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The Joy of Snooping

Posted on Aug 30, 2007
Top Secret Tourism

(Page 3)

Scheer: And maybe the third volume could be about secret sites around the world?

Helms: That would be interesting as well, as I’ve told some other people.  I think that could be better done by people who are more local to the sites and could know the lay of the land better than I can.

Scheer: Did you ever check out the NSA building in Maryland ...?  ... I’m always interested, but I don’t dare park or try to go in.  Did you ever try to go into the NSA and take a picture?

Helms: I never tried to go into it, and if you park near it, pretty soon you will find some security guards by there wanting to know what you’re up to—and if you’re having car trouble.  And if not, maybe you want to move along.  That’s been my most frequent encounter in these places—have not been an actual threat or guns pointed at me, but simply, “Are you having difficulty with your car, sir?  And if not, why don’t you move along.”  That’s been the sort of encouragement you get.  Now the interesting thing about the NSA building is, you remember a few years ago, a certain toy called a Furby.  It looked like an owl and it had a speech chip in there that could memorize things it heard and repeat them back.  The NSA banned the Furby from the building because they worried it might overhear and repeat classified conversations. 


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Scheer: Makes sense. ...  It seems like you’re talking about 10-12 years that you’ve been studying this stuff, following this stuff.  How hard was it to write this?

Helms: It was actually easy to write—once I got a critical mass to research it started taking a coherent form.  The thing is when I thought I had it finished I would come across one other site that I had to investigate.  So eventually last year I got to the point I was discussing with my publisher and we said, I think we finally got a book here that we can go to press with.  Otherwise I will be writing this thing ad infinitum because there’s always something more to find out.

Scheer: Definitely.  Do you think that, with the exposing of the secrecies, are you going to go and continue doing that?  Are you going to look in at how much we are spending and look at ... failed experiments that are costing the taxpayers lots of money?  Do you think you’re going to continue working on that, and try to find out more not just about the top-secret tourism but about how much more we’re spending secretly?

Helms: That’s a really difficult task, because so much of this spending is headed in all-purposed category, miscellaneous, and you’d be surprised at how many government agencies like FEMA and the Department of the Air Force, miscellaneous is the largest single budget item.  It’s also hidden under code names; tracking this flow of funds is very, very difficult; in fact in my book when the Budget Office, the National Reconnaissance Office, finally came out of the cold and people knew that there was such a thing, it turns out there was billions of dollars missing from these [inaudible] budget.  It wasn’t so much that the budget had been redirected, because it was over $4 billion inside [inaudible] National Reconnaissance Office budget. Well, it turns out the General Accounting Office says that money was not stolen or anything else.  Instead, it actually had been redirected to even more covert, more classified activities.  So trying to unravel the budget, I doubt if there’s really any single one person when you could put together the entire budget that we’re spending on classified and covert activities.  Simply because it’s so fragmented, so compartmentalized, and so hidden under various headings and code names, that I don’t think anyone could put that together.  It’d be quite a useful project if possible, but I don’t think I’m up to that task right now.

Scheer: I’m glad for the honesty, though, and I think you should spearhead the project.

Harris: Oh yeah, and I was going to say, I think if anybody is capable it’s you, Harry. And it’s certainly refreshing.  Amid all the talk about war and all the negative talk, it’s good to see someone out there doing good old-fashioned Sherlock Holmes work.

Helms: Thank you very much. And like I said, it’s a book that I really want people to take a look at what’s being done in your name, and take ownership of the government. The government is yours, not theirs.

Harris: Be sure to pick up a copy of “Top Secret Tourism: Your Travel Guide to Germ Warfare Laboratories, Clandestine Aircraft Bases, and Other Places in the United States You’re Not Supposed to Know About.”  For Josh Scheer, for Harry Helms, this is James Harris and this has been Truthdig.

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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
(Unregistered commenter)

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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