Author, John Clauson Discusses His Book and The Incredible Stories From His Father’s Secret Double Life With Warren And Carmine

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John Clauson grew up believing he was the son of an IBM salesman. Though the family moved often and John’s father, Wallace Clauson, rarely spoke of his work, his family never questioned him nor seemed to notice the inconsistencies and oddities apparent in their daily life. Only decades later, while in his mid-30s, did John finally learn the truth from his father as he was dying of cancer. For over forty years, being an IBM salesman was just a cover. Wallace's real job was with IBM s covert Federal Systems Group where, as a mathematical and mechanical savant, he took his orders from the Department of Defense and was charged with ensuring America's arsenal of nuclear missiles hit their targets. Over the span of three days, as he and his father built a backyard fence, John learned his father's hidden story how Wallace Clauson has been recruited from an Iowa farm due to an error in a high school textbook. He learned of a meeting with Einstein, and about his father's role in the Cold War, and NASA and Iranian missiles. Stunned into silence and left to question the entire fabric of his youth, John wanted only to forget his father's words. In fact, for the next fifteen years, he never spoke about what his father had confessed over that weekend. But he couldn’t truly forget. Upon his father's death, John was given his father's workbench, which contained a hidden packet of business cards Wallace's final plea to have his story told. Thus the journey toward discovering the extraordinary clandestine life and career of Wallace Clauson began. Missileman is the story of that journey. It is the true account of how Wallace Clauson kept his real work hidden from his family and his neighbors for fifty years. Moving every few years, even living for a period Zurich, Switzerland, Clauson led a life full of anxiety and suspicion. Missileman tells how Clauson would always check flight manifests before flying and would be the last one on the plane to make sure no unregistered passenger had embarked. How he always backed into his driveway to ensure a quick getaway if necessary. How he had his son’s car fitted with a GPS transmitter in the 1970s! How in Switzerland they lived in a house with a secret passageway leading to an underground meeting room. And how the family was always watched by multiple agents to ensure their safety. Missileman is a story of intrigue and wonder and discovery as son John Clauson reveals how his father, a stealth government agent working against the Russians during the Cold War, somehow managed to maintain a double life and keep his family safe and sheltered from the many dangers inherent in his secret life as a missileman.
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Podcast Notes

1YouTube generated podcast notes, please excuse any typos.
hi everyone and welcome to the ILP
0:03
Network I am Carmen danesco your co-host
0:07
for today's show of Tuttle innovations
0:10
it's an awesome show today I've been
0:11
waiting for this particular segment
0:14
Warren and I have gone been going back
0:15
and forth about the story what's
0:18
happening and how it came to be and it's
0:21
gonna be pretty cool so hey Warren you
0:23
over there can you hear me alright I am
0:24
good to see you yeah that's right for
0:29
all you all you listeners out there
0:30
Warren I came down to Clearwater sunny
0:33
Clearwater and we came to the office and
0:35
we were going through and strategizing
0:37
on the show when kind of how we wanted
0:39
to lay lay it out and we got a lot of
0:42
feedback just from our first show that
0:44
we released the audio um just yesterday
0:47
I think we released it and I don't know
0:49
if you listeners when you're gonna be
0:50
listening to this but it's about
0:52
mid-september and 2018 and we just
0:55
released our first audio version we got
0:57
a bunch of shows already in the can and
0:59
a lot more plans so keep listening in
1:02
send us your feedback send us your
1:04
request suggestions and you know we'll
1:08
try to cover them you know Warren's kind
1:10
of you know just hanging out waiting for
1:11
us to give him stuff to do and so yeah
1:17
Warren it was great having you down here
1:18
man would I know you were used to and
1:20
and familiar with the area but you know
1:23
how was it how was your trips back and
1:25
forth I know you used to traveling my
1:28
mom and dad lived in Clearwater for
1:30
about 35 years so I spent a lifetime
1:33
bringing the children and very familiar
1:37
with the area so it was a bit like Old
1:39
Home Week was a lot of fun man it was
1:43
really cool and I forgot you know that
1:45
you knew the air you're probably better
1:46
than I did I was like here should I come
1:48
get you in your he was like no way where
1:53
are you where are you today Warren you
1:55
up in you're up in the Home Office yeah
1:57
yeah back in Connecticut and things
2:01
together here and then heading out
2:03
shortly in about a week for the for the
2:06
DRM a the TV show in Las Vegas so I'll
2:09
be up there basically reconstituting the
2:13
show
2:14
the UI is going to be very involved in
2:15
hopefully next spring when they have
2:17
their March graded in Miami to do the
2:19
event or quarter there so and then I
2:23
spent a day yesterday a lifetime
2:24
Brienne's which is the housewares
2:25
company around the innovation had lunch
2:28
with the president the company carmine
2:30
who wants to to come on and do a show
2:32
with us so for our audience that'll be a
2:34
future show to look forward to wow
2:36
that's great you know lifetime brand
2:37
just from my background it's a pretty
2:39
big company right
2:40
oh yeah billion dollar company with
2:42
about 40 brand names and 20,000 products
2:45
were the biggest non electrics
2:46
housewares show in the country and
2:48
dannis Segal will be unique guests
2:50
because he will be able to explain how
2:54
the company looks at things so for our
2:56
listeners will be a real educational
2:58
experience to not only presenting a
3:00
product but what companies are looking
3:01
for yeah well that's kind of what I love
3:04
about this particular show we kind of
3:06
mix in history innovation retail
3:09
everything that really people in our
3:11
business and the invention industry are
3:13
really looking at here and there's
3:14
always something for everybody about I
3:15
sound like a commercial but it really a
3:17
cool cool way of bringing the show on
3:19
and I know that we have our guest on
3:22
today he's kind of been a friend of
3:24
yours for a long time mr. John Clausen
3:28
and I want you to quickly do a quick
3:29
ninja enter intro and let us know how
3:32
you know him and and we'll bring him on
3:35
great let me let me do that thank you so
3:37
we meet today isn't going to be a lot of
3:40
fun and I think everybody's going to
3:42
love the show so it's my pleasure to
3:44
bring on a few in a minute John Clausen
3:47
I have to make full disclosure here John
3:50
and I were child not child youth friends
3:54
in high school my luck of the draw and
3:56
we'll get into this a little bit today
3:57
we both grew up in Zurich Switzerland so
4:00
a little unusual story there and John
4:03
who I knew well and I knew his family
4:06
and I ran into each other at a reunion a
4:10
few years back and John said do you
4:13
remember my dad and I said sure your dad
4:15
used to work for IBM because my dad
4:17
worked for General Electric and and he
4:19
said well yeah but we always thought he
4:23
sold typewriters for IBM but he really
4:26
it turns out
4:27
a nuclear ballistic missile program oh
4:30
that's one of where it started in John
4:32
and I for the last 12 years John is
4:34
going on to really research and there's
4:36
gonna be fun talking to him but I've
4:38
stayed in touch with over the years and
4:40
as he's gone through this project is my
4:42
pleasure to to bring on John Clausen hey
4:44
John how are you are you feeling more
4:46
than phonetics like we're back in 11th
4:48
grade that's what I said we should just
4:51
pretend it's after school and we're
4:52
relaxing as we used to but John you're
4:58
you're in Seattle area right you want to
5:00
tell people where you're from and what
5:02
you're up to in 1991 we moved from
5:07
Chicago tilted back to Seattle and he
5:10
just left Seattle and I know they've in
5:12
the summers across the Puget Sound on in
5:16
a town called Bremerton we're just an
5:19
hour ferry ride away from going into
5:21
Seattle so we've left but really not and
5:25
you've pretty much we're going to go
5:28
back in history in a minute but you
5:29
you've put a lot of time into writing
5:33
this book by the way missile man is the
5:35
name of the book and we're gonna get
5:36
into the details in a minute but that's
5:38
pretty much consumed the last few years
5:39
of your life if I understand that well
5:42
when I was interviewed by the ABC
5:44
affiliate here in Seattle asked me how
5:46
many hours do I have this project is 13
5:51
years and at a minimum of 12,000 hours
5:56
but it absolutely consumed my life to
6:00
get his story out and so tell us how you
6:03
tell us how you so the backdrop is John
6:07
there's two parts of this story one is
6:09
the amazing career of his dad secret
6:11
career but the other is of course the
6:13
family life and the relationship between
6:14
John and his dad so so so so take us
6:17
back a little bit in time to - you
6:21
thought your dad was a typewriter
6:22
salesman for IBM that changed what he
6:25
said was is that he had something to do
6:28
sales with IBM he never specifically
6:31
said he was a Salesman so while he shift
6:37
his tone and say oh I new customer sir
6:39
or let's say I'm doing the equivalent of
6:43
a PhD he was the ultimate diverter if
6:48
you will test him what he did in fact I
6:51
have a brother-in-law who was an
6:54
engineer and math he could not pin him
6:57
down
6:58
my brother was the street in San Jose
7:01
said I couldn't believe what he knew
7:04
about science Pangos and I lived across
7:07
the street from him for 20 years and he
7:10
could never figure out what his main job
7:11
was he just was the absolute guy in the
7:18
back of the room vanish me be so weird
7:24
so we'll we'll go back into a little bit
7:26
of history about how that took place but
7:28
what was sort of it the peak you know of
7:31
his career what was his job exactly his
7:34
real job
7:35
well what's come out is that he was
7:38
responsible for the guidance systems of
7:41
the nuclear missiles slash during NASA
7:45
he was involved with the guidance
7:48
systems of those missiles which were
7:50
converted to go to the moon and was
7:55
space shot so the missiles that went to
7:59
the moon were literally you know
8:02
missiles but the nucular mom was taken
8:04
off and they just converted the guidance
8:06
systems so that was his forte he and the
8:11
guidance systems in fact not only was it
8:15
the guidance systems he was a polygon
8:18
man how the missiles worked I said him
8:22
and as I say in the book he was a once
8:26
one stop one man missile stop so and we
8:33
can see that research all the way back
8:36
into the mid fifties when she was an AI
8:39
a missile to process the earth the
8:44
radiation well let's listen well let's
8:47
start it a little earlier than that
8:49
because I've read the book now several
8:50
times
8:51
and I love the story and so let's let's
8:56
go back to when your dad was 10 or 12
9:00
years old they grew up on a farm he was
9:03
a ordinary child and then had an
9:06
accident and it sort of changed his life
9:08
let's go back there okay let's just go
9:12
back to him with how my father grew up
9:14
my grandfather my dad's dad was an
9:20
incredibly aggressive alcoholic
9:23
moonshiner and my dad had a very very
9:26
tough life growing up and but his mom
9:32
was an avid Christian and every Sunday
9:35
they went to church no matter what of us
9:38
if you go back early means go back nine
9:41
generations that were Quaker ministers
9:44
and if you go back to 10th generation
9:47
that's Nathanael Greene my grandmother
9:51
was Dorothy green or she got married I
9:54
don't I'm not assuming any sort of
9:57
relationship of nothing but that but
10:03
nine generations of Ministers and
10:05
they've gone to church and when coming
10:08
back it was in August the cornfields are
10:11
real tall and there was a drunk
10:14
kid driving and t-boned their car and my
10:19
dad went flying through the air and
10:21
court field after he hit his head on the
10:25
apex of the windshield and hit a
10:29
gigantic gash on his face and they just
10:32
assumed he was going to die on a sofa
10:36
they didn't take him to a doctor and she
10:39
went him through the closet to pray
10:41
nonstops called the prayer closet
10:44
on Tuesday that he met wound was healed
10:50
and he had not died which
10:55
physiologically to have a woman he liked
10:58
that you have to think it was either
11:00
divine intervention or some sort of
11:02
miracle because that does not happen
11:05
with woods so he was alive within 48
11:10
hours and conscious walking around he
11:13
come out of a coma and that's when he
11:17
realized he had a different set of
11:19
skills and he was so he sort of sort of
11:24
rearranged things in a way and I think
11:27
the odds of something like that happen
11:29
is very remote right well I've been
11:32
dealing with the Ross leading expert
11:34
he's a physician at a Wisconsin on it's
11:37
called acquired savant syndrome
11:39
he's only been 16 folks that have
11:43
actually become a Samant post-birth as
11:48
we be emailed each other it shows all
11:51
the skills of a savant there was a
11:55
situation in Tacoma where I got in a bar
11:57
fight it was a truck driver mixing is
12:00
he's a savant math it was a gown he got
12:03
hit it is some sort of accident and she
12:08
could have been doing piano and then I
12:09
start playing Mozart so so but not only
12:14
big might be realized that he was not
12:16
only a mechanical savant but he was a
12:19
theoretical salon and that is very
12:22
memory very rare
12:25
both sighs so I understand when he was
12:28
in high school then he started his math
12:31
prowess was so exceptional that he got
12:33
way ahead in the class and so forth and
12:35
he became he started correcting math
12:37
books right for Harvard Press order well
12:40
what happened was an eighth grade the
12:44
teacher said that he had missed a couple
12:47
of questions in a math test
12:49
and my dad said I did not miss analysis
12:53
and he goes well look what the textbook
12:55
says and my dad looked at the textbook
12:59
and he said the textbook is long he
13:03
looked at he goes oh my goodness you're
13:05
writing Wallace and Mikey had said let
13:08
me correct the textbook directed the
13:11
entire textbook let me explain how
13:15
salons think they don't actually
13:18
calculate everything just comes to them
13:20
instantaneously so you see a problem
13:23
boom there's the answer he corrected it
13:28
and then the teacher said I gotta send
13:31
this to the publisher it's back then you
13:35
had to have textbooks corrected by a
13:38
mathematician who were primarily
13:41
collegiate high school proficient
13:45
teachers and my father he was said of
13:50
looked at correct and he said send send
13:52
them by the box so they can send in
13:55
boxes a textbook and initially he got
13:58
basically five dollars a book but by the
14:01
time he was a senior in high school he
14:03
was correcting astrophysics astronomy $1
14:09
just keep sending them so that's so that
14:16
that led to your dad right getting a
14:19
scholarship well you got you received a
14:25
letter from the National Academy of
14:27
Sciences that said we want to talk to
14:30
you about your education my father is
14:34
cinema he was being recruited by a
14:38
university to go to school so he was all
14:42
excited about this interview about what
14:45
he didn't realize was is that the
14:47
interview was Thomas
14:49
Norma college mayor government agent
14:53
we're just started the secret
14:55
organization called the NDRC National
14:58
Defense Research Committee by its
15:01
quote-unquote and he can actually read
15:04
the documents whether it was FDR saying
15:08
you need to ha get the biggest nerds of
15:11
the country to do it to designing
15:13
weapons and they came out and my dad was
15:18
had to leave basketball training for a
15:22
half hour he got permission and three
15:25
gentlemen driven in from Chicago and
15:27
wanted him to take a math test question
15:31
they says if it takes more than two
15:32
hours for you to practice were not
15:34
interested well pick long story short
15:38
the two men went to the restroom to
15:40
relieve themselves after a long drive
15:42
and my dad had already left one guy who
15:47
was there said oh my goodness you're not
15:51
gonna believe this and they showed him
15:52
my dad not only had corrected it he said
15:55
you're asking the question he basically
16:01
said this who should be more scared us
16:04
or him they know that there was
16:07
something different about this guy so he
16:11
did know that mistake but a never
16:13
attended class scholarship to go right
16:16
but then but then they they recruited
16:19
him at then they they like doctored his
16:21
whole transcript right so you got like
16:23
an F in algebra don't know you this is a
16:27
phrase you know certain phrases that you
16:29
never forget and looked up at me and he
16:32
goes John that they wanted me to look
16:34
like the village and he had eight s his
16:39
first year and I would say it was like
16:42
it's almost physically impossible to get
16:45
that bad of a report hey time time we
16:47
had a couple of friends in there that
16:49
got those tech agree you know but when
16:55
he was told before he went that he was
16:57
not going to clasp them you're gonna be
16:59
working now this is where it is
17:02
interesting and doing the research is
17:05
that the first computer ever designed
17:08
and legally decided that was done and I
17:11
stayed was by the gentleman by the name
17:13
of John I'll fasten off that's the first
17:17
computer ever made at Iowa State my dad
17:20
was able to see that there Sean I'll
17:23
pass it off was good friends with John
17:25
von Neumann who is the brilliant
17:28
mathematician in programmer and called
17:30
the father of computing I'm Bill Gates
17:34
and it's just interesting how the hell
17:38
my dad is now input is introduced to
17:42
John von Neumann as been a relationship
17:46
prospered over the years in designing
17:49
computers so that's amazing and he with
17:55
the doctor record and all eventually
17:57
helped work on the radar project
17:59
initially right and all undercover
18:02
that's a very good point Warren because
18:05
the atom the chain reaction had been
18:09
discovered by the Germans and part of
18:12
the this NDRC the uranium project and
18:17
decide if a bomb could really be built
18:20
my dad was on the side of the camp of
18:23
the project that it was my growing
18:27
nearly 50% of all commerce going and how
18:33
England and our allies was being sunk by
18:36
German u-boats but this microwave radar
18:40
was so accurate you can now pinpoint
18:44
whether all the subs were you can
18:48
actually see the decline in the number
18:51
of u-boats in the number of ships that
18:54
were sunk and they said three years
18:56
later after they started installing Mike
18:59
Moines radar that was the most dangerous
19:03
job to have it was even the more
19:04
dangerous than being on the Eastern
19:06
Front you hear I could spot and I could
19:10
just see my dad gone
19:11
we're not going to get them German you
19:13
probably hear them all
19:16
basically did so well that's it so
19:21
that's how he sort of entered into
19:22
things and then and then he switched
19:24
over after the war right if you look at
19:29
the personnel who were involved in
19:31
microwave radar there were some of the
19:34
biggest names in all of computer stuff
19:38
so was my growing started did the
19:41
nuclear guys to really decide in that
19:45
first year of NDRC could have bombed he
19:48
built but he had been exposed to my dad
19:52
under the left-wing radar so when the
19:57
war ended the new people guy said we got
20:00
a red wall over to our side you know
20:04
what this guy can do that's how he was
20:08
introduced and transitioned that John
20:11
Macmillan who was running that they were
20:15
all down those guys were all based out
20:16
of Krispies go before I forget on the
20:19
cover of your book is a slide rule that
20:22
Einstein gave your dad so your dad knew
20:24
Einstein right and how in fact will
20:29
never forget this as long as I lived
20:31
when we returned the posthole honor my
20:35
dad said his job to go down this street
20:37
and if we part and he looked very
20:40
passively at a window because Johnny I
20:43
had the most fascinating debates of my
20:46
life he did not want to leave but you
20:49
can understand him that want to get my
20:51
post hole digger back by by the clock
20:54
the Jersey guys charge me an extra day
20:57
for being ten minutes late
20:58
yeah I see by the way I should I should
21:00
jump in there and talk with the
21:01
listeners that when you read John's book
21:03
and you have to read it that this all
21:05
starts this whole story is told as John
21:07
and his dad came to Princeton to help
21:10
John build a fence around his house
21:12
protect the kid and then my father says
21:15
go down the street now I'm really
21:18
concerned that now I know I'm gonna get
21:20
popped for an extra day if you'll just
21:22
go down this stranger to the right that
21:24
we parked it because that's where the
21:25
man
21:26
who in the world is the man his Albert
21:30
Einstein's house so in retrospect the
21:35
debates that were John him on Nora's
21:37
house Albert Einstein was there because
21:41
they debated what to do with you the
21:43
technology because the bomb had been
21:45
dropped they a certain camp said we're
21:48
going to shove the genie back in the
21:50
bottle and the other camp said my dad
21:53
said the genies out but us learners have
21:57
to figure out how to control it in fact
22:00
what I have here here here is the actual
22:06
to do money added in that debate John
22:11
von Neumann had the initials WWC
22:13
emerging minute that's awesome
22:16
and even if it had a mechanism atop it
22:20
really put it on his belt like a holster
22:23
and you can just see how worn this thing
22:26
is he's coming up thousands of time as
22:29
he did ballistic calculus
22:31
wonder how many of the audience knows
22:33
what a slide ruler is but we we had them
22:36
in high school of course but I'm sure
22:37
there's a whole generation kids yeah
22:39
that was before the calculator folks you
22:44
know John it's just a you know I'm
22:46
sitting here listening and what's
22:47
amazing is you know we talk about
22:49
innovation now and how you know things
22:51
are doubling tripling in technology well
22:53
just when your dad was in the mix of I
22:58
mean that's what I really love about
23:00
innovation back then it seemed like that
23:02
was really the start of so much great
23:05
things not just you know the bomb and
23:07
things but but so much technology came
23:09
out of their research and the
23:11
development of what they did
23:12
oh that's an interesting point because
23:15
in the book he was 23 years before Bill
23:19
Gates I mean with the speeding what his
23:24
mind was doing he was designing missiles
23:27
that could fly 3,500 miles an hour in
23:30
the 50s which was absolutely unheard of
23:35
in the book there's actually a picture
23:37
of the prototype that
23:39
Wow so you can see why my dad in 57
23:47
after Sputnik was fired by the Russians
23:49
he Eisenhower starts NASA well we
23:54
logically moved to Long Beach which is
23:57
the headquarters of space technology and
24:03:00
missile technology I so what did they
24:08:00
say hey listen I gotta go move to this
24:10:00
typewriter repair such a bizarre life
24:20:00
but not no you know what when you're a
24:22:00
kid mother was not worried the kids
24:27:00
don't worry nope it's not his mom is not
24:30:00
like Wallace where you going this week
24:32:00
oh there was none of that it was yeah
24:37:00
but John you must in retrospect and I
24:40:00
know we're sort of jumping around a
24:41:00
little bit here but if she was trying to
24:43:00
grow up you found some interesting
24:45:00
things like you and you would fly first
24:48:00
class and nobody else would be there
24:50:00
you'd enter into Switzerland and you
24:52:00
didn't need a passport and there was a
24:54:00
little telltale sign so you probably
24:55:00
know that's what I was 15 and then my
25:02:00
father told me I was such a pain in the
25:04:00
rear because the government took all my
25:09:00
responsibilities let me explain that
25:13:00
before we moved to Switzerland hey hello
25:17:00
and hijack that airplane command
25:19:00
Switzerland I remember that and my dad
25:23:00
freaked he thought his project had been
25:26:00
exposed him bringing missiles into the
25:30:00
Middle East
25:31:00
so he told and my dad had an agreement
25:35:00
with the government my life due to the
25:38:00
government you have to protect my family
25:41:00
so at nine o'clock in the night before
25:44:00
we moved to Switzerland the government
25:46:00
took over
25:48:00
fence and I went the wrong way down
25:52:00
Lombard Street wheel and stoplights on
25:55:00
Ben and Gary Boulevard and we never got
25:58:00
stopped once my dad told me when we were
26:03:00
building the fence that was such a pain
26:05:00
the night before because they could not
26:07:00
figure out what I was doing drugs
26:10:00
involve no alcohol and we got to the
26:14:00
airport and my mom and my sister and the
26:17:00
three of us on a 747
26:20:00
this is 1970 they put us on the plane at
26:25:00
the very end and there was nobody else
26:28:00
in first class in the 747 and my father
26:32:00
had told me that the whole foot row of a
26:34:00
coach behind the curtain was all
26:38:00
security no one couldn't enter and come
26:41:00
pass that without being confronted we
26:44:00
got off the plane as we were like I said
26:48:00
I've never flown before basically I had
26:50:00
one plane flight and they had all of a
26:54:00
sudden my dad shows over the side door
26:56:00
and he points John parent come over here
26:59:00
and we put on the side door and we were
27:02:00
out of there in under 90 seconds
27:04:00
Reluctant was brought later and we got
27:10:00
in the car which was parked right in
27:11:00
front of the airport and we drove all
27:14:00
the way to tall bill and as you know
27:16:00
that's about 20 kilometers hit one
27:20:00
stoplight well what I didn't realize as
27:24:00
my dad later told me I was a convoy
27:26:00
there was a leaf color in a back and he
27:29:00
was controlling the stoplights of the
27:32:00
street so we never stopped because my
27:36:00
dad felt he and they were susceptible if
27:38:00
we stopped someone could come in the car
27:42:00
so chillin you were that's a great so
27:45:00
let's shift over the personal side so so
27:46:00
here you are 15 years old dude arrived
27:50:00
in Switzerland you meet other 15-year
27:53:00
others who are out of control and and so
27:57:00
you you you lived in a home not far from
27:59:00
from our school by the way our school
28:01:00
had
28:02:00
35 kids it was not a very large school
28:04:00
and there was some interesting things
28:06:00
about your home and how it was set up
28:09:00
and so forth
28:10:00
well again being so doggone naive if you
28:15:00
could picture her a duplex but not
28:17:00
side-by-side but straight the back and
28:20:00
the back house is where we live it was
28:22:00
the bigger house and my dad said there
28:25:00
was a front house that that was a Swiss
28:28:00
watch salesman told me about the house
28:38:00
and the other side that completely
28:40:00
looked at us the back of the house and
28:44:00
my dad said this is your bedroom and he
28:47:00
showed me the house and there was in the
28:49:00
basement
28:49:00
which warned him singing was a big metal
28:52:00
door with his gigantic lever is
28:55:00
underground under the basement basement
28:57:00
and my dad says Johnny don't ever move
29:00:00
try to go in that room that's one of the
29:02:00
gardening tools are kept for the owner I
29:05:00
keep them I believed them and I never
29:12:00
once tried to enter that and what that
29:15:00
interest was what is it tunnel to the
29:19:00
house across the the driveway which was
29:22:00
the security detail for not only my dad
29:25:00
and for myself and my mom and there was
29:28:00
a conference room down there where they
29:30:00
had secured communications or he can go
29:33:00
down have a meeting and then come back
29:35:00
up and as you know we saw when we were
29:39:00
they were in 2013 I opened I said can I
29:44:00
look inside that room we wandered over
29:47:00
to the house John said I got to show you
29:48:00
the house and as we were wandering
29:49:00
around the people that lived there were
29:52:00
like what are you guys doing I'll forget
29:55:00
that I figured about you've been
29:56:00
arrested yet come into the house with my
30:03:00
friends all piled in we went down to see
30:08:00
that that metal door the wine cellar
30:12:00
which is all the fresh concrete
30:15:00
with the exit now that had been poured
30:18:00
and it's very common in Europe Cold War
30:22:00
relics have either been sold off or torn
30:25:00
down I don't wanna have remnants of a
30:28:00
lot of that stuff left over that was a
30:31:00
bygone era and I can I can vouch for
30:33:00
that the house that everything is John
30:36:00
described it to a tea was there now John
30:40:00
when you were when you were there and in
30:41:00
high school you your dad would wouldn't
30:43:00
he go on the road for like four or five
30:45:00
weeks at a time and what was his cover
30:48:00
and what was he really doing develop
30:50:00
when we both this was when my dad came
30:53:00
home he got understand everything he did
30:54:00
was nonchalant family were moving to
30:59:00
Switzerland I mean that's how he said
31:01:00
I've said this one Switzerland was on
31:25:00
the map so we went there thinking my dad
31:30:00
was gonna build well
31:33:00
who's moving missiles in Iran and it's
31:42:00
well documented
31:44:00
they had 19 reactors slated to be built
31:46:00
they were going to be a huge nuclear
31:49:00
power plus they were an ally of Israel
31:52:00
so in ron was the watchdog of the Middle
31:56:00
East for Israel we know what happened
32:00:00
when the Shah left and Khomeini came in
32:02:00
and the whole thing got turned upside
32:04:00
down so in that transition of the shop
32:08:00
to Khomeini we pulled out a lot of our
32:12:00
established military that had been done
32:16:00
under the Shahs domain so I didn't my
32:23:00
dad I'll never forget he did my dad call
32:25:00
him once and he goes John tell mom
32:29:00
- sandstorm Saudi Arabia I'm thinking
32:35
that must be one heck of a sandstorm to
32:37:00
be stuck in the Middle East for six days
32:39:00
all think God knows where he was now
32:47:00
let's come back to - to the US your dad
32:51:00
was it was amongst other things one of
32:54:00
the foremost computer people in the
32:56:00
world right and tell us about how the
33:00:00
IBM I mean tying it into his IBM career
33:02:00
you know that he he was kind of
33:05:00
disassembled the computer systems set
33:08:00
him up well that this is a very
33:12:00
interesting transition because when my
33:14:00
father left the University of Minnesota
33:16:00
they rushed him out of college because
33:21:00
the Rosenbergs there was a huge
33:24:00
four-year investigation as despised they
33:29:00
figured they were gonna come after my
33:31:00
dad
33:32:00
well the glut was ahead of the spies so
33:37:00
to speak and they said to Wallace you're
33:40:00
gonna get her Greg can you doin graduate
33:42:00
the emergence of Minnesota which is a
33:44:00
former degree and I had that confirmed
33:47:00
this is after his Iowa estate and then
33:50:00
he went on exactly right they said
33:52:00
you're going to be a farmer in Iowa that
33:57:00
tell narrating my mom that you can't
34:00:00
find a job which is ludicrous so my dad
34:05:00
literally most I would act like a farmer
34:08:00
a book you'll see her picture of my dad
34:11:00
in farming and that for a year but he
34:18:00
made calculations up in the attic for
34:20:00
the gunner they didn't drop at the
34:21:00
window just like you see in the movies
34:25:00
and then I think it was during that
34:30:00
transition what my dad for God was is
34:33:00
that his father-in-law would get up at
34:35:00
four o'clock in the morning the house
34:38:00
and he would see my dad leaving 4:30 to
34:42:00
take off
34:42:00
antara go and then come back in five
34:44:00
minutes and that's when he confronted my
34:47:00
dad and he goes Wallis I smell a rat in
34:50:00
our family and I notice like this sleep
34:52:00
be around rats as trenches of World War
34:55:00
mom I used to be able to sleep with rats
34:58:00
on my faces and my father said this I'm
35:02:00
defending this country no different than
35:05:00
you did or one my grandfather backed off
35:09:00
even if something was different so then
35:13:00
when the Cold War really starting to
35:16:00
heat up
35:17:00
IBM started a division called the
35:19:00
military product school and that's how
35:22:00
my dad got recruited now what's what's
35:24:00
interesting my first researcher
35:27:00
interviewed by Milan he goes yeah didn't
35:31:00
you think your husband's had a come-up
35:33:00
weird career path that's a farmer in
35:37:00
housing the military products from I was
35:42:00
going and my mom in 2007
35:48:00
that's about 2008 2009 goes you know the
35:51:00
Wallace were than such a good farmer
35:54:00
well buddy been a good farmer so now
36:04:00
tell went when when your dad came back
36:07:00
so so John basically folks you know work
36:11:00
for Johnson & Johnson and was
36:13:00
transferred around the country and
36:14:00
ironically when he had his family was
36:19:00
transferred back to Princeton where
36:20:00
where he had a home and his dad came
36:23:00
back and this is kind of where the book
36:24:00
is set his dad came back to help him
36:26:00
build a fence and so forth but what
36:29:00
triggered things was his dad had spent a
36:31:00
lot of time in Princeton with with
36:33:00
Einstein and von Neumann and these
36:35:00
nuclear guys and and they used to meet
36:38:00
regularly and didn't John they they they
36:40:00
used to go up to the University of
36:42:00
Pennsylvania and dress up as basketball
36:44:00
players and pretend and then they would
36:46:00
sneak off and have secret meetings there
36:47:00
well what would happen let me go how
36:51:00
this whole thing even started I actually
36:53:00
thought my dad was fine
36:56:00
and Bill defense he told me what to buy
36:59:00
how much the only begs a concrete had
37:02:00
everything prepared and I picked it out
37:04:00
of the Philadelphia Airport and if you
37:07:00
know Philadelphia Airport that's highway
37:09:00
95 right there going north and south
37:12:00
we're driving in South Philly in my dad
37:16:00
sitting that are very repentantly minute
37:20:00
quietly he looks at Broad Street I'm all
37:23:00
apart of the Broad Street Bullies and my
37:26:00
dad goes John ten men and sat in the
37:29:00
basement there acted like we were on
37:30:00
basketball team and we decided how we
37:33:00
were going to deploy all these new
37:35:00
kilomitres and I'm the one what IBM
37:40:00
salesman pedagogue what were you talking
37:42:00
about
37:43:00
launching missiles he goes Johnny there
37:47:00
were ten men there and he started off
37:48:00
with Enrico Fermi he's sort of name in
37:53:00
the names and he got to the ninth one
37:55:00
and includes remember his name he goes
37:58:00
but he was from Georgia I say bad if you
38:02:00
can't remember nine sharers never gonna
38:05:00
remember number ten and he goes Johnny
38:08:00
that's the easiest is your father and I
38:12:00
literally about drove off the highway
38:14:00
Luke owns in the middle of the road
38:18:00
Johnny I got something to tell you over
38:21:00
the next few days I'm going to tell you
38:23:00
what I really did tell me to write a
38:28:00
book
38:28:00
he just said tell mom and the family
38:32:00
when we keep driving on earth you see
38:36:00
the exit for Lakehurst he says make sure
38:39:00
I tell you about Lakers that's where I
38:41:00
flew in her jables to decide that for
38:45:00
the committee meeting because he had
38:47:00
balloon responsibilities for input at
38:51:00
that meeting so that's how it all
38:54:00
started morning to the house in the next
38:59:00
morning he goes to me and he goes Johnny
39:01:00
I'm going to tell you my life because
39:03:00
I'm gonna be dead in 18 months because
39:06:00
the cancers come back I got 18 months to
39:09:00
live
39:10:00
and he died nineteen months later Wow so
39:13:00
he wanted to get it off his chest what
39:15:00
you really did tell Wow well you've
39:19:00
written a great book and everybody
39:22:00
should read it's called missile man by
39:23:00
John Clawson and I know you spent a lot
39:26:00
of time now John around the country
39:30:00
you got a publisher and you've there
39:33:00
maybe even be some movie rights that
39:35:00
you're looking at and all that well this
39:38:00
story needs to be told because as I do
39:41:00
my presentations interpreting it to
39:46:00
interpret what happened from Pearl
39:48:00
Harbor Cuban Missile Crisis Yom Kippur
39:51:00
and able Archer when we almost removed
39:54:00
in 83 if you have to put my position
39:58:00
next time what do you think happened and
40:01:00
even aside as to why you think what you
40:04:00
do because as you know in the book is
40:08:00
very very researched with a lot of
40:12:00
documentation there are a lot of
40:14:00
declassified documents that are in the
40:17:00
book that have never ever been written
40:18:00
that's why I spoke at Harvard because no
40:22:00
one has ever written about the end of
40:23:00
the Opera for war as I have yeah John
40:26:00
was just invited to back to the
40:28:00
astrophysics department at Harvard last
40:30:00
week to give a lecture there and have
40:32:00
his book put in their library it's
40:35:00
pretty cool Wow because it is so and if
40:41:00
you could just picture my dad my dad
40:43:00
didn't jump around on it all he said was
41:06:00
when siblings all agree that my dad
41:09:00
would have told me because my brother
41:11:00
was so secretive very similar to my dad
41:13:00
he never would have done this but I said
41:16:00
13 years and thousands of hours of
41:18:00
research because you couldn't write a
41:20:00
book like this I'm just saying it's what
41:22:00
my dad told me you met her a research
41:26:00
yeah well it's amazing thing carmine I
41:31:00
know is that I've had I've had so much
41:33:00
enjoyment talking to John about this
41:35:00
knowing the players and but is it
41:39:00
someone hearing this baby for the first
41:40:00
time you got you have any questions or
41:42:00
things you want in there very seldom I
41:45:00
am this quiet I am just in awe of the
41:48:00
story I mean we're talking about a
41:50:00
figure such as your father John working
41:54:00
hand in hand with which some of the
41:56:00
greatest scientists in history I mean
42:00:00
it's amazing to me that you were so
42:02:00
close and your father well obviously was
42:04:00
an amazing man but you were right there
42:06:00
and didn't even know it and I'm just
42:09:00
selling oh my god we're talking about
42:11:00
driving by and your talk your father was
42:13:00
talking with Einstein just prior saying
42:16:00
he's in this room I mean it's amazing to
42:18:00
me the stories was there ever a time
42:20:00
where your dad was home and you know
42:23:00
somebody just pulled up and said hey we
42:26:00
gotta go or got a phone call or or
42:28:00
something that just look where you
42:30:00
looked at it like you know what's
42:31:00
happening here
42:32:00
well my first memory of anything I have
42:44:00
given the weapons plant called the rad
42:46:00
lab and my dad now he said I do well it
42:55:00
was a little bit more than that they had
42:57:00
designed the first third ammonia Muller
43:00:00
computer the kids in New York they
43:03:00
shipped it to California in three
43:06:00
18-wheelers and we were in a convoy I
43:10:00
was my mom was pregnant with me as they
43:12:00
drove this convoy I can just like what
43:16:00
the heck is this
43:18:00
Ramar and that is the 704 computer who
43:23:00
designed by my father and John not
43:25:00
knowing that thermonuclear calculations
43:29:00
because it had a store memory program in
43:32:00
it and a nuke in a new code now you
43:35:00
think the stored memory go
43:37:00
that's a everyone knows about Miller now
43:40:00
back to head the fifties as was unheard
43:43:00
of so that machine was also to calculate
43:48:00
satellite coverage and satellites were
43:52:00
fired it's called the satellite computer
43:55:00
as well so when Sputnik was fired I
43:58:00
remember as a three year old we had a
44:00:00
two bedroom house with four kids I slept
44:04:00
all over from the floor the living room
44:07:00
under the beds and I'll never forget the
44:11:00
military police came to the house they
44:14:00
gave my dad the bomb and this made sense
44:19:00
that something had been shot and my dad
44:23:00
and went to the lab got on that computer
44:25:00
and said relax everybody it's a
44:28:00
satellite not a missile
44:30:00
this was the 1957 just after that NASA
44:35:00
was born when we moved down to Long
44:39:00
Beach so that my brother remembers he
44:43:00
was 10 at at the time he remembers
44:45:00
seeing guys with rifles on the porch now
44:48:00
I was three fooling around it was late I
44:51:00
didn't want him to go my mom had to pry
44:54:00
me off his legs and they got my dad that
44:58:00
was the first memory that I had
45:01:00
something was coming I have took one
45:12:00
time you know what he said ask your mom
45:23:00
John I have you know we were a close
45:26:00
community the American community and
45:28:00
Switzerland and there
45:29:00
and I actually remember John said I have
45:32:00
a vague image of story I already looked
45:34:00
like it and the weird thing is after
45:36:00
John came out with the story a number of
45:39:00
us have had further reunions and now
45:41:00
we're all wondering what our dad's did
45:42:00
my dad said he worked for General
45:44:00
Electric what did he really I don't know
45:49:00
there are a couple of other questionable
45:52:00
dad in there that we weren't sure with
45:53:00
your honor how it was with so gratifying
45:57:00
is that I've heard from now on retired
46:00:00
general is responsible for the nuclear
46:04:00
the nukes and NORAD which is like the
46:07:00
inventory and he may simply says your
46:11:00
father helped that were a Burt nuclear
46:13:00
war that's just and they sit back and
46:17:00
reflect that's a pretty how do I say it
46:22:00
has a lot of responsibility to have on
46:24:00
your shoulders and then he says your
46:27:00
father was so secretive only a few
46:29:00
people even knew he existed he was like
46:33:00
the ultimate secret weapon that the
46:37:00
government kept and that when he said is
46:41:00
this I won't commit my life to you in
46:43:00
the government but you got to protect
46:46:00
the family and that was his his they
46:50:00
only had one with the country so that's
46:54:00
awesome John well listen we for us
46:57:00
independent men are innovators it's it's
47:00:00
kind of fun to have a interesting story
47:03:00
today
47:04:00
they showed a real a real innovator and
47:06:00
the book is missile man by John cloths
47:10:00
and it's it's a great read I'm telling
47:12:00
you we'll enjoy it I hope carmine you
47:16:00
get a chance to read it too cuz it's
47:17:00
it's a it's a terrific read it's really
47:20:00
a great story on the technical level in
47:22:00
the personal Santa Anna thanks one last
47:25:00
little stronger of course but had been
47:30:00
diagnosed with cancer and he was in Palo
47:33:00
Alto he gone to church with my brother
47:36:00
and while leaving church a gentleman by
47:39:00
the name of Jean and all you've probably
47:41:00
heard that embel computer
47:44:00
he work with my dad on a variety of IBM
47:47:00
projects in R&D; and he saw my father and
47:52:00
he gave him a big hug and genial was
47:55:00
very successful head of variety of
47:57:00
computer companies and he'd go in to
48:00:00
give my dad a hug he goes Wallis for the
48:03:00
greatest computer mind alive I need to
48:06:00
have you with my company and he was
48:08:00
maybe a price any price you want I'll
48:11:00
pay ya and my aunt says I'm sorry I just
48:15:00
can't move forward and he just kind of
48:19:00
pensively him kind of walked off to the
48:20:00
side and said Jean it's good to see you
48:23:00
but aim be endorsed by Jean and all to
48:27:00
say you were his computer mines and he
48:30:00
wouldn't hire him at any price my dad
48:32:00
walks away I think I remember you saying
48:34:00
the figure of like 10 million bucks so
48:36:00
we're not talking about a small yes the
48:38:00
price they said no but that's the type
48:43:00
of respect he had from the upper
48:47:00
echelons of the scientific community but
48:50:00
he had no ego and when you talk about
48:55:00
the scientific community back then we're
48:57:00
talking about some some historical
49:00:00
figures which is just so awesome about
49:02:00
the story hard for you to see it my
49:10:00
father started a consulting company
49:11:00
called in biotech
49:14:00
so only business card I've ever found in
49:16:00
my dad which one he was diagnosed with
49:19:00
cancer and wouldn't show I could show
49:23:00
him yeah he's got the shape of like a
49:28:00
missile and then a teen like a cross oh
49:31:00
yeah I
49:32:00
he understands that space the cross
49:36:00
religion was very important to him and
49:38:00
this is what he says he's a consultant
49:40:00
on computer systems storage products
49:45:00
high-tech application what the heck yeah
49:51:00
exported products that was probably the
49:54:00
precursor
49:55:00
the cloud yeah right so and this was in
49:59:00
the early eighties so that's the kind of
50:02:00
mind we're talking about but I'm just
50:07:00
glad I've had the opportunity to
50:08:00
celebrate his life and my mom's life
50:11:00
yeah going forward well you all you all
50:17:00
gave such a sacrifice you know your dad
50:19:00
and your mom and you guys too moving
50:21:00
around the world not just the country I
50:22:00
mean the things that your dad did like
50:24:00
you said to protect his family he seems
50:27:00
like he was just a fantastic guy all
50:30:00
around was is that I'll never forget
50:37:00
my dad told my mom in the early eighties
50:41:00
he thinks he's being put out to pasture
50:44:00
but I'd be him and that he goes I would
50:47:00
have my last hurrah and I'm gonna go to
50:49:00
England on a research project and I'm
50:53:00
thinking I was in college and my
51:01:00
girlfriend and so he moves to England
51:06:00
he's in a research project why what he's
51:10:00
been doing is 160 missiles in Virginia
51:16:00
because that's what in Russia brought in
51:20:00
their big ss-20 missiles up in the
51:22:00
Eastern Bloc and we brought the big
51:24:00
persons and on cruise missiles in in
51:27:00
England so some my dad is bringing in a
51:31:00
hundred and sixty cruise missiles in the
51:34:00
England and that's all documented and if
51:37:00
you remember right in history right in
51:40:00
the streets because Europe thought that
51:42:00
they were going to be the new killer
51:44:00
explosion backyard from Russia in
51:47:00
America and the house thinking my dad
51:50:00
used to yell at me for firecrackers xlc
52:00:00
but the guy was and everybody just
52:02:00
believe
52:08:00
in the book I show how when Ronald
52:11:00
Reagan became president he was going to
52:13:00
let Russia fully know what our plans
52:16:00
were so I didn't yeah it's a testament
52:22:00
to the cold war on their lives that
52:25:00
people lived to keep the world safe yeah
52:28:00
so we appreciate there's a lot of
52:32:00
sacrifice there too so we appreciate
52:34:00
everything that's awesome very very
52:44:00
great so a new twist on innovation and
52:49:00
stuff but John thanks for so much for
52:50:00
taking the time out today
52:52:00
are you kidding us it's been a real
52:54:00
honor to do this and to celebrate my mom
52:57:00
and dad's life we appreciate it and all
53:01:00
you listeners out there this is such a
53:04:00
such great story go on out and and
53:07:00
certainly if you can't purchase a
53:08:00
missile man we'd love to hear about it
53:10:00
by John Clausen it's I'm already on
53:12:00
Amazon ordering it up it's pretty cool I
53:13:00
can't wait to read it myself from Warren
53:15:00
thanks for thanks for bringing John on
53:18:00
John thanks for spending some time with
53:19:00
us it's really it's been a real pleasure
53:23:00
and hope you really enjoy it and that
53:27:00
stories right from the heart thank you
53:31:00
so much thanks again guys thank you