Patterico's Pontifications


Strange National Security Stories

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 1:58 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Item No. 1. Private Pentagon files on Generals surface in Alvin Texas foreclosed home:

Did a former Pentagon employee take a file cabinet filled with sensitive information about America’s top Army generals — including former Secretary of State Colin Powell — and then leave them behind in an Alvin house sold in a sheriff’s sale? That’s what police and the Department of Defense would like to know.

Members of an Alvin family looking for salvageable materials a few days ago hauled the file cabinet holding the records home from a small house on Lee Street that is being renovated. “The contractor told us to take whatever we wanted,” said Alfredo Moreno III. His uncle, Martin Ortiz, later looked through the cabinet and got a shock when he opened one of the drawers. “I thought, what is this doing here?” he said. “I knew this was important.”

“Here we are in little old Alvin [population 21,000],” Police Chief Mike Merkel said Friday, “and I have a folder in my hand that contains Colin Powell’s Social Security number.”

Item No. 2. Drug dealer’s plane previously flew to GTMO:

The four tons of cocaine found aboard a U.S.-registered business jet that crashed in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula on Monday belonged to Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, this country’s most notorious drug trafficker, Mexican authorities said Friday.

The business jet that was transporting the dope to Mexico from Colombia was purchased just a week before the crash by a U.S. pilot with a history of legal and financial problems in Florida, interviews and official records indicate, but whether the pilot still owned the plane at the time of its crash is unknown.
Getting to the bottom of the plane’s ownership and circuitous trajectory are key pieces of a criminal investigation that Mexican authorities are conducting with the aid of American diplomats and law enforcement, including the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, officials said.
Adding to the plane’s mystery are allegations that it made trips in 2003, 2004 and 2005 between the United States and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the U.S. detention center for suspected terrorists is located.

Item No. 3. Woman with powder causes lockdown of Tennessee hospital and post offices:

Two post offices and part of a hospital were temporarily shut down Wednesday after a woman opened a piece of mail and found a white powdery substance inside. Hours later, authorities announced that the substance posed no threat whatsoever.

“A woman went to the Hampton post office (Wednesday). She opened a letter, and it had a white powder inside,” said Ed Herbert, spokesman for Mountain States Health Alliance. “She went home and showered and changed clothes. Hours later, she came here (to Sycamore Shoals Hospital) with no symptoms.”
According to officials, the substance appeared to be some kind of powder that often is found in bulk mailings. Authorities commended the woman for bringing the substance to the attention of authorities but offered others who might find themselves in a similar situation a few important recommendations.

“The main thing is to call the local authorities. Contain it, don’t try to mess with it,” Mathes said. “Don’t snowball the issue. Let us come (to you) and do our job right there.”

Item No. 4. Vote for Bill Richardson and you may learn the secrets behind the 1947 Roswell flying disk:

If he wins his bid for the White House, Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson may be just the man to get to the bottom of the 60-year-old Roswell UFO mystery.

Answering questions at a townhall meeting Friday [in Round Rock TX], a Dell employee asked Richardson about the 1947 incident in which many people still believe a flying saucer landed near the eastern New Mexico town. “I’ve been in government a long time, I’ve been in the cabinet, I’ve been in the Congress and I’ve always felt that the government doesn’t tell the truth as much as it should on a lot of issues,” said Richardson, who is governor of New Mexico.

“When I was in Congress I said (to the) Department of Defense … ‘What is the data? What is the data you have?” He was told that the records were classified. “That ticked me off,” he said, as the crowd laughed. “What do you want me to do? You want me to open up all those files?” he asked the alien enthusiast, who answered that he did. “I’ll work with you on that.”

(H/T Instapundit)

Item No. 5. In yet another alien-inspired story, NASA has agreed to release files regarding a Pennsylvania incident from 1965:

NASA has agreed to search its archives once again for documents on a 1965 UFO incident in Pennsylvania, a step the space agency fought in federal court. The government has refused to open its files about what, if anything, moved across the sky and crashed in the woods near Kecksburg, Pa., 40 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. Traffic was tied up in the area as curiosity seekers drove to the area, only to be kept away from the crash site by soldiers.

The Air Force’s explanation for the unidentified flying object: a meteor or meteors. “They could not find anything,” one Air Force memo stated after a late-night search on Dec. 9, 1965. Several NASA employees also were reported to have been at the scene.

Eyewitnesses said a flatbed truck drove away a large object shaped like an acorn and about the size of a Volkswagen bus. A mock-up based on the descriptions of local residents sits behind the Kecksburg Volunteer Fire Department.”

Item No. 6. Finally, some oldies but goodies from 2002. First, this special Osama-targeting device:

“Scotland’s Daily Record, for example, reported in December that U.S. Special Forces units searching for Osama bin Laden “may use a special smell detector to track him down.” The paper quoted a “Pentagon expert” who explained that the Remote-Sensing Gas Detection Device is so sensitive “it can distinguish between the smells of each ethnic group caused by the different foods they eat.

And this novel use of shrimp to detect water-borne poisons:

“Whether shrimp are evocative remains debatable, but the little crustaceans have been called in “to fight terrorism in Yokohama,” according to the Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun. City officials plan to place 40 freshwater shrimp and 20 killifish in each filtration tank at the city’s water plant to detect possible tampering. “If the fish and shrimp come into contact with poison and fall weak or die, the equipment will pick up the change in electrical current and set off an alarm,” the newspaper reports.”

I’m not suggesting any of these stories are reasons to be concerned but, let’s face it, sometimes national security (like life) is strange. And I didn’t even get to Sandy Berger.


15 Responses to “Strange National Security Stories”

  1. Strange things indeed!
    (1) A similar incident happened when the AF had a major reorganization several years ago. A safe containing highly classified material was discovered at a landfill. Fortunately it was reported and not opened.
    (2)In the early 80’s the SR71 was the fastest known jet in the AF inventory. I was talking with a maintenance guy who was assigned to the jet. He related some story about how the pilots were on a training mission in the western US when someone came across their secure radio and told them not to worry “we are friendly” and left the SR71 “sitting in the dust” in terms of speed. I thought it was just bunk – the stuff of GI stories wildly exagerrated. Four years later the US admitted that a project code named Aurora involved the testing of a hypersonic jet (actually goes into orbit) that could make the trip from NY to Tokyo in less than 3 hours.
    (3) On a humorous note about the post office I was in Japan when the local base post office was evacuated as well as a ten block area around it. It turned out the “possible bomb” was a “personal massage device” that had switched on and the noise alerted postal personnel!

    voiceofreason (5a208d)

  2. I know national security is serious business and I don’t mean to make light of it, but we’re human and we goof up. Most of the time it’s pretty funny like your Japanese story.

    I’ve read about the Aurora. It’s pretty cool. I wish its proponents had prevailed over the shuttle advocates.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  3. The Aurora program did sound pretty neat. I have no idea whether they are still pursuing it or not. You may have seen this before, but the SR71 was originally designed to be a fighter jet but was so fast it outran its ordinance.
    A few years ago there were some video/audio highlights of some kind of really strange sound in either LA or San Fran. I’d love to know what was being experimented with but I’ll probably be an old man before that is publicly released.

    voiceofreason (5a208d)

  4. VOR,

    I like to read Air Force articles. As an AF or former AF person, I’m sure you do, too.

    DRJ (5c60fb)

  5. Four years later the US admitted that a project code named Aurora involved the testing of a hypersonic jet (actually goes into orbit) that could make the trip from NY to Tokyo in less than 3 hours.

    I have always wondered how many of those super-weapons, like Aurora, Star Wars and the neutron bomb, were disinformation to make the Soviets waste their resources chasing dead end. God bless Ronald Reagan — he knew how to yank a Commie’s chain.

    nk (7aed24)

  6. Why, everyone knows what happened at Roswell.

    Quark arrived.

    Foxfier (97deae)

  7. For those who like the SR-71 there was another version of it that was specifically built for the CIA and the programs were mixed in together as the follow up to the U-2 program.

    For your enjoyment here is a link to the starting page you should read all the branches off of since it presents a lot of things you may not have seen before.

    LINKThe CIA look at the SR-71 variants and how they were used

    daytrader (ea6549)

  8. For all you Aurora fans it was only a test model of a baby step of a different propulsion system called the scram jet.

    Simply put we don’t do baby steps in black box projects to get the funding you have to present something that is a clear step above. Simple playground pushing the marble baby steps can be done under public funding without all the hassle.

    daytrader (ea6549)

  9. I can remember the SR-71 having clearance to go before it even approached the runway because when it lined up to take off it was leaking so much jet fuel ( a special kind modified just for them) that when it took off the first thing it did was refuel because it had lost 3/4 of it fuel load just getting into the air.

    The fuel system didn’t function until it hit the high numbers on speed and altitude because the joints were designed to leak to prevent excess pressure locking them up and bursting the pipes from the dynamic pressures of the shear thermal expansion as the bird progressed through it’s flight profile.

    It was so bad that ever fourth or fifth flight out of the big K they had to repave the end of the runway where they sat and squat before the launch (it wasn’t fair to call it a takeoff) because the amount of jet fuel dumping on the ground turned it into a gel of a mess.

    daytrader (ea6549)

  10. All have to know that the bird was only the vehicle, what really counted was the sensor package. Put it into a slow and go or a fast and I go past is not the issue.

    Sure fast birds are nice and they have the testosterone quotient thing going for them, but the main idea is to get the job done.

    That in the end is the tale of the tape.

    daytrader (ea6549)

  11. For all the flights flown in training and all the workups as to how it should be employed, the politics of the time and the actual mission profiles that were flown show it was not used to the full extent it ever should have been exploited for.

    Just like some of the questions arise about the ROE today you have to wonder just how we do things we need to do when we tie ourselves into a knot trying to figure out how we want to do anything at all.

    And yet the left of center cries out how the evil Bush is listening to their phone calls with their pimp or other significant others and cries foul.

    daytrader (ea6549)

  12. My understanding is the SR-71 Blackbird was the successor to the U-2, they did try it out in a fighter/interceptor (YF-12A) version, developing the Phoenix missile for it. The idea was abandoned because they couldn’t get the to go missile faster than the Blackbird.

    The project formerly known as Aurora is speculated to the the Blackbird’s successor.

    LarryD (feb78b)

  13. It was so bad that ever fourth or fifth flight out of the big K they had to repave the end of the runway where they sat and squat before the launch (it wasn’t fair to call it a takeoff)

    I know what you mean, I got to see a film of a SR-71 launch back when I was Air Force, they basically rotated about 90 degrees and went straight up thereafter. I’ve also seen photos of the Blackbird refueling, the Blackbird is just barely above stall speed and the KC-135 is firewalled.

    LarryD (feb78b)

  14. The CIA version (YF-12) sits on display at Langley right now.

    daytrader (ea6549)

  15. The CIA versions were named in an “A” series, like “A12″ and were predecessors to and replaced by the SR 71. The SR 71 was based on the A12 but not identical being longer and heavier. The “YF-12″ was an Air Force designation for planes built as A12’s but used by the Air Force as prototypes for a high mach fighter after conversion to dual seaters.

    With 7 of 18 A12/YF12A’s and 12 of 32 SR 71’s lost in various accidents, it was a dangerous machine to fly.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

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