Newly declassified: How Hoover’s FBI planned for a Soviet invasion of Alaska

At the same time as all the talk this week of how the U.S. should have a plan for dealing with the Islamic State, new documents have been released that show how the nation’s leadership planned for conflicts with our previous enemies.

In 1950, the government, and more specifically J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI, planned for the possible invasion and occupation of the Alaskan Territory by the Soviet Union, according to a report published Sunday by Fox News.

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The Associated Press obtained hundreds of pages of once-classified documents, according to Fox, that detailed “Project Washtub”, a plan to leave behind Alaskan pilots, fishermen, trappers and other American citizens who would spy on Russian invaders and feed intelligence to the military.

The plan was to have regular citizens ready to hide from the invaders and find their way to secret supply caches loaded with survival gear, food, radios and message coding material, according to the report.

The plan was twofold: citizen “agents” would provide intelligence, while another group of operatives were trained to secretly help evacuate downed air crews, Fox reported.

Recruiters offered retainer fees of up to $3,000 a year, which was to be doubled “after an invasion has commenced,” the documents showed.

Training didn’t always go very well, the documents showed. Agents not only got training in escape, evasion and survival, they were trained in coding and decoding messages as well. It was “an almost impossible task for backwoodsmen to master in 15 hours of training,” one document said.

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The Soviets never invaded and the plan was never used, but the world was a very scary place at the time. In 1949 Mao Zedong took over the government of China, the Soviets detonated their version of an atomic bomb and in 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea.

The world is still a scary place. Having a strategy to plan for it is what governments are supposed to do.



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