Images courtesy of Simon & Schuster
Several years ago, when Garrett Graff was working at Washingtonian magazine, a coworker brought him a lost ID badge that he’d found on the floor of a parking garage.
“It was a government ID for someone from the intelligence community, and he gave it to me since I write about that subject, and he’s like, "I figure you can get this back to this guy,’ ” Graff recalls.
There were driving directions on the back of the ID, so Graff looked it up on Google Maps, and it led him to West Virginia. “The road dead ends into the side of a mountain,” he says, “And you can see very clearly these big concrete bunker doors — this little guard shack, chain-link fence, and then this set of concrete bunker doors beyond.”
Graff had stumbled onto one of the government bunkers designed to protect U.S. leaders in the event of a nuclear, chemical or biological weapon attack — most of which were built at the outset of the atomic age and throughout the Cold War.
He spoke with Fresh Air’s Terry Gross about his new book, Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself – While the Rest of Us Die. Find their conversation here.