U.S. Trained Alaskans to Fight USSR

Before Alaska officially became a U.S. state, the feds were coming up with ways to use the territory to defend against the Russians. Newly declassified documents show that in the early days of the Cold War, the FBI and the Air Force recruited Alaskan fishermen, bush pilots, trappers, and other local citizens to serve as a secret intelligence network in case Russian invaded. Under the code name “Washtub,” the program operated from 1951 to 1959. It trained civilians, known as “stay-behind agents,” on how to reach secret reserves of food and transfer information back to the federal government. The feds fingerprinted all recruits and secretly screened them for “disloyal” behavior. Also, “Eskimo, Indian and Aleut groups” were largely barred from Washtub because of “their propensities to drink to excess and their fundamental indifference to constituted governments and political philosophies,” according to documents written by the program's founders.