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The Joy of Snooping
Posted on Aug 30, 2007
Scheer: Do you think any of these claims that you have outed some of the secrets, the most private secrets, of America ... do you think they have any credence?
Helms: Absolutely not. The Russian and Chinese satellites, they know what’s going on. I would not be surprised, if for example, that in places in Russia and China they know more about what’s going on in these sites than members of the Congress or even in the president’s office. I haven’t exposed anything that’s a secret to our enemies, either real or imagined. But sometimes the operators of these sites, the executives, if you will, of the top-secret governments, act as if the real enemy is in the American people. And I want to put a stop to that.
Harris: Did you ever run into any guards who wanted to accost you, or arrest you? Tell me about the most dangerous event you had while writing this book.
Helms: Well, that was easy. It was actually one where I didn’t even run into a security guard. Back in 1999 I was driving near the Nevada Test Site, and I noticed an open gate and a gravel road leading out in the distance. And I turned off onto that gate, down the road, and drove about a mile inside the Nevada Test Site before I soon realized where I was. It turns out the gate had been inadvertently left open, and I found myself subject to arrest and imprisonment. And you mention Area 51, and this is the case with most of these sites. You drive up to this boundary, which is marked by numerous signs. Some of them say “No Photography Allowed,” and of course I always take a photograph of that sign. You also see signs that say “Use of Deadly Force Authorized,” and that’s not a joke. You see security cameras. In the distance, parked on the hillside, you’re in a place where they can see you. There are security guards in a jeep or pickup truck. You look at them through your binoculars and you find out they’re looking at you through binoculars. Sometimes you wave at them; they wave back. The real surreal thing is to find yourself right up against this border; take one foot over, you could be subject to arrest and imprisonment, and yet this area supposedly does not exist at all. Does not even exist. That’s the crazy thing.
Scheer: It seems like—. Are you recommending this for me? So, say, I want to go to Plum Island or the Nevada Test Site; we should handle this with care, right?
Helms: As I said in the book, visiting these sites is like visiting an art museum. You can look all you want, but you can’t touch. You can go up to the border, you can drive by the border, you can sit and look over the border, but don’t put a foot over. These are very highly guarded sites. You will be nailed, and chances are you will be fined and perhaps subject to imprisonment.
Scheer: Well, not just imprisonment, but what you were saying just a second ago about ... deadly force [being] authorized; I’d be kind of nervous about getting shot.
Helms: There are things you have to realize is when you step over the border in some of these areas, it’s almost like you’ve entered a foreign country. Local police cannot enter these sites. The local civil law enforcement authorities have no power or authorization whatsoever on these sites. It’s really almost akin to the fact that since the end of World War II, large sections of the U.S., particularly in the West, have been controlled by this occupying power. What I call the top-secret government, the one that directs these classified activities. The normal rules and regulations, etc., the rest of us have to live by, those are totally gone.
Scheer: ... Were there other sites like that [the open gate at the Nevada test site] ...?
Helms: Security on most of these places have been greatly increased since the 9/11 attacks. My inadvertent entry into the Nevada test grounds took place in 1999. I doubt that could be repeated. However, there are several sites that are remarkably open. Particularly those sites in Colorado and Nevada of former nuclear tests. These sites are on public land, they are unguarded, and it would be a very easy matter for someone interested in collecting radiological material for use in a dirty bomb to go there and take several handfuls of the dirt or gas, and use it for some nefarious purposes. So there are some alarming security lapses at some of these sites.
Scheer: Are you considering a follow-up to this book? Were there any places that you didn’t go, that you couldn’t see, or places where you want to follow up that you visited in 1999 and you want to visit in 2007?
Helms: I can see a follow-up if I could confirm the location of some additional sites. There were some places that I’ve heard rumors about, there have been particularly some new construction sites in the Washington area since 9/11 up in the mountains of Virginia, Pennsylvania and West Virginia that I’d like to confirm. But I left out any site or any location that I could not definitely confirm existed and hopefully visit. So there’s still plenty of places out there that are rumors, but, if I can peg them down perhaps we could have a second volume to this book.
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