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AZORIAN and the CIA Visit the Spy Museum

Hughes Glomar Explorer; photo courtesy Dave Sharp

In February 12, 2010, the CIA declassified substantial information surrounding one of its more secret Cold War projects, Project AZORIAN. The code name referred to the Agency’s ambitious plan to raise a sunken Soviet submarine from the floor of the Pacific Ocean in order to retrieve its secrets.

This Thursday at 10:15 am, the International Spy Museum, in cooperation with the Smithsonian Resident Associate Program, is hosting a special discussion on Project AZORIAN and the Hughes Glomar Explorer. The guest speaker is David Sharp, a former CIA employee who was part of the critical success of the Explorer’s mission.

The story of Project AZORIAN began on March 1, 1968, when a Soviet Golf-II submarine, the K-129 sailed from the naval base at Petropavlovsk on the Kamchatka Peninsula to take up its peacetime patrol station northeast of Hawaii. Something went terribly wrong in mid-March 1968 as the submarine suffered a catastrophic accident and sank 1,560 miles northwest of Hawaii with the loss of its entire crew. Interestingly, the CIA history is silent on the cause of the accident, mentioning neither how the agency came to learn of the sub’s demise nor the exact location of its resting place 16,500 feet below the surface of Pacific. Continue reading

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Cold War, Revisited

Photo courtesy of
‘KGB / FSB Headquarters’ courtesy of ‘rodc’

Need a lunchtime diversion? How about a history lesson…from the other side’s point of view?

Spymaster: My 32 Years in Intelligence and Espionage Against the West
Thursday, 30 July; 12 noon – 1 pm at the International Spy Museum
Cost: FREE!

He was the youngest general in the history of the KGB, and his intelligence career spanned the better part of the Cold War. As deputy chief of the KGB station at the Soviet embassy in Washington, DC, he oversaw Moscow’s spy network in the United States, and as head of KGB foreign counter-intelligence, he directed the KGB’s most valuable clandestine agents inside the United States. In his memoir, Spymaster, KGB Major General Oleg Kalugin (Ret.) provides an unparalleled look at the inner workings of Moscow’s famed spy agency. Join Kalugin to hear firsthand how he became disillusioned with the Soviet system, about his falling out with Russian president Vladimir Putin, and what he thinks of recent intelligence-related incidents with Moscow ties, including the death of Russian intelligence defector Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006.

And if you can’t make it during lunchtime, check out the two “spycasts” (podcasts) that Oleg did for the Museum a couple of years back.

Co-sponsored by The OSS Society.