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The U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself, While the Rest of Us Die

[Starts at 24:45]

Streamed live on May 24, 2017 by New America

Since the outset of the cold war, the US government has spent hundreds of billions of dollars on infrastructure and processes designed to ensure that the sitting president and other political and military leaders would survive a nuclear war, and be able to govern in its aftermath. As Garrett M. Graff documents in his new book, Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself–While the Rest of Us Die, these plans have largely been kept a secret.

As Graff argues, the secrecy of such policies for “continuity of government” has obscured questions not only about their effectiveness, but also about their legal, constitutional, and moral legitimacy. Raven Rock, the first comprehensive history of these mysterious plans, is both a lively story with vivid details of secret bunkers, and a thoughtful analysis of how bureaucratic plans for the apocalypse illuminate the relationship between government, industry, and the American public.

New America welcomes author Garrett M. Graff to discuss his new book. Graff is a distinguished magazine journalist and historian who writes about politics, technology, and national security. He is the author of multiple books, including The First Campaign: Globalization, the Web, and the Race for the White House, which examined the role of technology in the 2008 presidential race, and The Threat Matrix: The FBI at War, which traces the modern history of the FBI. Today, he serves as the executive director of the Aspen Institute’s cybersecurity and technology program.

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