Need to Know – 165

Written by: Philip DeGuere; Watch Now: – Sorry, not available on Amazon

[Captivating JAG episode about the submarine USS Angel Shark going down with 129 men aboard during a “compartmentalized mission (black-ops)” in 1968.]

Congresswoman “Lillian,” who was the daughter of the former Angel Shark’s captain, told the new SECNAV, Edward, that “she wasn’t asking for favors.” She had helped him become “what he wanted” and now she “expected” him to help her get the classification about and incident on her fathers ship lifted in order to provide “closure” for the families. So he authorized the JAG, Chegwidden (C), to hold a second board of inquiry into the incident (the published results of the first one being a lie.) Chegwidden assigned not only Harm (H) and Mac (M) to be court council, but also Turner (T), because of his extensive submarine experience. Norman Watts, the CIAs Director of Central Intelligence (DCI), got in a power struggle with the SECNAV and assigned Catherine Gale, touted to be “really tough,” to represent the CIA against JAG.

As the CIA was the Original Classifying Agent (OCA), Watts had the upper hand and kept blocking inquiry at every angle by claiming that the new hearings were only “level ONE” security cleared and the operations were “level TWO” so no one could reveal anything. Harm discovered that even Gale didn’t know why the ops were classified, so asked her: “if you are BLINDLY doing her job, how do you know you are doing the right thing.” She told him because “I’m doing my job right and that makes it the right thing.” Harm talked to Webb (W), thinking they had at least a working relationship after the Kabir capture, and was told that Watts had given him a direct order to “keep out of it” and “not even see” H. Gayle dogged H, M & Ts every move with secrecy level rhetoric trying to intimidate their witnesses into silence. Gale even dogged W for information about how to “rattle” H, M & T. He told her that with H “what you see is what you get, he never quits” and that if H had to leave him alone she had to leave him alone as well.

Bud (B), who was recuperating in Harriet’s (Ht) two story home, found a cross reference on the internet that a CIA agent had “committed suicide” two days after the Angel Shark went down. Surmising that the agent had been a “double agent,” T gave his opinion that the Russians “may have had a Victor-class Hunter-killer sub waiting for them.” He also knew that if it had been a “cable tapping” mission they would have been in the Sea of Okhotsk – not where the CIA had lied about. The COMSUBPAC admiral, didn’t even know the mission, except that the president had approved it! The then CNO admiral did know and did want it released, but couldn’t say anything – except he let it slip that they did search for, and found, the ship due to its having released a radio buoy before it went down. Harm was masterfully unruffled in the hearing and with every avenue closed by Gale finally called Director Watts. It became much more clear that it really was a “pissing contest” between Watts and SECNAV so H asked for a court order that they produce documents. Watts immediately went out and classified even the recovery as “level TWO” in order to block Hs inquiry; but, was forced to admit that it wasn’t the level of clearance but the “need to know” which determined who could see information. So then H forced him to admit further that with those rules “he could even keep secrets from the president!”

Webb met H at the “wall of stars” in the CIA building which represented those CIA agents who had “died anonymously.” He said that he had been told by Watts to prevent H from “going to the press.” Harm had effectively shamed him because W sneaked H a CIA video tape of the recovered bodies and their burial at sea, which had been recorded. Harm surprised Gale with the tape which showed Watts himself to have supervised recovery! That conflict of interest was enough to get Gale to say she’d “talk to Watts about it.” Harm suggested a comprimise which would allow Watts to save face. He could “keep some of it secret, as long as they were able to tell the surviving families, and show them the tape” – which was done. The tape revealed that the sub had collided with a Russian sub which had been tipped off by a CIA double agent. Immobilized and waiting for rescue they sent up the buoy and radioed but their pressure hull collapsed before they could be rescued. The CIA found the ship, secured the wiretapping devices, recovered bodies and videotaped the burial at sea.

Coates Emailed B that Singer (S) had been “sick” continuously since coming on the ship but wouldn’t go to the doctor. Bud struggled with rehab but was eventually able to climb the stairs, in the house that Harriet went behind his back to have her daddy buy for them, to the upstairs bedroom where he then had to deal with Harriet’s (Ht) aversion to intimacy by saying “I’m not a freak. I just lost a bit of weight, finally.” Watts was really pissed at W and reassigned him to Paramaribo, Surinan as deputy chief of station. He told H “it could have been worse, it could have been Canada” [DJE’s (Harm) country of origin] Watching the videotape together, Webb told Harm “it’s better than stars on a wall.”

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