Show Bookstore Categories

A Secret History of the Vietnam War Vol. 5: The Way We Do Things

Black Entry Operations Into North Vietnam

ByU.S. Government

Usually printed in 3 - 5 business days
This volume covers the ill-fated program in which the Saigon CIA Station inserted agent teams into North Vietnam. It is an object lesson in what happens when eagerness to please trumps objective self-analysis, when the urge to preserve a can-do self-image delays the recognition of a failed--indeed, archaic--operational technique. The story of covert penetrations of North Vietnam can be traced to the CIA's approach to HUMINT collection against closed and hostile societies. The earliest correspondence about infiltrating intelligence and guerrilla operatives into North Vietnam makes no reference to this experience, which began in Europe during World War II. The program against Hanoi adopted agent infiltration by parachute as the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) had practiced it in Europe during World War II. CIA then modified--one might say diluted--it, in deference to the impossibility of arranging the ground reception parties used by the OSS, in order to apply it against the Soviet Union, China, and North Korea. It may be that previous results encouraged William Colby and CIA superiors to think that they had finally found the formula for success. Whatever the considerations that led to its application in North Vietnam, no sign has been found that they conducted a serious search for an alternative. Indeed, there may have existed no such alternative, using either human or technical means. There are things that, in a given place at a given time, are simply impossible.


Publication Date
Jul 18, 2020
All Rights Reserved - Standard Copyright License
By (author): U.S. Government


Interior Color
Black & White
US Letter (8.5 x 11 in / 216 x 279 mm)

Ratings & Reviews