Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Trick-or-Treat: Russian Sub Crew Casts Early Vote in U.S. Presidential Election

Sierra II nuclear-powered submarine (source: oosif.ru)
Bill Gertz, who isn't shy about his pro-Republican tendencies, decided to publish a news piece about a Russian nuclear-powered submarine operating near the U.S. east coast -- on the eve of the U.S. presidential election.  While the U.S. Navy's Chief of Naval Operations refuted Gertz's earlier claims of an Akula-class submarine operating in the Gulf of Mexico, no named military official has yet weighed in on the latest claim of a Sierra II-class nuclear-powered submarine operating along U.S. shores.

Had Gertz done just a little research, he could have found a Russian Navy intelligence collection ship (AGI) moored in Havana, Cuba, on September 23 -- possibly the same ship mentioned in his recent piece.  He could have found chatter suggesting a Russian Navy rescue tug recently visited Jacksonville, Florida -- not far from where Gertz claims the Russian submarine was operating.  And he could have cited official Russian military reporting that indicated a Russian Navy ship (or ships) had visited Jacksonville as early as October, thus providing some level of corroboration of the aforementioned chatter.  Perhaps Gertz did not notice that a Royal Navy SSBN recently launched a Trident II D5 ballistic missile from somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, not far from the United States, and very close to Kings Bay.  Wouldn't a British boomer be of some import to a prowling Russian submarine given that a British SSBN likely would be patrolling in waters closer to Russia than a U.S. SSBN?  These juicy tidbits could have added some real substance to his story, regardless of its veracity. But instead of doing any heavy lifting, he decided to cite anonymous sources and forgo any level of research, thus attesting to his true intent -- to generate a scandal in hopes of swaying voters. 

Washington Free Beacon looking for someone with spell-checking (and research) skills

Now that the article is growing legs, the details of the story are beginning to mutate.  Gertz's misspelling of Sierra as Seirra was replicated twice by the British tabloid Daily Mail, which also demonstrated its inability to copy-paste details from Gertz's article into its own story.  Instead of the Russian ship visiting Jacksonville, Daily Mail actually reported the U.S. granted the Russian submarine permission to enter Jacksonville during Hurricane Sandy.

Daily Mail looking for someone who can spell-check and translate from English into English
Let's see if the story gets its due respect and is buried under today's sunrise-to-sunset election coverage.  Perhaps a certain Republican ex-governor can look out her window and see if there are any other Russian submarines lurking near the United States.