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Site R in San Diego Tribune

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  • tsniffin20902
    This article was in today s San Diego Tribue Paper, front page. Doesn t give any new info, but they do give key details to the location of Site R (main gate
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 20, 2004
      This article was in today's San Diego Tribue Paper, front page.
      Doesn't give any new info, but they do give key details to the
      location of Site R (main gate and rear gate) that aren't normally
      published.

      Todd

      *******************************************

      "The word is out on Pentagon's secret post"

      By Steve Goldstein
      KNIGHT RIDDER NEWS SERVICE

      July 20, 2004

      SITE R, Pa. – Welcome to the undisclosed location.

      Known familiarly to government insiders as the "underground
      Pentagon," this is where Vice President Dick Cheney set up shop in
      the aftermath of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and where he
      sometimes is when his office is being secretive about his
      whereabouts.

      The location is a highly secure complex of buildings inside Raven
      Rock Mountain near Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., close to the Maryland-
      Pennsylvania state line and about seven miles north of Camp David.

      A recent book, "A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, and the Abuse of
      America's Intelligence Agencies," by James Bamford, was credited with
      spilling the beans about the supposedly supersecret hideaway.

      Still, there is great sensitivity about the compound, as emphasized
      to an uninvited reporter the other day who was inadvertently allowed
      to briefly enter a guardhouse.

      "I work physical security at an undisclosed location in southern
      Pennsylvania, that's all I can say," said a well-armed, fatigues-clad
      Army guard as he politely but firmly told the reporter
      that "everything you see is classified."

      There is not all that much to be seen.

      Site R, also known as Raven Rock or the Alternate Joint
      Communications Center, is a 53-year-old facility conceived at the
      start of the Cold War as an alternate command center in the event of
      nuclear war or an attack on Washington.

      Sloping, round-humped Raven Rock Mountain sprouts a thicket of
      antennae, satellite dishes and a microwave tower. From state Route
      16, the main road that passes the mountain, two oversize metal doors
      in the hillside are visible through the heavy foliage, giving it that
      Fortress of Solitude touch.

      Information about Site R is available on the Internet, and its
      location – and use by Cheney – appeared in several news stories
      before the publication of Bamford's book.

      Cheney's disappearance to undisclosed locations, a frequent
      occurrence after the attacks, is believed to be unprecedented for the
      nation's highest elected officials.

      As described by Bamford, the mountain also has a helipad. "But deep
      inside the hard greenstone granite mountain is a secret world of five
      buildings each three stories tall, computer-filled caverns and a
      subterranean water reservoir," he writes.

      Within hours of the 9/11 attacks, Bamford said, five helicopters
      landed on the helipad, a convoy of SUVs with black-tinted windows
      arrived at the main entrance and tan buses "began laboring up the
      steep, two-lane road to the heavily guarded, unmarked service
      entrance. Among those early to arrive was Deputy Secretary of Defense
      Paul Wolfowitz."

      The unmarked back entrance is a twisting lane off Harbaugh Valley
      Road. To the unknowing, the chain-link fence with a double-wide coil
      of razor wire might be a tip-off, as would the guardhouse and a big
      red "warning" sign.

      Confirmation came in the form of a station wagon with a U.S. Postal
      Service sticker; the carrier drove up the road, delivering mail to
      the half-dozen houses outside the gate. He acknowledged that this was
      one of the "four or five" entrances to Site R.

      "We don't deliver their mail," he explained.

      Asked whether Site R had its own service, he smiled and said, "I
      would say so."

      His last delivery was to a ranch-style home abutting the fence. Jesse
      Bowman has lived near the compound all his life, the last five years
      in this house.

      "Best security in the world. Better than living in the White House,"
      he said. "I wouldn't want to live anywhere else."

      Bowman gets along well with his neighbors. "They're nice people," he
      said. "But they don't like visitors," his wife added.

      "You're on camera right now," Bowman said.

      The main entrance is a short distance up Harbaugh Valley Road, past a
      cemetery on the right as you leave Route 16.

      This looked more official. Concrete dividers impeded direct passage
      to the main gate. A large brown sign read: "Raven Rock Mountain
      Complex. Site R. Secured by the Raven Rock Military Police Company."
      Another sign warned that the area was restricted and so designated by
      the secretary of defense.

      There was zero cell phone service. Less than zero, as a phone seemed
      to turn itself off.

      One of the heavily armed soldiers allowed a reporter to approach and
      identify himself. When an outside phone failed to work, the reporter
      was invited into the guardhouse to use the house phone.

      Before long, one of the guards was chatting away about having seen
      the film "Fahrenheit 9/11."

      "There are so many people who haven't seen this stuff," the soldier
      said. "And this really opened their eyes."

      Given the surroundings, the conversation seemed unusual. The guards
      were getting a little antsy, so the reporter decided to return to his
      car. The guards promised to come get him if the contact called back.

      About 10 minutes later, one of the soldiers approached to explain
      that the reporter had really seen more than the guards would have
      liked and encouraged him not to describe any of the security measures
      or locations of cameras, things like that.

      As extra encouragement, the guard mentioned possible fines and jail
      time for a breach of security. "Everything here is classified," he
      said sternly.

      Rain was beginning to fall, the edge of an approaching thunderstorm.
      Site R quickly vanished in the rear view mirror, hidden in plain
      sight.
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