which they claim the Tampa FBI office is investigating - involved the purchase by a CAMP subcontractor, Farm Workers Harvesting Inc., of about $25,000 in harvesting equipment. Audit officials said the equipment was to be used to provide food to migrants and that the equipment, never approved for purchase, has disappeared! "The auditors can write down anything they think is questionable," said Black. "That's why they're supposed to sit down for an interview with the agency before the audit is finalized. We could have shown them our subcontract on this. I don't have any idea where they got the idea the equipment was for growing food. It's orange harvesting equipment. You tell me how you could grow anything with that equipment." 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