Scientist Behind 'Feats of Espionage' Dead at 90
Navy's John Craven 'turned submarines into spy machines'
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2015 1:59 PM CST
n this 2007 handout file photo provided by the US Navy, the research submarine NR-1 is towed away from U.S. Naval submarine base, in New London, Conn.   (AP Photo/US Navy, John Fields)

(Newser) – The name might not be of the household variety, but John Craven made his mark in Cold War espionage for the US military. In his obituary, the New York Times explains that the Navy scientist "turned submarines into spy machines" and was responsible for "some of the nation's most celebrated feats of espionage" throughout the 1960s. Among them:

  • When a Soviet submarine sank in the central Pacific in March 1968, the nuclear sub he converted into a spy sub (the Halibut) found it on the ocean floor, along with its code books and encryption gear.

  • A few years later, the Halibut tapped into a telecommunications cable used by the Soviets in the Sea of Okhotsk near Japan. It was a major coup in unearthing Soviet nuclear secrets.
Craven, who died of Parkinson's at age 90, wrote of his own exploits in the book The Silent War: The Cold War Battle Beneath the Sea. Click for the full obituary.