March 18
The Intelligence Community and the War in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia during the US escalation, 1965

This document-heavy session deals with intelligence aspects of the US involvement in Vietnam. We begin with Harold Ford providing an overview of the issue and historians William Leary and Mark Moyar, who examine two operations exclusively handled by the CIA.

We then move on to five CIA documents from the time, that explore various aspects of CIA analysis of the conflict at various stages between 1955 and 1969. Should we view Vietnam as an intelligence failure? Please PRINT OUT the documents; we will be discussing them in the second half of class.

Finally, we'll be looking at how LBJ used (and misused) intelligence. Please print out these transcripts.



Harold Ford, CIA and the Vietnam Policymakers (episode 2)


William Leary, "CIA Air Operations in Laos, 1955-1974," Studies in Intelligence (Winter 1999-2000), pp. 71-86.


Mark Moyar, Phoenix and Birds of Prey, sourcebook


bullet One of the first CIA estimates of the situation in Southeast Asia, shortly after the Geneva Accords
bullet The CIA gives a comprehensive view of the situation in Southeast Asia, 1962
bullet A joint CIA-Defense Intelligence agency memo on the military situation as the Johnson administration expanded the number of US ground troops, spring 1965
bullet A  CIA analysis of Tet, 1968; the State Department interprets the situation a few months later

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