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The Joy of Snooping

Posted on Aug 30, 2007
Top Secret Tourism

(Page 2)

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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By Phyllis L. Reed, September 28, 2007 at 6:15 pm Link to this comment
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For a truly worthwhile and eye-opening report on Plum Island, Lyme and other concerns, see Michael Carroll’s paperback, LAB 257!

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By lodipete, September 27, 2007 at 8:33 am Link to this comment

Gee, I’m disappointed that there’s no mention of my old hangouts,Dugway Proving Ground in Utah or Ft.Greely,Alaska. Oh well, I think Google has websites for both of them.

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By livia, September 13, 2007 at 8:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Very interesting interview. Thanks to truthdig’s Josh Scheer and James Harris for giving coverage to these sorts of books that are rarely covered in the mass media.

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By PatrickHenry, September 7, 2007 at 6:14 pm Link to this comment

The playgrounds of the military industrial complex.

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By marlowex, September 6, 2007 at 12:39 pm Link to this comment

anyone with half a brain can recognise that if we went into Afghanistan, and turned it into a garden (wherein the crops were not white poppies)and left Iraq alone, the entire Arab world would look upon us as friends, Sophrosine….I suggest you look up and take their test. If you do, and your answers lie in the lower left quadrant, you will know who to vote for. Actually, wherever your answers fall, you will at least see which politician thinks like you. I live in Florida, a red state, and yet 90% of the people who have taken the test here are in the lower left….It seems to me that the people are totally disconnected from our “leadership”

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By sophrosyne, September 5, 2007 at 4:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

With all of the secrecy, expense, likely waste, incompetence and fraud, does anyone really feel safer?  Since 9-11, I feel much less safe.  In addition, we have an incompetent President and Congress which defines “national security” so narrowly that it is rather pathetic.  America is slipping in virtually all of its indicators of well being including health and education.  Now that the treasury has been drained in a needless war of choice which has greatly helped Islamic extremists, we have little to look forward to no matter who is elected.

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By Jack Barron, September 5, 2007 at 10:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A book has been written about Plumb Island. The name of it is: Lab 257. it has a great deal of info in it. You can use a search engine and find the publisher and auther, who if memory serves me correctly was an attorny.

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By Wendy, September 5, 2007 at 6:42 am Link to this comment
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Michael Carroll published a fascinating history of Plum Island in 2004.

I recommend…

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By marlowex, September 4, 2007 at 12:15 pm Link to this comment

Yes, It was identified in europe in the thirties, but was being used experimentally on Plum Island, and based on an article that I read on the web, many years ago (when the web was in it’s infancy) by a scientist who had worked on Plum, and was very unhappy with the security there, I am fairly well convinced that it did escape. I have since been unable to find the article. My interest stemmed from the fact that I, too, contracted Lymes disease, but did not know for several years….

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By Dr. Richard Blackmoor, September 4, 2007 at 6:03 am Link to this comment
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Marlowex says Lyme disease could have come from plum Island.  Lyme was first recognized and written about in the 1930s so I don’t think so.  The destruction of habitat and predators which increased the deer population in the east plus the natural mutation process of bacteria has more to do with Lyme spreading.
  I have had it a few times…get tested if you walk in the woods a lot or find a red round rash. It is bad if left to its devices.

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By Johnny Doughey, September 2, 2007 at 8:36 pm Link to this comment

It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall when and if the UN decides to check the origin of the recent chemical finds ib New York.  I’ve heard there are tracers in those chemicals and I have little doubt that before they were found in Iraq in 1996, their origination was somewhere in the USA.  Remember, we were supplying Hussein with weapons against Iran before this time….

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By marlowex, September 1, 2007 at 2:27 pm Link to this comment

Plum Island could use a closer look…..It seems very likely that Lyme disease escaped from Plum Island…Lyme Connecticut is apparently the closest town to the Plum Island Ferry. Lyme disease is so named because it was first identified in that area.

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By rowdy, August 31, 2007 at 11:07 am Link to this comment

i can’t wait to read this book. it would be a good companion book to go along with,“imaginary weapons” by sharon weinberger. this book details how our taxes are pissed away on absurd and idiotic research.

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By Jeb Brooks, August 31, 2007 at 9:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you for a very interesting interview.
The missing $4 billion dollars from the National Reconnaissance Office budget brings to mind the
$12 or $14 billion dollars in cash that went missing
in the Iraq debacle. It seems obvious that someone
knows where it went.
  I speculate that it was a convenient way for
some group in our own Government to get a huge pay
day so they can operate a black program without
the accountability.  Think what a group could do with that much cash, and no one looking over their shoulder. Shouldn’t someone be looking into this?
They could start by asking the last person that saw
those stacks of $100 dollar bills.
  If you remember Ollie North illegally selling
war hardware to Iraq and Iran then using the profits to fund the Contras.

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