Secret Army, Secret War: Washington's Tragic Spy Operation in North Vietnam (Naval Institute Special Warfare)

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9781557508188: Secret Army, Secret War: Washington's Tragic Spy Operation in North Vietnam (Naval Institute Special Warfare)
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In a disastrous effort to undermine the North Vietnamese, the CIA in 1961 began to parachute small teams of Vietnamese covert agents into North Vietnam. By 1964 the Pentagon was certain those men had been killed, captured, or "turned" to work for the North and began sending new agents north. Dubbed Operation Plan 34-Alpha, this renewed effort was part of a shadowy covert action force known as the Studies and Observations Group (SOG). By 1968 some five hundred agents had been lost in the North. Their families were told they were dead by SOG officials, who did nothing to determine their whereabouts or seek their return. Twenty years later more than three hundred of those agents were released from North Vietnamese prisons, and Washington's darkest secret was uncovered. Using recently declassified government files as well as personal interviews with the Vietnamese commandos and CIA and SOG participants, former army intelligence officer and Defense Intelligence Agency analyst Sedgwick Tourison unravels for the first time the tragically flawed and costly operation that helped trigger - deliberately, most believe - the Vietnam War.
Shunned by the U.S. government, the surviving former commandos, some imprisoned for up to thirty years, tell remarkably similar stories. Their teams were often met by North Vietnamese soldiers at supposedly secret drop zones and executed or imprisoned, with many being forced to broadcast disinformation to their U.S. handlers. Stunning testimony by former CIA and SOG officials interviewed by the author reveals that the agent drops continued for years after it was known the program had been compromised.
Were they deliberately used by U.S. intelligence officials as bait to push Hanoi into war and later to test U.S. communications security, or were they merely victims of a successful North Vietnamese counterintelligence operation?

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Synopsis:

Former Army intelligence officer and Defense Intelligence Agency analyst "Wick" Tourison unravels the tragically flawed and costly operation that according to many analysts helped trigger, the Vietnam War. Some b&w photos. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.

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