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20 December 2015

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Thomas

Thank you, the success story of human intelligence by mastering human nature.

Merry Christmas to you and Mrs. Turcopolier.

turcopolier

Thomas

BTW, I caught these people. pl

tv

Col:
What was the final disposition of these people?
Turned over to the RVN government?

turcopolier

tv

Yes. pl

Joe100

Col Lang -

I recall reading many years back that the SOG insertions were compromised, although my recollection was that this was via a high-level North Vietnamese asset in the RVN government office that was kept informed of SOG insertions.

If insertions were compromised, was the office cell you describe above also involved?

turcopolier

joe100

We never informed anyone in the RVN government of our operations. The insertions were compromised in our headquarters as I described. where did you read that? pl

turcopolier

Joe 100

In September, 1972

"Army MI still had a counterintelligence polygraph facility in Saigon. This was the same office that had conducted the earlier examinations. A couple of the warrant officer polygraphists were still on hand who had participated in the examinations. They remembered them well because the evidence had been clear that these “subjects” were enemy agents. They had turned the exams over to SOG and had no idea what happened after that. They were astonished that nothing had happened. They readily agreed to reexamine these subjects.
The first was “Mr. Ben,” the colonel’s driver. Lang told him that STDAT-158 would close soon and that the colonel wanted to get him a job with the Defense Attaché’s office after the US withdrawal was complete. He told “Mr. Ben” that for this to happen a polygraph examination would be necessary. “Mr. Ben” did not seem very concerned with that. Lang had been sure that would be the case. After all, “Mr. Ben” had “beaten” the last one.
The polygraphists talked to him for three days. They asked him hundreds of questions. They began by interviewing him as to his “life story.” After the first couple of hours, the head examiner came to talk to Lang in the usual little room watching the examination from behind a “one way” mirror. This warrant officer said that the “Mr. Ben” of the previous year had told an identical tale of his life from the time of his employment by SOG, but this year’s “Mr. Ben” had evidently lived a completely different life before he hired on with SOG. According to his new story he had been born in a different province, grown up in a different place, and gone to different schools. It seemed that he had been so sure that the “security review” crisis had passed that he had forgotten his previous story. Both the stories were completely false. Deception was indicated on both.
Over the course of the following days, a portrait of “Mr. Ben” emerged from the mass of subtle, indirect questions he was asked. “Mr. Ben” was an officer of the NVA. He had been infiltrated into SOG to direct the activities of the circle of agents delimited by the ten personnel jackets. He had been in place for at least four years. This corresponded nicely with the disastrous improvement in enemy ability to anticipate SOG operations.
Lang now saw him in a different light. He was not a chauffeur. He was a colleague, and a skilled, brave one at that. By the end of the third day, “Mr. Ben” was really upset, but Lang thought that Lieutenant Colonel Ben’s (as he was now known to be) natural desire to believe that he had once again prevailed would make it possible to keep him calm enough to get him back to the headquarters. And, so it was. Congratulations, and thanks from the polygraphists were useful, especially since they made a point of telling the little man that there were a “few minor points,” but nothing really important. “You must be nervous...” one said to him. “Don’t worry. You did fine…”
He and all his apparat were arrested simultaneously the next morning by agents of the Vietnamese Army Security Service. What happened to them after that, Lang went out of his way not to know." From my memoir, "Tattoo" pl

Thomas

Sir,

Good Job and a fascinating story.

Fred82

Col Lang sir,

How many VC/NVA disinformation and/or covert influence operations did you observe or have first hand dealings with?

turcopolier

fred82

They did not do that in SEA. Their underground political apparat was pervasive and backed up its control of people with agitprop teams who were savage and merciless in maintaining control both in areas under government control and in areas that the VC actually governed out in the boonies. north Vietnamese IO ops were devoted to Europe and North America where they were very successful in political campaigns and in the MSM. pl

Joe100

Col Lang

I read this in an SOF article - probably in about the mid-1980s.

Such a clearance process seemed plausible to me, as in late 1969 I established a more effective artillery support process for Marine recon and Army SOF units working out of Danang when they were within 1st Division artillery range - which was quite some distance given the 175 guns at An Hoa. Most recon units worked within a map grid "box" (mostly 3 by 2 kilometers) - that was plotted at relevant fire support units to avoid friendly fire.

Perhaps this article reflected a cover story to mask the agent network responsible for operational compromises - possibly to cover up SOG's responsibility for this security lapse?

Joe100

Col Lang -

Most interesting!

I wonder what other units had operations compromised by similar agent networks? During my time in Danang I don't recall any Vietnamese civilians with access to the handful of operations centers I worked in or visited. We had many Vietnamese civilians within my organizational perimeter during daytime to wash clothes, etc. and I can't imagine that some were not VC agents.

I think the SST community is eagerly awaiting publication of "Tattoo".

turcopolier

joe100

After the war when I had time to do so, I did some research on this subject. There were successful NVA/VC HUMINT penetrations at all echelons all over the country in all the US armed forces and in CIA run projects like MACVSOG once had been. It was inevitable in a civil war in which North Vietnamese refugees were all over SVN. The penetration of MACVSOG headquarter was just one of the more spectacular instances, but the SVN government was heavily penetrated. None of the NVA penetrants in MACVSOG had access to classified information but the American clerical people in our headquarters did. There was a reason that ARVN police general shot the fellow in the head at Tet 1968 out in the street. The deaded one was a LTC in NVA intelligence and the South Vietnamese police had been hunting him a long time. Also, the US desire to hire local people to work in mess halls and the like gave the other side a great source of information as to what the troops were talking about. It was clear to me after looking at this that every separate headquarters and cantonment in VN had been penetrated. The NVA had a marvelous SIGINT operation inside SVN, based in underground installations out in the woods and a brilliant 2 watt manual Morse HF network that worked on the ground lobe of the signal with relays every few miles. This network could pass traffic as far as Hanoi in four or five hours. pl

turcopolier

joe100

There were NO MACVSOG operations within SVN but there were other USSF led operations emplyoing native troops within SVN. No-fire boxes were required to protect these guys from friendly fire as you never really knew exactly where they were. This was before GPS and they did not want to tell you anyway. I don't think this had anything to do with HUMINT penetrations except that SF don't trust anyone but their own, kinda like marines. pl

Joe100

Col Lang

Is any analysis of NVA penetration of US RVN facilities and operations and associated communications been published or is otherwise publicly available? It would seem that the lessons here (learned or not) would remain quite relevant today.

I also wonder if any NVA networks extended to key outside operations like those at Udorn and Okinawa (B-52 ops)?

turcopolier

joe100

I read a lot of this stuff 40 years ago. It probably still exists in service school libraries. You could try FOIAing it. pl

mike

joe100-

There was reportedly an NVA sapper attack at Udorn in 68. So I would assume they had networks there.

Okinawa and Guam, probably no Viet networks, but local leftwingers certainly had international contacts that could have passed info on to Hanoi.

Joe100

Thanks!

If I find anything useful I will post references on an open thread

turcopolier

joe100

Try the Pentagon Library, the War Colleges, The CAC at Ft. Leavenworth, the other staff colleges and whatever it is called at Ft. Bragg now. The USMA library. These libraries rarely throw things away. If you come up with something interesting, write me and I will make a special thread for you. pl

Joe100

Thanks for the suggested research directions!

Digging into to this will take me a while..

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