CIA Releases New 'Noah's Ark' Documents
Search for vessel reached level of White House in early '90s
Posted: November 14, 2002
By Timothy W. Maier
The CIA has released two new documents that indicate the search for ''Noah's Ark'' reached the level of the White House, according to a report in Insight Magazine.
The release of the documents comes two years after Insight published an exclusive story on the search for the biblical Noah's Ark.
The magazine teamed with Space Imaging to use its IKONOS satellite to zoom in on an anomaly in Turkey located at 39 degrees 42 minutes north latitude and 44 degrees 16 minutes east longitude.
The result was the public's first glimpse of high-resolution photographs of what some say is Noah's Ark.
Insight then hired a team of scientists and engineers to examine the photos of Mount Ararat to determine whether the object in question was man-made or rock. Four of the experts claim it's man-made, two believe it's rock and one says the evidence is inconclusive.
The documents recently released by the CIA don't shed any more light on the mystery but do indicate somewhat the extent to which the U.S. government was involved in the search.
One of those documents is a 1995 memo from an agent who had a conversation with John Hanford, who was then a member of Sen. Richard Lugar's, R-Ind., staff. Hanford spoke of a White House meeting under the George H.W. Bush administration in which Robert Gates, then national security director, showed off a satellite photo of the Mount Ararat area.
''Mr. Hanford said the imagery showed something sticking out from the ice and snow — but that it could have been almost anything,'' said the agent.
The agent wrote the memo after reading a newspaper article that suggested the Mount Ararat imagery might be made public due to former president Clinton's decision to release historical documents.
The memo said such imagery ''might or might not be included in the declassified materials.''
The other document concerns a review of materials about Mount Ararat by the same administration between 1990 and 1992.
Former CIA director James Woolsey asked what a more exhaustive review of the materials might cost. The document reveals the price was considered too high, and Woolsey was told it would take six months to complete the study. The project apparently never got off the ground.
Insight is still seeking additional records, but most government documents and imagery associated with Noah's Ark remain classified.
The CIA plans to make thousands of satellite images available on the Internet, but it's unclear whether they will include photos of Mount Ararat.
The magazine is reviewing its options and considering whether to pursue other images taken by the CIA with its KH-9 remote-sensing satellite in 1973 and its KH-11 satellite in 1976, 1990 and 1992.
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