The Four Days Investigation

Listen on the go: Four Days investigation, narrated by Kevin Donovan

Four Days investigation, narrated by Kevin Donovan

For the past 30 years, the Four Days investigation has been part of a secret history of the Cold War and the American nuclear strategy. Every day for four days, a team of eight-person reporters, cameras and investigators with a special focus on Russia, went inside the Washington, D.C., headquarters of the U.S. Strategic Command (SAC) to observe, talk with the people who run it, and gather evidence for their story.

And the four days were the hottest: The investigators had no idea what they would find when they got there.

I was one of the investigators, along with my colleagues, Kevin Donovan, Peter Van Buren and Bill Gertz, who were all from Washington Post. But they were all too inexperienced to really know where they were going and how they would get there.

We spent the first three days in the SAC headquarters talking about the complex operations of the agency and the people around it, and getting to know each other and finding out who we could trust.

I remember feeling pretty much alone, but there were a lot of us, and you can’t just walk into any place, especially not a place as large as the SAC. I’ve been in offices that were small and dark, and that didn’t really prepare you for what you’re going to find. But Washington, D.C., was full of people, and there were many who were just like you. You just had to be there and take it all in.

Here are a few of my memories.

Kevin Donovan: The thing that jumps out the most?

Bill Gertz: I remember the first time I saw the place, what a huge office it was, the size of the building, the amount of people there to do a job. I’ll never forget walking into that building and thinking, “

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