The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 12, 1976 · Page 36
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 36

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Sunday, December 12, 1976
Page 36
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A36 Palm Beach Post-Times, Sunday, December 12, 1976 Soviet Submarine Recovery a Sordid Affair Even in that building, the CIA men made a practice of leaving the elevator on the fifth floor and then walking via specially built staircase to a series of secret offices on the sixth floor. Wayne Collier Collier, 33, is a native of Louisiana who had worked as an undercover narcotics agent for the Justice Department before joining the submarine recovery project as a CIA contract employe. The CIA's headquarters for the recovery program were in a small office building in the San Fernando Valley outside of Los Angeles that also was leased in part by the Summa Corp. Even in that building, Collier recalled, the CIA men made a . practice of leaving the elevator on the fifth floor and then walking via specialy built staircase to a series of secret offices on the sixth floor. Collier said that a senior CIA official once explained that deception was necessary because there were, in fact, some offices on the sixth floor that had been leased to the Veterans' Administration, a federal agency. Since the fifth-floor offices were marked "Summa Corp. Global aboard the Soviet vessel. A mock submarine also was constructed so the men could practice disassembling the craft, Collier said. Throughout the period of recruiting and intensive training, there were no security breaches and only one potential crew member chose not to work on the project after being briefed. Collier said that the young man concerned had quit after stating his objections to the project, which he termed "immoral and not decent." "If we are going to attempt something like this," Collier further quoted the young man as saying, "then why not notify Russia and ask their aid?" After the young man was debriefed and had promised never to discuss his role in the operation, he was given funds to return home, according to Collier. "I never heard from him again." to discuss the operation in one of two "safe houses," fashionable apartments leased in nearby Santa Monica and Long Beach. The apartments regularly were inspected for wiretaps, bugs, or other means of electronic surveillance by CIA security men, he said. Collier said that those project members who were not in the CIA had another term for the apartments "cool houses." "That was because they were cool to talk in and cool to party in and play in," he said. Once recruited and cleared for a briefing on the submarine recovery project, a process that often took three months or more, Collier said, the crew members were provided with two weeks of intensive training by the CIA at a special facility near Redwood City, Calif. There, the men studied rudimentary. Russian, and received intensive instructions on what to expect Marine," Collier said, it was decided not to run the risk of having a CIA official observed going both into the Global Marine offices on the fifth and also going to the sixth floor, where there were known federal government offices. The CIA's concern, Collier said, was that someone would conclude that the Global Marine offices were associated with the government. "This may sound silly," Collier added, "but it was one of the agency's methods of operating, and they were very strict with the policy." All CIA employes, he said, had to get off the elevator at the fifth floor and use the secret stairway to get to their upstairs office. As a further precaution, Collier said, the CIA also maintained a series of rented rooms in the Tishman Building, two floors below those of the development company. Those were for emergency use in case it was discovered that the agency was running the operation out of its San Fernando office, he said. On Fridays, Collier said, officials from the development company and from CIA headquarters would meet PAYS ONLY B&MW&(o)B(om I U TOYS BIKES HOBBIES ( SPORTING GOODS ( SALE EFFECTIVE SUNDAY, DECEMBER 12 AND MONDAY, DECEMBER 13 g V By SEYMOUR M. HERSH (c) New York Times The Central Intelligence Agency used secret stairways, fake offices, hideaway apartments and even set up a spurious marine engineering concern in Los Angeles as part of an effort to maintain the secrecy of its 1974 attempt to salvage a sunken Soviet submarine, according to a participant in the project. The participant, Wayne R. Collier of Houston, who was in charge of recruitment for the unsuccessful project, told, in a recent series of interviews, of elaborate and expensive cover efforts that he said were employed by the CIA. Collier, who works for an oil company, also said that the CIA, anticipating success in the project, had planned to announce publicly the recovery of the entire submarine in an effort to curb the growing criticism of the agency for its role in the Watergate scandals. "The CIA knew that if this project was successful, then it would take a lot of ' heat' off the agency to prove to the American people that we do have the best intelligence network in the world, and that it is very important to have these type operations conducted," he said. In an interview published Thursday in the New York Times, Collier and his younger brother, Billy C. Collier, told how a human error had been responsible for the CIA's failure to recover all of the submarine, which sank in 1968 about 750 miles north of Hawaii. Only the forward third of the vessel was salvaged. The brothers said the agency had invested more than $500 million in the project, roughly half of it in construction costs for the main recovery vessel, the Glomar Explorer. The huge ship was built between 1971 and 1974 in a Chester, Pa., shipyard ostensibly for Howard R. Hughes' Summa Corp., and - the CIA cover story went - was going to be a revolutionary development in deep-sea ocean mining, capable of sweeping up valuable minerals from the ocean floor. The vessel was said to be managed by Global Marine Inc., a California-based shipping concern known for its expertise in deep-sea drilling and exploratory work. In fact, according to Wayne Collier, and independently confirmed by others, Global Marine played a far more significant role. One of its vice presidents, John R. Graham, now deceased, was a main designer of the submarine recovery vessel, according to Collier. Graham and others who were involved in the design and mechanical aspects of the vessel were employes of a new subsidiary of Global Marine, known as Global Marine Development Inc., he said. The concern was organized by the CIA for security reasons, Collier said. The new concern, which had about 75 employes, was established in separate quarters in the Tishman Building in Los Angeles, and it was in those offices, Collier said, that he began recruiting for the ship's crew. The emphasis in recruiting, he said, was on those men - primarily southerners - who would unquestionably accept the CIA's explanation for the necessity of the salvage operation and the secrecy that went with it. Only about 20 per cent of the men and women employed by the development company knew the true purpose of the Glomar Explorer's mission, he said. Engineers and technicians, who were kept uninformed, spent hundreds of hours designing deep-sea dredging gear and similar devices that would never be constructed, Collier said, as well as purchasing such equipment. "That made just about every word that came out of my mouth a lie," he said. "I was used to it, having worked under cover for three years and, besides, no one was going to think an old country boy from the Deep South was going to sit up and lie all day. It went over real good and the agency was real pleased with me." Drug Laws Illegal, Judge Says BOSTON (UPI) - Massachusetts' laws governing the use of cocaine are unconstitutional, a Roxbury District Court judge ruled Friday. Judge Elwood McKinney, who called off a planned sampling of the drug last month because of publicity, said cocaine is less harmful than cigarettes or alcohol. It was not known whether the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office planned to appeal the ruling, although a defense attorney lated the state would wait for another case before challenging the ruling. The decision came in a case brought against Richard Miller of Boston, who was accused of possession of $20 worth of cocaine. The case was set up with a grant from the Playboy Foundation as a test to the state's laws governing the private use of cocaine, according to defense attorney Martin Weinberg. "A state law enforcement officer could not make an arrest for private possession of cocaine and expect a conviction in Roxbury Court," Weinberg said after the ruling. He said the decision probably will stand until another case is brought to court. "The state is in a pretty tough spot as far as an appeal goes," Weinberg said. McKinney said last month he wanted to try cocaine under laboratory controlled conditions before making a ruling, raising a storm of publicity. 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