Tuesday, August 5, 2008

History Channel - Nuclear Sharks Scorpion Mystery

Another submarine themed show from the history channel. This account mainly focuses on the USS Scorpion, lost at sea by either accident or incident. For 30 yrs, the United States has guarded the story of the USS Scorpion in the interest of national security. This is the first television account of the Scorpion’s career, life, and her death.

During the middle years of the Cold War, espionage and intelligence are as important as technology and strategy. Deterrence theory depends on each side matching the other weapon-for-weapon. Knowledge of the enemy’s strengths and weaknesses is critical. Not until 1996 would the public be informed of the role American and Soviet submarines played in the Cold War game of espionage. American submarines alone carry-out over a thousand missions in Soviet waters, sometimes going within a few miles of shore, photographing and filming military installations though their periscopes. It has only recently been disclosed that the Scorpion was coming home from one of these secret, dangerous missions prior to her destruction. Soviet espionage in US waters is equally aggressive: it is terrifying to imagine that stealthy, lethal submarines lurk off North America throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s, their missiles targeted on our cities. These missions mark a new stage in the Cold War: the battle for intelligence. And nothing is more important than breaking the enemy’s cryptographic codes. The principle of cryptography is ancient, but during the Cold War it is at its most sophisticated. At its most basic, messages are encrypted by substituting one letter for another; a code machine mechanically de-scrambles the encrypted message. For both Americans and Soviets, breaking the enemy’s code becomes the Holy Grail of the Cold War, each side scheming to obtain the other’s code books and code machines


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