M. Todd BennettJun 20, 2023
Neither Confirm Nor Deny
How the Glomar Mission Shielded the CIA from Transparency
Columbia University Press 2022
When the Soviet K-129 submarine sank in the Pacific Ocean in 1968, the CIA saw a possible treasure trove of intelligence information on Soviet military codes. The race was on to devise how exactly to retrieve this potential information from the bottom of the ocean. After years of careful planning, the result was one of the most audacious espionage missions of the Cold War. The wreck of the K-129 would be recovered intact under the cover of a deep-sea mining operation, funded by business tycoon Howard Hughes. Unfortunately for the CIA, the winds of public opinion about its secret operations were changing in wake of the Watergate scandals that helped expose the operation to a wider audience. Out of the attempt to maintain secrecy that the so-called "Glomar response" of "neither confirm nor deny" was used for the first time in a legal setting.
This story and its Cold War context is the subject of M. Todd Bennett's Neither Confirm Nor Deny: How the Glomar Mission Shielded the CIA from Transparency (Columbia University Press, 2023).
M. Todd Bennett is associate professor of history at East Carolina University. He is the author of One World, Big Screen: Hollywood, the Allies, and World War II (2012). Bennett was formerly a historian at the U.S. Department of State; there, he edited the Foreign Relations of the United States volume that includes declassified records documenting the Glomar incident.
Stephen Satkiewicz is an independent scholar whose research areas are related to Civilizational Analysis, Social Complexity, Big History, Historical Sociology, military history, War studies, International Relations, Geopolitics, as well as Russian and East European history.