Tourison, Sedgwick. Secret Army, Secret War: Washington's Tragic Spy Operation in North Vietnam. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1995.
Bates, NIPQ 12.2, calls this book a "damning account of our almost entirely ineffective use of agent teams inserted by land, sea, and air into North Vietnam from 1961 until 1967.... [T]he North Vietnamese ... duplicated the British 'Double Cross' achievements by capturing most teams within hours or days of their insertion and convincing many of the captured radio operators to transmit what Hanoi wanted.... Secret Army, Secret War is extensively documented."
Gaddy, Periscope 21.2, notes that "[i]gnoring the evidence [of the capture of the teams and the turning of the radio operators], SOG officials continued to carry the infiltrators on the books, to resupply them, even to reinforce them, pursuant to the messages drafted in Hanoi." For Crerar, AIJ 16.2/3, this is "a fascinating, depressing and tragic story" that is "highly recommended." Similarly, Reske, NIPQ 12.3, finds Secret Army, Secret War "[e]minently readable, well sourced, disquieting, and highly recommended." Unsinger, MI 24.1, agrees, noting that the "style keeps one's attention and the story, while sad, is worth discovering."
In a review article that stands well on its own, Ronnie E. Ford, I&NS 11.2, focuses less on the 34 Alpha operations per se and more on Tourison's linking of these activities and DESOTO intelligence collection operations to the Gulf of Tonkin incidents and the follow-on Congressional action. Ford regards Tourison's work as "a worthy addition to the history of the Vietnam War and a necessary addition to the existing Vietnam War intelligence literature."
Tourison, Sedgwick D. Talking with Victor Charlie: An Interrogator's Story. New York: Ivy Books, 1991.
Tegtmeier, at http://www.lbjlib.utexas.edu/shwv/articles/rrl-faq.htm, says that this account of the author's tour in Vietnam as a MACV interrogator has "[l]ots of information on the role of military intelligence, plus some surprising material on the Cu Chi tunnels [and] the Tonkin Gulf incident."
Tovar, B. Hugh. "Vietnam Revisited: The United States and Diem's Death." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 5, no. 3 (Fall 1991): 291-312.
"The overthrow of President [Ngo Dinh] Diem constituted the opening of the floodgates of American involvement in Indochina.... By intruding as it did -- crassly and blind to the consequences -- the burden of responsibility for winning or losing was removed once and for all from South Vietnamese shoulders, and placed upon America's own."
Turkoly-Joczik, Robert L. [LTCOL/USA (Ret.)] "SOG: An Overview." Special Operations.Com. [Available at: http://www.specialoperations.com/MACVSOG/Overview.htm]
The focus here is on the ground reconnaissance component, Operations 35 (OPS-35), of the U.S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam's (MACV) Studies and Observation Group (SOG). OPS-35 conducted cross-border ground reconnaissance operations into Laos and Cambodia. In addition, it also had the task of "locating and freeing friendly personnel captured or missing in action, assisting in the conduct of PSYOPS, and performing other tasks such as prisoner apprehension and equipment retrieval."
U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Air America: Upholding the Airmen's Bond, at: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/historical-collection-publications/air-america/03431_Pub.pdf.
"Overview": "A fascinating assembly of documents revealing the role that Air America, the Agency's proprietary airline, played in the search and rescue of pilots and personnel during the Vietnam War. The collection has personal accounts by the rescued pilots and thank you letters as well as commendations from various officials. It includes, for the first time, direct information about Lima Site 85 in Laos and a possible hijacking attempt in the 1964 crash of Flight 908. Other elements include the airline's role in the final evacuations from Da Nang and Saigon in April, 1975."
See Jeff Carlton, "CIA Documents Shine Light on Secretive Air America," Associated Press, 15 Apr. 2009, for a report on the 18 April 2009 symposium ("Air America: Upholding the Airmen's Bond.") at the University of Texas at Dallas at which these documents were released.
See also, U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, Stories of Sacrifice and Dedication: Civil Air Transport, Air America and the CIA and CIA's Clandestine Services Histories of Civil Air Transport.
U.S. Department of State. Office of the Historian. Gen. ed., John P. Glennon. Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968. Click for listed volumes in this series.
U.S. Department of State. Office of the Historian. Gen. ed., Edward C. Keefer. Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969-1976. Click for listed volumes in this series.
Veith, George J. Code-Name Bright Light: The Untold Story of U.S. POW Rescue Efforts During the Vietnam War. New York: Free Press, 1998. New York: Dell Publishing, 1998. [pb]
Herrington, historynet.com, 12 Aug. 2001 (originally published in Vietnam magazine), notes that this "book is primarily the story of ... the Joint Personnel Recovery Center (JPRC). Veith reconstructs the supersecret JPRC's efforts, using declassified documents and interviews with its members, and readers learn much of what went on behind the scenes as dedicated American military personnel tried in vain to locate and liberate missing comrades." The book's "major flaw" is that the author "err[s] on the side of completeness," but "[m]uch of the information that has found its way into print is probably deeply flawed."
Warner, Michael. "'US Intelligence and Vietnam': The Official Version(s)." Intelligence and National Security 25, no. 5 (Oct. 2010): 611-637.
"The picture emerging from the declassified official histories is one of a crowd of largely independent intelligence campaigns working simultaneously against the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong targets.... Intelligence miscues did not lose the Vietnam War for the Americans and South Vietnamese, and good intelligence staved off collapse and defeat, but much better intelligence is required to win 'asymmetric' wars."
Weed, A.C., III. "Army Special Forces and Vietnam." Military Review 49 (Aug 1969): 63-68.
Willbanks, James H. A Raid Too Far: Operation Lam Son 719 and Vietnamization in Laos. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 2014.
Hanson, Military Review (Jan.-Feb. 2015), sees this as "well-researched and engaging." The book provides "meticulous tactical and operational details and analysis of the corps-level attack by the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) on North Vietnamese military installations inside Laos in early 1971." The author "uses Lam Son 719 as a vehicle to expound on the successes and failures of President Richard Nixon's policy of Vietnamization as a whole."
Woods, Randall B. Shadow Warrior: William Egan Colby and the CIA. New York: Basic Books, 2013.
Clark comment: This work has been met with widely divergent opinions.
To Goulden, Washington Times, 10 May 2013, and Intelligencer 20.1 (Spring-Summer 2013), this book "relies heavily upon secondary sources and offers very little fresh information about Colby. Further, Woods drops some conspiratorial hints that should raise eyebrows among persons familiar with the intelligence world."
Coffey, Studies 58.1 (Mar. 2014), also complains that the author "relies heavily on secondary sources -- including the spreading bad habit among spy historians of quoting Tim Weiner's dubious Legacy of Ashes.... Regrettably, Woods's work needed fact-checking; it contained some 30 factual errors, a number of them of the easy-to-know variety.... Other errors required some digging but are more consequential."
Conversely, Klehr, WSJ (13 Apr. 2013), says that the author's "carefully researched biography ... provides a favorable but critical evaluation of a man whose undeniable talents did not prepare him to lead America's most prominent spy agency at its most perilous moment." For Schwab, IJI&C 27.2 (Summer 2014), this is a "richly textured, nuanced, and comprehensive biography." And a Publishers Weekly reviewer (14 Jan. 2013), finds that "Wood's thoroughly entertaining portrait reveals plenty of warts, as well as a thoughtful character, surprisingly liberal and sophisticated about the limitations of CIA derring-do."
Walker, Wilson Quarterly (Spring 2013), calls Shadow Warrior an "excellent and thorough biography" that provides a "subtle and sympathetic analysis.... Woods crafts a fascinating tale of an American life that was shaped by World War II, the Cold War, and the Vietnam War, and the challenge of remaining a decent and liberal human being while fighting these conflicts ruthlessly."
Young, Darryl. The Element of Surprise: Navy SEALS in Vietnam. New York: Ballantine, 1990. New York: Ivy Books, 1990.
From publisher: "For six months in 1970, fourteen men in Juliett Platoon of the Navy's SEAL Team One -- incuding the author -- carried out over a hundred missions in the Mekong Delta without a single platoon fatality. Their primary mission: kidnap enemy soldiers -- alive -- for interrogation."
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