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United States Security News

Biden Reveals Location of Secret VP Bunker 550

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the so-it's-the-basement-then dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Fox News reports that 'Vice President Joe Biden, well-known for his verbal gaffes, may have finally outdone himself, divulging potentially classified information meant to save the life of a sitting vice president.' According to the report, while recently attending the Gridiron Club dinner in Washington, an annual event where powerful politicians and media elite get a chance to cozy up to one another, Biden told his dinnermates about the existence of a secret bunker under the old US Naval Observatory, which is now the home of the vice president. Although earlier reports had placed the Vice-Presidential hide-out in a highly secure complex of buildings inside Raven Rock Mountain near Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania, Fox News reports that the Naval Observatory bunker is believed to be the secure, undisclosed location former Vice President Dick Cheney remained under protection in secret after the 9/11 attacks. According to the report, Biden 'said a young naval officer giving him a tour of the residence showed him the hideaway, which is behind a massive steel door secured by an elaborate lock with a narrow connecting hallway lined with shelves filled with communications equipment.' According to Eleanor Clift, Newsweek magazine's Washington contributing editor 'the officer explained that when Cheney was in lock down, this was where his most trusted aides were stationed, an image that Biden conveyed in a way that suggested we shouldn't be surprised that the policies that emerged were off the wall.' In December 2002, neighbors complained of loud construction work being done at the Naval Observatory, which has been used as a residence by vice presidents since 1974. The upset neighbors were sent a letter by the observatory's superintendent, calling the work 'sensitive in nature' and 'classified' and that it was urgent it be completed on a highly accelerated schedule."
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Biden Reveals Location of Secret VP Bunker

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  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:07AM (#27995709)

    Sounds like one of those open secrets like "When did the shuttle launch?"

    "Sorry, it's carrying a classified military payload and we cannot comment on it."

    "I heard a loud rumble at 2pm and saw a pillar of fire rising from the Cape. Was that the shuttle?"

    "We can neither confirm nor deny."

    "Then I'll post it on the internet."

    "ZOMG!!!! Teh tarrists know everything now! Throw this man in prison!"

    • by shaka999 (335100) on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:15AM (#27995877)

      Doesn't change the fact that he shouldn't have discussed it at all.

      I'm wondering when he'll give away something that actually matters.

      • by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:21AM (#27995975)
        You mean kind of like exposing the identity of an active duty undercover CIA agent [wikipedia.org]? He's got a long way to go before he can top that one.
        • by ArcherB (796902) on Monday May 18, 2009 @11:10AM (#27997013) Journal

          You mean kind of like exposing the identity of an active duty undercover CIA agent [wikipedia.org]? He's got a long way to go before he can top that one.

          And who gave away the ID of that "undercover" agent? If you are implying that Cheney had anything to do with it, you are dead wrong. It was Richard Armitage. Although I understand how tempting it is to pin this on the big bad Dick and his staff, it's simply not true. It does make me wonder, however, of the bad stuff that gets falsely pinned to Dick, if the guy is really that bad at all. If people like you falsely accuse Cheney of this well after it has been proven to be false, how much other stuff out there is being pinned on the Bush administration that it had nothing to do with. I could list several more examples, like "Bush banned stem cell research" but don't want to get further off topic. I feel this is worth pointing out as a fine example of "if you repeat a lie over and over, it becomes true."

          • by locallyunscene (1000523) on Monday May 18, 2009 @12:24PM (#27998513)
            While the information does appear to be leaked by Richard Armitage, the fact he's a good friend of Rove and the highly fortuitous timing of the incident suggest it does not end with Armitage.

            There are such things as coincidences, but I wouldn't say the link to the Bush administration has been "proven false" or even much diminished. Due to Libby's perjury and further pardoning by GWB we will probably never have good evidence for either scenario.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by BCW2 (168187)
          Like Plame's husband did when he filled out the bio for Who's Who?
        • How about these? (Score:5, Informative)

          by tjstork (137384) <todd.bandrowsky@NOSpAM.gmail.com> on Monday May 18, 2009 @12:48PM (#27998895) Homepage Journal

          Agents that tortured [firedoglake.com]

          Don't hear too many protests about that one. And of course, there's the famous outing of Air America, and its successor in Latin America. You have Dianne Feinstein confirming covert American operations in Pakistan, and so on.

          Pretty much, Democrats don't really care about the secrecy of anything in the CIA, unless it suits them. 99% of the outrage over Valerie Plame's outing is obviously and utterly false.

          • bullshit (Score:3, Informative)

            These are private security contractors. Mercenaries. They were paid a fee; they were not protected as an undercover agent is and they certainly did not have Non-Official Cover status. And there's no evidence that a "Democrat" blew their covers. In fact, it sounds like the CIA leaked their names themselves.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by smooth wombat (796938)
        I'm wondering when he'll give away something that actually matters.

        You mean like Geraldo Rivera giving away operational plans [cnn.com] of our forces when invading Iraq? You know, endangering our brave men and women as they occupy a foreign country for political purposes.
      • by jgtg32a (1173373) on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:34AM (#27996281)
        Granted he didn't give anything useful away. I figured the only reason anyone cared is because Biden is a senile old man and its always fun to hear them say things they aren't suppose to.
      • by hey! (33014) on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:42AM (#27996433) Homepage Journal

        I won't disagree he needs to control his mouth better. His flu remarks were just plain dumb.

        On the other hand, this is no big deal. If somebody wants to target ICBMs to take out the US government's top echelon, they aren't going to skip the old naval observatory because "oh, the veep is in his secret bunker". In any case, the Bush administration pretty much spilled the beans when they had the veep's residence obscured in public imagery data sets.

      • by RingDev (879105) on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:47AM (#27996573) Homepage Journal

        Ask the pizza delivery drivers.

        No joke, I was assigned to a tactical response unit while I was in the Marine Corps. I can't discuss much of the specifics, but we would get locked up in a highly secure facility just out side of Washington in case of an "emergency". The existence of the facility at the time was considered top secret.

        Unfortunately, the local staff would often order out for food, and have it delivered.

        So the secret wasn't all that secret, and is even less so now, seeing as how /. is posting about it.

        -Rick

        • by argStyopa (232550) on Monday May 18, 2009 @11:41AM (#27997595) Journal

          Well hold on.

          If your team is at a secure facility, I presume the fact that the team is there is the secret? (And not that the building itself is somehow invisible...)

          Unless you order your food by identifying yourselves "Hi, this is Joey from the Bravo squad of the 1st Forecon, er, DRP of the MARSOC, and we're down as 123 Elm Street and need the usual, please" I doubt that ordering pizza is somehow blowing operational security.

          How would anyone know that they're delivering pizza to your unit, and not just to the janitor(s)?

          (Terrorist leader watches Dominoes.com website carefully: "AHA! We've found the dirty American imperialist commandoes! Nobody in this city orders cinnamon twists AND cheesy bread! It *must* be the Americans! Muhahahah!")

    • by Chris Burke (6130) on Monday May 18, 2009 @11:35AM (#27997479) Homepage

      So let me get this straight...

      The "Undisclosed Location" where we hide the Vice President in times of national emergency when we fear for their safety and the line of succession to lead the nation...

      is underneath the "Disclosed Location" where the Vice Presidents lived since the 70s??

      That'd be like Batman hiding his Secret Bat Lair underneath Wayne Manor, if Batman had already fully disclosed that Batman is Bruce Wayne.

      I mean I guess it's one of those "They'd never think to look for him there!" just-crazy-enough-to-work kinds of plans... Or is it just-crazy-enough-to-fail-hilariously?

    • by OrangeTide (124937) on Monday May 18, 2009 @12:21PM (#27998439) Homepage Journal

      Well I didn't know about it. And now I do. This is a problem, because now Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses can interrupt him during his dinner.

      As for military payloads, the Air Force just puts up "weather satellites", usually on a Delta II or IV rocket. So the shuttle isn't even necessary. And in the rare cases that it is, there is always some sort of scientific payload they can piggy back onto.

  • by m0s3m8n (1335861) on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:09AM (#27995761)
    Ahh, the Dem. version of Dan Quayle.
    • by JustASlashDotGuy (905444) on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:23AM (#27996029)

      Ahh, the Dem. version of Dan Quayle.

      Unfortunately, Biden is making Dan Quayle look like a Rhodes Scholar. Will someone please buy that man a muzzle.
      I'm truly at a lose when I try to think of anything that man has brought to the ticket. He's been an embarrassment for Obama.

      On the bright side, if we let him keep talking, perhaps we will all be told more about what happens at Area 51.

      • by larry bagina (561269) on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:26AM (#27996091) Journal
        It's assasination insurance.
      • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:50AM (#27996621)

        Seriously. Obama had the diversity thing down. That's good, however there are many voters who that sort of thing worries. They find comfort in "experience". in politics, that means an old white guy. You can argue they shouldn't care, but they do. Yes, even democrats. That's what Biden brought. He also brought connections to special interest groups, who are powerful in terms of elections. Obama himself didn't have many of those connections, since he is a young politician. Biden on the other hand is deep within Hollywood's pocket, among others.

        Now I'm sure to you these aren't bonus points and I'm not saying they are for me either. Just saying that's what they brought to Obama. McCain had the experienced, old white guy thing down. That was one thing he could sell really strongly: "I know about politics and war. I've been there, and done that. You can trust me to make decisions from a position of experience." Biden was to help balance that.

        Same deal with Palin on the other side. McCain brought her in for two reasons:

        1) To solidify the fundy base. The fundies were none too happy with his nomination. They wanted another fundy president and deluded themselves in to thinking the nation would go with it. So there was a real risk of losing them. No, they wouldn't vote for Obama, but they might get disenfranchised and not vote. Palin cemented them in for McCain.

        2) To get the diversity vote. A young, and rather attractive, female. Goes well to deal with Obama's diversity. This is doubly true since there were women's groups that were bitter about Clinton losing. Stupid, but they really did vote for McCain because he chose a female vice president.

        Of course what McCain didn't count on was that she was as big a nit wit as she is, and that the press would give her so much play. Normally vice presidents are rather non-entities. They are picked for the reason I stated: To make the president look good in various ways with various groups. However the media really let Palin have it and gave her a chance to sit her foot firmly in her mouth. Gave plenty of people pause when they realized how crazy she was.

        • They find comfort in "experience". in politics

          I don't. Experience in politics to me just means a sociopath who has hidden the internal monster better than most, and hasn't gotten caught in whatever shenanigans he or she is most assuredly engaging.

          Me? Cynical? Nah! The rest of you lot are too trusting.

        • He also brought connections to special interest groups, who are powerful in terms of elections. Obama himself didn't have many of those connections, since he is a young politician. [Politician I don't like] on the other hand is deep within Hollywood's pocket, among others.

          Can we get off the old saw about corruption in politics? Biden is one of the poorest members of the senate despite being one of the most senior. Obama has more money.

          The Hollywood part is amusing. Delaware politics revolves more around the disposal of chicken shit than it does around Hollywood. The last movie of any significance filmed in Delaware was Fight Club.

          Biden is the Democratic senior member of the foreign relations committee. He presided over Bill Clinton's foreign policy, which has been widely seen as more successful than Dubya, who hadn't even been to Europe before he became president (why do we need "experience" in quotes?)

          • And yet (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Sycraft-fu (314770)

            He steadfastly supports draconian copyright measures and the like. Now maybe he's just doing it because he's a dumbass, I suppose there's that. However I think it is more likely that the man owes big media in some way, and thus tows their party line.

            That is why people accuse him of being owned by Hollywood. It isn't because of anything secret or shady, it is because of voting record. He routinely pushes for laws with regards to copyright that many would call unconstitutional, and nearly all would call unfai

    • by ShakaUVM (157947) on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:33AM (#27996265) Homepage Journal

      >>Ahh, the Dem. version of Dan Quayle.

      Basically. While the sympathetic media reports them as "gaffes" if any Republican said half the stuff that he did, he'd have a lower reputation than Quayle.

      Seriously, google "Biden Gaffes".

      • by _KiTA_ (241027) on Monday May 18, 2009 @11:50AM (#27997789) Homepage

        >>Ahh, the Dem. version of Dan Quayle.

        Basically. While the sympathetic media reports them as "gaffes" if any Republican said half the stuff that he did, he'd have a lower reputation than Quayle.

        Seriously, google "Biden Gaffes".

        I did. Most of the "Biden Gaffes" are either from Conservative wingnut blogs or from the media, but upon further examination, they're complete non-issues. Like telling people not to go into enclosed places if people are sick -- well, duh, that's common sense. But the Media has "BIDEN MAEK GAFFE" as a meme right now, so, doesn't matter what he says -- if there's a negative way to take it, zomg, GAFFE.

        And I'll have you know that after 8 years of a free pass from Bush basically running this country into the ground by the "liberal" media the very idea that the media has any form of "liberal" bias is laughable. Sure, the reporters might be liberal, but the decision-makers are hardline conservatives. Suddenly the media might "wake up" (read: start actually doing their jobs instead of just copy/pasting press releases) to avoid giving Obama a free pass, but that's fine, because outside of some fabricated scandals, so far, smooth sailing.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by DigiShaman (671371)

          I did. Most of the "Biden Gaffes" are either from Conservative wingnut blogs or from the media, but upon further examination, they're complete non-issues.

          It still doesn't discount the fact he's a douche. Now... you might have others convinced he's a fragrant smelling douche, but he's still a douche.

          Nice spin though. I'll give you props for trying at least.

  • So... (Score:5, Funny)

    by jayhawk88 (160512) <jayhawk88@gmail.com> on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:13AM (#27995829)

    Does anyone currently have the job of following Biden around at all times with a tape player handy, ready to play the "Whaaah whaaah whhhaaaaaaahhhhh" sound whenever it's needed? Because that sounds like it would be a sweet gig.

  • So? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by revscat (35618) on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:17AM (#27995903) Journal
    Even if this is accurate -- which, given the source, I kinda doubt -- so freakin' what? Looks like /. is taking a page from the Fark playbook and posting flamebait worthy articles to drum up page clicks.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:18AM (#27995931)

    Now THAT is how government transparency is done!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by CambodiaSam (1153015)
      This is one of the reasons I voted FOR Obama/Biden. After the Bush administration, I kinda like the idea of getting a random nugget of insider information delivered this way. It's totally unfiltered! Sure, it's not the best way, and definitely not safe, but it's better than nothing.

      I also figure that the handlers around Biden will begin limiting his access to really sensitive stuff. So I'm enjoying the fun while it lasts. Perhaps he can get his hands on some Area 51 stuff and attend a convention where he d
  • Old USNO ? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mbone (558574) on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:20AM (#27995961)

    The old US Naval Observatory was located in Foggy Bottom [navy.mil], just across from where the Kennedy Center is now. If you are coming in from Virginia across the Roosevelt Bridge, you can see at one point the old dome for the 26 inch telescope, where Hall discovered the moons of Mars.

    This site is now the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery for the Navy. I bet that the article is referring to a bunker at Observatory Circle.

  • Clearly the Bush Administration's respect for classified information has continued in the Obama Administration!

    (For the sarcasm-impaired, I DO know that the Bush Administration had no more respect for classified information than Biden is demonstrating here.)

  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Reality Master 201 (578873) on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:23AM (#27996033) Journal

    Somehow it's a major gaffe and security lapse to let on that there's a secure bunker under the official residence of the Vice President? I think if you'd asked me if there was one before reading this story, I'd just have assumed so.

    Sorry, this is making a story out of basically nothing. I think Biden's kind of a putz sometimes, but this is just kinda bullshitty.

  • Yes, if there's one North American politician of the last decade who's been well-known for his verbal gaffes, the first name to leap to mind is of course none other than Joe Biden.

  • by mikemulvaney (24879) on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:28AM (#27996137)

    It should read, "Biden reveals location of Vice President's House". I lived in DC for a long time, and I'm pretty sure every one there knows where the Vice President lives.

    This is the worst article I've seen on slashdot in a long time. Not only is the content nonsensical, most of the submission is copied directly from the foxnews "article", but it doesn't have quotes around the copied text.

  • That's nothing. Just imagine what Cheney didn't tell us!

  • down there right now playing poker and smoking weed

  • Stupid article (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DnemoniX (31461) on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:32AM (#27996237)

    Excuse me, but it isn't a secret when EVERYONE already knows guys. If you didn't know, you must have missed the news regarding all of the construction at the house when Dick was in residence. All of the neighbors complaining about the round the clock heavy equipment use making the ground shake. That is when everyone was saying that they were probably expanding/renovating the bunker under the house.

    But hey, keep the non-news coming.

  • Open Secret is right (Score:5, Informative)

    by gfineman (742243) on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:32AM (#27996241)
    Open secret is right. I live about three quarters of a mile from the Naval Observatory and the government had to pay for damage, caused by the blasting, to the foundations of nearby residences (including at least one embassy). The local community governmental organization gathered and disseminated the procedures for getting such payments. Why is this considered news and even in Slashdot?
  • by falcon5768 (629591) <Falcon5768 AT comcast DOT net> on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:44AM (#27996483) Journal
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/2559617.stm [bbc.co.uk] Seems the BBC revealed the "secret" location long before Biden. Yet another Fox news lets make a story out of nothing event.
  • by CHK6 (583097) on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:45AM (#27996503)
    Every US president needs that distraction factor. It's a secret unwritten part of the job. While the president is riding the bull of congress, there is still the need for a rodeo clown to distract both the news audience and maybe the bull for a second or two. They can't distract entirely as the main event unfolds, but they are still an essential part of the entertainment and distraction needed.
  • by FictionPimp (712802) on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:46AM (#27996535) Homepage

    Is this the vault where all the clones go nuts and kill everyone or the one with the virus that makes all the super mutants?

  • by BoRegardless (721219) on Monday May 18, 2009 @11:00AM (#27996819)
    With a "dumb" electorate, you get "leaders" who have little or no training in economics, business, international relations or governance. Thus we get people who often have money or married it and smile enough in good looking cloths with cute one sentence sound bites to amuse people who get their news & "analysis" in one sentence sound bites and the electorate then ELECT those, hmm, 'political actors'. We should not be surprised at the empty heads in WDC. Rather to be expected.
  • by dtmos (447842) * on Monday May 18, 2009 @11:06AM (#27996953)

    The location and description of this bunker is in Bob Woodward's latest book, The War Within [bobwoodward.com] , published by Simon & Schuster on 8 September 2008.

  • Not news. (Score:3, Informative)

    by JWSmythe (446288) <jwsmytheNO@SPAMjwsmythe.com> on Monday May 18, 2009 @11:44AM (#27997669) Homepage Journal

    That is so far from being newsworthy, it's almost funny.

        It's pretty much a given that any facility that a world leader will spend a lot of time in, will have a safe room (bunker, if you will). I'd be fairly confident that the Whitehouse has one. The Pentagon is one. :) Camp David has a back entrance to Site-R/Raven Rock Mountain Complex. There's a ring of underground facilities in a 300 mile radius of DC (except for under the water, I assume) that may or may not be connected by a series of tunnels. It's not hard to find information on quite a few of them.

        They aren't new. But, they're likely new to people who are surprised by the possibility of a safe room under the VP's residence.

        And no, it's not a evil government conspiracy. It's good security. With a whole variety of safe locations to put the people you're suppose to protect, an aggressive attempt by a foreign power would be dramatically spread out to take every possible bunker location. Even with inside information, unless it's someone in the immediate proximity of the President, it would be very difficult for an aggressor to find him.

          For example, say I was a secret service agent assigned to the POTUS. I know that there is an aggressive assault on known locations. I also know that someone inside is providing location details to the aggressor. I call in that he is now being transferred by limo to a site Northwest of DC. We send a driver in the limo by himself (with escort following) and then we take a rather plain looking suburban Southwest to another site. Ok, so the President is missing, but he's safe.

        Would the aggressor know until the limo stops? Possibly. So instead of one or two known sites, it's almost anywhere in America. Once they can get on a VC-25, E-4B, C-32, or C-40 it becomes anywhere in the world. As far as that goes, he could end up on any sufficiently supplied aircraft (armor, flight range, etc). If they stay up long enough, it'd be a matter of maybe following refueling planes, unless they stop at random large airports for refueling. It may be a foreign government nervous if Air Force One lands at an arbitrary international airport with two fighters circling. :) It would be virtually impossible for a foreign aggressor to monitor every airport capable of taking large aircraft.

        The large aircraft requirement gets interesting. In looking for the requirements of those planes, it appears 6k feet can get one down and back up safely. In that thread [airliners.net], someone mentions a C-5 [wikipedia.org] landing a MKC [flymkc.com] (7k foot runway), and another person mentions a 747 landing at QRA [wikipedia.org]. If it's not loaded down with baggage and passengers, and fuel is kept reasonable, they can get up and down on pretty short runways. It may not be quite as comfortable for the passenger, but I'm sure POTUS will understand in an emergency condition. :)

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