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“What my findings demonstrate is that the Cold War at sea in 1968 erupted into overt hostilities that killed 99 American sailors and another 98 Russians, and could have easily sparked a superpower clash,” he said. “I have attempted to provide the surviving relatives of the Scorpion crew that full accounting that they have been denied for the past 39 years.” According to his book, “Scorpion Down: Sunk by the Soviets, Buried by the Pentagon: The Untold Story of the USS Scorpion,” the submarine did not blow itself up through an internal mishap or mechanical failure, as the official inquiry stated.

The evidence uncovered in the book revealed that the Scorpion was engaged in surveillance of a Soviet navy formation that included an Echo-II-class attack submarine. The Soviets had been alerted to the Scorpion’s spy mission through the case of Navy radioman John A. Walker Jr., who provided Moscow with secret communications codes that let them track the Scorpion.

Another key piece of evidence is underwater sound recordings from sound surveillance system (SOSUS) sensors heard by two sailors that depicted “an underwater dogfight” between the Scorpion and a Soviet submarine “that ended when the Soviet torpedoed the American sub,” Mr. Offley said.

“I interviewed both the student and his senior instructor on the record in detail, and both confirmed this incident; the tape had come from a fleet SOSUS unit and had apparently eluded a Navy-wide search and seizure of all Scorpion evidence by the Office of Naval Intelligence within days of the sinking on May 22,” he said.

Africa Command The U.S. military and other civilian government agencies are preparing to invest forces and people in Africa to deal with an array of issues ranging from fighting Islamic terrorism in the north to securing energy resources in the west to promoting stability and health issues throughout the continent, the commander of U.S. forces in Europe said.

Army Gen. John Craddock told reporters at a recent breakfast that the Africa Command will differ from other worldwide U.S. combatant commands in drawing on civilians from other government agencies, not just the U.S. military.

“What we are looking to do here is address the challenges of the African continent first,” he said. “If you look at that continent, there are very few challenges, problems, that can be solved by Department of Defense and the military. Sure, there are some that we can help. We can enable. But it’s other things. It’s Health and Human Services, and it’s Commerce, it’s probably Justice with the trafficking, [Drug Enforcement Agency] type stuff. It’s Energy, it’s Agriculture. So there’s a lot of equity here across the U.S. government’s agencies and departments.” About 25 percent of the new command will be civilians, a number that could increase to as much as 50 percent. The European Command currently has most of Africa as its area of responsibility.

From a terrorism standpoint, al Qaeda poses a main target for the military in Africa, with the terrorist group moving into Chad, Niger and Mali, the four-star general said. The North African Islamist group Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, known as GSPC, recently changed its name to al Qaeda Islamists in Magrab.

“They’re now a franchise,” Gen. Craddock said, noting that the group has stepped up attacks and kidnappings in North Africa.