Sunday, May 18, 2014

Raiders of the Last Arc of Los Alamos

Indiana Miller meets the ghost of J. Edgar Hoover through the initiative of a 'friend';
This past April Fool’s Day in Waldron, Indiana, a cavalry of FBI agents swarmed the farm where 91-year-old Don Miller was born and still lives today. Miller leads a pretty simple life: He practices the organ and sometimes makes calls on his ham radio, but he rarely leaves his house except to go to church. He is beloved by his neighbors. Not exactly the typical profile of an FBI target.
Unless the FBI has way too much time on their hands. Miller is an amateur collector of artifacts, and;
...has some keepsakes from his time working on the Manhattan Project. About 10 years ago, Miller invited Richard M. Gramly, a Harvard-trained anthropologist, and a friend to visit his home. 
When Miller took Gramly downstairs, it wasn’t the art that grabbed his attention. ”There was a patch of the army unit to which he belonged,” Gramly recalls. “It had a mushroom cloud with a lightning bolt coming out of it.” Behind the mushroom cloud patch, he says, was a literal bombshell. ”On the shelf was a triggering device for an atomic bomb. The first bomb [Little Boy] that blew up Hiroshima was made exactly from those components,” says Gramly. 
Which is to say, 70 year old technology;
He said the half-hollow sphere was the size of a softball and the central sphere was the size of a golfball. “It was heavy uranium, which is heavy metal. One cannot confuse uranium isotopes with lead. Don Miller, in my opinion, did not have a copy of a trigger on the shelf of his display case in his basement relic room—rather he had the real McCoy.”
The discovery shook Gramly. ”To my horror, I see the man has a switch,” he says. “No private person should have this device.”
So Gramly ratted out his friend to an acquaintance at the Pentagon, and 'made a federal case out of it', because;
Gramly is convinced he did the right thing: “Miller is getting to an age where he could die any day. How would you like to go to a yard sale and buy that nuclear device for 50 cents?” he asks. “I feel like I’ve done my duty.”
Veritas?  At any rate, that's just the beginning of Miller's troubles, as the Feds are now going to strip him of his collection of Indian artifacts, because he's not the right sort of guy to have them;
Miller got the collecting bug as a kid, picking up arrowheads that he found walking around in the fields, and it became his chief passion as he got older. He gathered up artifacts when he went on church missionary trips overseas, and during his vacations. But Miller didn’t always collect the conventional way. Instead of making purchases from local collectors or galleries, he sometimes went on digs—often digs that he had brokered with local officials. One longtime friend and neighbor, Amy Mohr, describes how Miller prepped for one trip by stuffing an entire a suitcase full of cigarettes that he used as barter for precious goods. “He goes all over the world and is good at talking to the locals to find this stuff,” she says. 
And the FBI is good at another kind of stuff.

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