NY Times reports: NSA falsified Gulf of Tonkin intercepts

David G. Koontz david_koontz at xtra.co.nz
Sun Oct 30 04:24:14 EST 2005

Perry E. Metzger wrote:
> http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/31/politics/31war.html?ex=1288414800&en=e2f5e341687a2ed9&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss
>    WASHINGTON, Oct. 28 - The National Security Agency has kept secret
>    since 2001 a finding by an agency historian that during the Tonkin
>    Gulf episode, which helped precipitate the Vietnam War,
>    N.S.A. officers deliberately distorted critical intelligence to
>    cover up their mistakes, two people familiar with the historian's
>    work say.
>    The historian's conclusion is the first serious accusation that
>    communications intercepted by the N.S.A., the secretive
>    eavesdropping and code-breaking agency, were falsified so that they
>    made it look as if North Vietnam had attacked American destroyers
>    on Aug. 4, 1964, two days after a previous clash.


The National Security Archive

The Gulf of Tonkin Incident, 40 Years Later
Flawed Intelligence and the Decision for War in Vietnam

Signals Intercepts, Cited at Time, Prove Only August 2nd Battle, Not 
August 4; Purported Second Attack Prompted Congressional Blank Check
for War

Johnson-McNamara Tapes Show Readiness to Escalate, Even on Suspect 
Intel; Top Aides Knew of Mistaken Signals, but Welcomed Justification
for Vote

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 132

Edited by John Prados
Posted August 4, 2004


"...Thus the U.S. bombing of North Vietnam went forward based on the 
mistaken belief in a second attack in the Gulf of Tonkin. In a certain 
sense, because the resolution that passed Congress was used to justify 
the U.S. military commitment, the entire Vietnam War can be said to have 
been based on a misunderstanding. Just over a month afterward, when 
another pair of American warships in the Gulf of Tonkin also thought 
they had come under attack, LBJ began to express doubts about the 
reality of the August incident. In 1997, in Hanoi, Robert McNamara, in a 
conversation with Vietnamese Commander General Vo Nguyen Giap, also 
concluded that the August 4, 1964, incident had never occurred. That is 
now the general consensus among historians of the Vietnam War."

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