Armed Forces International News - January 2008

US Report Declassifies Vietnam War Intelligence

Posted by Paul Fiddian on 09/01/2008 - 19:42:46

A US National Security Agency-issued report highlights how, during the Vietnam War, fake calls were made by North Vietnam with a view to making the US military attack its own servicemen

Study Issued After New Call for Data Declassification

The report – which extends to 500 pages – was released in reply to a “mandatory declassification” request, according to the Federation of American Scientists. Beginning with a message sent by Ho Chi Minh (the then-leader of Vietnam) to Russia’s Stalin in 1945, it covers the conflict from a “signals intelligence” point of view.

Report: North Vietnam Tapped Into US Military Comms

According to the report - titled ‘Spartans in Darkness’ - intelligence groups in North Vietnam were occasionally successful in infiltrating US military communications while the Vietnam War was in progress.

Several times, "the communists were able, by communicating on Allied radio nets, to call in Allied artillery or air strikes on American units", the report described.

Report: Gulf of Tolkin Incident Did Not Occur

The FAS’ Steven Aftergood told news agency AFP that he had never before heard of such a deviation having taken place. He added, however, that new evidence on the infamous Gulf of Tolkin Incident – which occurred in 1964 – represented to him the “most historically significant feature.”

The Gulf of Tonkin Incident, in which, it was claimed, North Vietnamese forces attacked American destroyers, contributed to then-US President Johnson’s decision to inject additional troop support into the conflict.

The report’s author, said the FAS, “demonstrates that not only is it not true...that the evidence of an attack was 'unimpeachable,' but that to the contrary, a review of the classified signals intelligence proves that 'no attack happened that night’”.

This, said Aftergood, represents a “dramatic reversal of the historical record”. He added: "There were previous indications of this but this is the first time we have seen the complete study."

The Vietnam War took place over the decade between 1965 and 1975.

In total, more than 1.4 million lives were lost among the armed forces taking part.

Source – Armed Forces International’s US Correspondent

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