Neither Confirm nor Deny: How the Glomar Mission Shielded the CIA from Transparency

Columbia Univ. Jan. 2023. 360p. ISBN 9780231193474. pap. $30. HIST
Bennett (One World, Big Screen), a former State Department historian, delves deep into Project Azorian, the CIA’s high-stakes mission to raise a Soviet nuclear submarine that sank in the Pacific Ocean in 1968. Using declassified documents, Bennett takes readers through the project’s development process, one that was aided by loose Congressional oversight and the agency’s sense of boundless confidence in its ingenuity. The author illustrates how questions about the intelligence value of the sunken sub and the ballooning cost of the project were insufficient to halt the development of the Glomar Explorer, the massive capture ship that the CIA hid in plain sight as a deep-sea mining vessel. As Bennett describes the CIA’s partnership with Howard Hughes, whose company acted as a front for the project, the narrative begins to read like a fictional thriller, abounding with twists and turns that connect Project Azorian not only to Hughes’s murky business dealings but to rogue CIA operations in Cuba and the Watergate investigation. In the process, Bennett explores timely questions about the balance between secrecy and transparency and the role of the press in both.
VERDICT Comprehensive research makes this book as engaging as any espionage novel. An essential read.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing