For years, the incredible discovery of the Titanic’s wreckage at the bottom of the ocean in 1985 was thought to have been a purely scientific effort.
But that was a ruse.
Speaking to CNN on Thursday about now-declassified events, Robert Ballard, who discovered the Titanic, said that the expedition was part of a secret US military mission to recover two sunken nuclear submarines on the bottom of the ocean. …
“We knew where the subs were,” Ballard said. “What they wanted me to do was go back and not have the Russians follow me, because we were interested in the nuclear weapons that were on the Scorpion and also what the nuclear reactors (were) doing to the environment.”
This is the mirror image of Howard Hughes’ Glomar Explorer, which was launched under the cover story of searching for manganese nodules on the seafloor.
This marine geology cover story became surprisingly influential, causing many others to examine the idea.
I can remember mining nodules off the ocean floor coming up in high school debate in 1975. I haven’t heard about it since.
But the Glomar was really paid for by the CIA to haul up the lost Soviet sub K-129 from 16,000 feet down.
In general, the Cold War was extremely well funded.
A 1985 New York Times article speculated that the Navy might next use Ballard’s techniques to search for the missing Thresher and Scorpion, as well as K-129, and the hydrogen bomb the Air Force lost in the Atlantic near Spain in 1966 (although Wikipedia says the Navy found it after a few months of searching).
One theory against conspiracy theories is that it’s impossible to keep big project secrets. For example, the L.A. Times broke the story of the Glomar Explorer in 1975, the year after it hauled up part of the Soviet sub.
But then with this new revelation about the Titanic conspiracy, it turns out it’s not even a new revelation: Ballard revealed it at least as early as 2008. But most people (like me) didn’t hear about it then or had forgotten about it.