The Glomar Explorer: what we can confirm and deny about “vast government conspiracies” from Project Azorian. 

The following is the transcript of a talk I gave at DC Nerd Nite on September 16, 2023. Enjoy!

Slide featuring the Glomar Explorer.

I need to begin with a disclaimer: It is impossible to talk about Project Azorian and the Glomar Explorer without sounding like you’ve gone deep into Dale Gribble territory. Azorian has everything a conspiracy theorist could ever want: Cold War espionage, a government coverup, a shady partnership with a celebrity entrepreneur, military contractors with their own plots for profiteering, and, in the middle of it all, there is a very big boat.

You’re going to get some cameos from Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon, as well as the guy who stole J. Edgar Hoover’s underwear.

Azorian was the OG Vast Government Conspiracy.

Slide showing a page from the Azorian report.

Even if you’ve never heard of the Glomar Explorer, these story beats are going to feel very familiar to you. There’s a good reason for that.  Project Azorian was, and likely still is, the largest and most expensive covert operation in US history, but in its declassification, it also became the model for a generation of paranoid storytellers, from the X-files to Alex Jones. 

Because of that, we can learn a little bit about how conspiracy theories work by looking at the foundation upon which many of them were built.

I have a link for you:  https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/docs/DOC_0005301269.pdf

It’s the declassified report from the CIA describing the broad strokes of the operation (you can also find it by just searching for project azorian pdf). It is heavily redacted, but this was cleared for release in 2010 and you are allowed to read it and share it and store this document in your bathroom until your valet accidentally drains your pool into it.

It is entirely possible that there are parts of this mission that remain completely classified, and that some of the narrative has been changed to hide other objectives, so the only assurance I can give you tonight is that everything about this story that is true, is true.

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