CIA documents reveal secret aspects of Vietnam War

CIA report cover

CIA report cover

The CIA has released a six-volume internal history of its involvement in Vietnam prior to and during the Second Indochina War (usually referred to in the US as the Vietnam War). The release of the documents’ is the long-awaited result of a Freedom of Information Act request by intelligence historian and National Security Archive research fellow John Prados. The documents, which are available online in the National Security Archive’s Electronic Briefing Book No. 283, detail the CIA’s activities in Vietnam from the early 1950s, and provide what appears to be the most complete account to-date of the Agency’s operations during the US war in South and North Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Among other revelations, the released documents show that the CIA estimated as early as 1954 that Ngo Dinh Diem, the US-appointed dictator of South Vietnam, would be unable to gain the trust and support of the Vietnamese people in the South. Diem was eventually deposed in a violent coup, organized with the support of the Kennedy administration, after having failed to gain genuine popular backing in the South, despite intense electoral involvement by the CIA (also detailed in the released files). The documents also show that Diem’s brother, Ngo Dinh Nhu, was essentially a CIA informant from as early as 1952.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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