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US Diplomat Was Investigated for Spying as a Kid Because He Kept Writing Boeing Asking for Photos

By most standards, Robert F. Dorr lived the most all-American, patriotic life anyone possibly could. He served in the Air Force, he was a diplomat with the State Department from the 1960s to the 1980s, and he went on to be a successful author and TV pundit about military affairs. But as a teenager, Dorr was investigated by the FBI for potential espionage. His crime? He kept writing to Boeing asking for photos of their planes. ( More...

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remember the song For What It's Worth by Buffalo Springfield......"paranoia strikes deep , into your life it will creep"
indy2001 7
I guess it was lucky that I was only interested in commercial aviation when I used to write to Boeing, Douglas, Lockheed, and the various airlines for photos when I was a kid. Then again, commercial espionage is a serious business too.
Ken Carpenter 3
Knew Bob as a fellow Commemorative Air Force member. As an Air Force vet of the 1960s like Bob, wonder how my schoolboy requests for pictures from Boeing, Douglas and others in the 1950s affected security clearance process. Bob gets a final laugh from the beyond given the media attention to his story.
Ahhh! The good Old Days. It was fun to write to companies for photos, free samples or just information. And you got a response. Still have some of my old aircraft photos and still am fascinated with flight.
Adrian Nagle 3
I did the same as a teenager. I have a 5 foot wide poster of an F-15E I received from McDonnell Douglas that hangs in my office. I received great info from McDonnell Douglas, Grumman, Northrop. I think Lockheed dissed me with only an SR-71 photo.
Put me on that list too. Even worse I was requesting photos of planes from the major airlines in the mid 1950's.
gary mitchell 2
Many American kids were serious aircraft fans as kids, to an extent I still am.
Paul Smith 2
Please clarify your s atement. Are you still an aircraft fan or still a kid at heart. Either way that's great!
I don't get it.. When I was a teenager in the early eighties (in India!), my friends and I would write to Boeing, Lockheed and others for pictures, and would almost always get these gorgeous glossy prints to tape to the wall. For aviation-crazy kids, this was heady stuff. If the FBI sent agents to India investigate us, I sure hope they got a hardship allowance for their trouble.
Rob Gibbs 2
I wrote Gulfstream when the GV came out for a pic they sent .E 5 pics and a couple posters
Ralph Torres 1
Yep, I too would write to the various aircraft manufacturers for photos. I thought that the best were from Douglas, they'd send individual photos with plenty of info on thier planes ranging from the early days to then current.
Al Mongeon 1
I had the pleasure of knowing Bob for many, many years. He was truly a man of many coats. Not very well known, but Bob wrote for the man's magazine venue for a number of years. his specialty such as it was - UFO fiction.
Doug Zalud 1
Yep. I can vouch for some of these things. Bob was a decent guy that could provide pretty good entertainment at times.

He just loved airplanes, and was lucky enough to get paid doing something he loved.
W S Webb 1
I applied to Navy ROTC. FBI was all over my neighborhood. Did a good job scaring everybody. But that's their job. My only crime was listening to a naval recruiter. Big deal.
patrick baker 1
somebody explain what obtaining commercially available photos of commercial airliners does to help anybody commit spying? The "security folks" were stretching credulity here and other places too

Years go I wrote one letter, to Cessna. My father was purchasing a Citation X for his company...somehow, I got more information, photos and brochures than my father received - and I was about twelve. Just is not the same when someone in the modern world says "it is online". Online will never have the smell of the glossy multi-page brochure I was sent.
Brock Nanson -3
1954: A school kid is investigated several times as a potential spy because he wants photographs. 2017: The President and his buddies are up to their neck in potential Russian improprieties and nobody seems to care. How things have changed... which is crazier?
Karl Scribner 6
Believing current media hysteria based upon hatred and paranoia are totally crazy.
Never let reality get into the way of delusional people. There simply is no reasoning with them (ever seen One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest?)
bentwing60 1
More relevant than ever.


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