Answers Submarine Questions of the Month
BackgroundRelated information, photo(s) and links for questions are found in the original posting.
Submarine Questions of the Month with ANSWERS1 - Did Clancy's "The Hunt for Red October" disclose some, previously classified submarine information provided by the U.S. Navy? ANS: Apparently, YES, according to Captain John L. Byron, USN (Ret.):
“There are multiple instances of the script going from UNCLASSIFIED to TOP-SECRET/CODE-WORD inside the same paragraph.” I didn’t think the Naval Institute wanted to participate in what could have been a huge security breach and I surely didn’t want this lowly Navy commander to be part of that. So my letter back to the Institute stated plainly: “I recommend the Naval Institute not publish this book.”2 - Identify the insider who has recently told his story of how the information was actually provided to author Clancy. ANS: Captain John L. Byron, USN (Ret.); Captain Byron is a frequent contributor to Proceedings. A former detailer, qualified in submarines and surface warfare, he retired in 1993 after 37 years of active duty. CAPT Byron has been a frequent contributor to Proceedings, the flagship magazine of the U.S. Naval Institute.
3 - According to the O-6 [CAPT Byron], who probably provided some submarine intel to Tom Clancy? ANS: [nuclear reactor] operators (nearly all former submariners) at Maryland's Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, ten miles from Clancy's insurance agency office. Clancy sold them insurance, hung out and shot pool at their watering hole. They drank beer and swapped sea stories.
4 - Could the Navy have delayed indefinitely the publication of Clancy's book and prosecuted the guilty had it wished? ANS: With a court injunction, yes.
5 - Give 3 probable motivations for the Navy not to go to court. ANS:
a) - [CAPT Byron understood] and said to Tom [Clancy]: “And anyone sitting on the bar stool on the other side of one of your ex-submariner buddies would hear the same tales … even if he was a Soviet agent." In other words, some of the Cold War’s deepest secrets could have been open sourced.
Note: Information with which national security agencies work is classified. Open source information is essentially all information which is not classified; it is all publicly available information regardless of the form it takes - electronic and print media, social networking sites, radio, television, databases and journals. It is anything you can read, hear or view - ranging from information carried on the latest technology through to pamphlets or flyers handed out in the street.b) - Heresay alone would be insufficient evidence for prosecution of "some old boat sailors who may have given away the Cold War’s deepest secrets just sitting around drinking beer and swapping sea stories in front of a nice guy they’d met." Obtaining retroactive evidence from bar patrons would be highl problematic.
c) - It seems very doubtful that Tom Clancy would testify or could even remember which operator had told which sea story. Although Clancy no doubt kept author's notes, more than likely publication of his The Hunt for Red October had been promoted and approved at a very high level to benefit recruiting of additional submarine reactor operators for which critical needs had to be met.
Submarines are always silent and strange.