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U.S. intelligence activities in Asia-Pacific

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For more information, see: United States intelligence community.

This article deals with activities of the United States intelligence community in the Asia/Pacific geopolitical area. It includes those of the Central Intelligence Agency, [1] but is certainly not limited to it; there is an increasing amount of multiple agency and international activity dealing with counterterrorism and piracy. Signals intelligence collection takes place from aircraft, ships and submarines in international space.

In this region we include East Asia, Central Asia (except Afghanistan), Southeast Asia (but not South Asia and Southwest Asia), and Oceania. East Asia includes China, Japan, Korea and the Philippines. Central Asia includes Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Southeast Asia includes Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. We include Myanmar (Burma) in South Asia. Oceania includes Australia, New Guinea, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

For Afghanistan, Myanmar/Burma, South Asia and Southwest Asia, see CIA activities by region: Near East, North Africa, South and Southwest Asia.

East Asia


Current intelligence relations with China are complex, reflecting the varied interests of two major powers. While China obviously is a target, there also have been joint programs, most notably when it was in the mutual interest of both countries to track Soviet missile tests after the U.S. lost monitoring stations as a result of the 1979 Iranian Islamic Revolution.

China and the U.S. have quite different ideas about the legitimacy of technical intelligence collection outside national borders. The U.S. position is that it has every right to fly or sail near China, as long as it stays outside the 12-mile limit. China, however, regards this as espionage and has harassed U.S. collection platforms, even resulting in a midair collision, death of a Chinese pilot, and the emergency landing and internment of a U.S. aircraft in China. This situation is complicated by the accepted international convention of 200-mile Air Defense Identification Zones, in which there is a right to challenge and identify aircraft.

China 1962

NIE 13-2-62 predicted the Chinese could explode a plutonium bomb by 1963, with an accelerated program, otherwise several years later. The assumption was that uranium enrichment would be to the level needed for plutonium breeding, not HEU. As of the time of the study, the IC believed China had no current capabilities with missiles, had mined and concentrated a substantial quantity of uranium, although there was no hard evidence that weapons-grade uranium or plutonium was being made. Tension between the PRC and USSR was such that it was not estimated the PRC would get Soviet help on nuclear weapons development.[2]

A facility at Lachou was judged incomplete, and it was unclear if it was a gaseous diffusion plant for producing weapons-grade uranium. If so, it could not be ready before 1966. It was estimated that a plutonium-producing reactor could be ready by 1962. [2] The editors at the National Security Archive made reasonable inferences, in spite of excisions from the document, that the CIA had made considerable progress that the Agency had made in using sophisticated collection methods--satellite photography and U-2 flights by Chinese Nationalist pilots… CIA did not know that the installation at Lanzhou was in fact a gaseous diffusion plant that would soon be ready for operations. [3]

China 1964

See also: Materials MASINT
See also: Radiofrequency MASINT

The first Chinese nuclear test was in 1964. [4]

China 1996

Intelligence analysis

According to Bill Gertz of the Washington Times, a CIA intelligence memorandum dated 14 September 1996, entitled "China and Pakistan Discuss US Démarche on Nuclear Assistance", Chinese and Pakistani officials met to discuss the implications of a U.S. démarche to China, which objected to Chinese transfers of nuclear- and missile-related equipment to Pakistan. He reported that an intercept in August indicated was to be delivered on 2 September. A Chinese official questioned about this claimed not to know the final end user at the Pakistani Atomic Energy Commission. It appears it was a partial delivery.

Gertz wrote that the Chinese told Pakistan that they needed proper end user certificates for this sale and future dual-use shipments. China was reputed to have vowed to discuss the certificates only with a "third party" -- apparently the US -- probably to demonstrate that Beijing is complying with its May commitment. Further document sharing would require approval of the Pakistani president or prime minister. A Pakistani official suggested possible language for the false end user certificates to make it appear that one item -- possibly the diagnostic equipment -- was intended for the safeguarded Chasma nuclear power plants which Chinese firms are building.

The intercept indicates that Pakistan also suggested to the Chinese that all remaining contracts, apparently for facilities not under International Atomic Energy Agency supervision, be canceled and new ones drawn up naming unobjectionable end users. A Pakistani official claimed the Chinese reacted positively to the idea, but added this kind of agreement is "dangerous." Such a subterfuge probably would require the approval of senior Chinese Government leaders [5]

PRC 1999


For activities that began before the formation of the CIA or its involvement in clandestine activities, see U.S. intelligence involvement with World War II Japanese war criminals. Some of the relationships established continued under the CIA.

Japan 1950s-1960s

CIA gave money to support the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan during the 1950s and 1960s[6], supporting Nobusuke Kishi and Okinori Kaya.

Korean Peninsula

See also: Intelligence on the Korean War

Intelligence units form a substantial part of United States Forces Korea.

DPRK 1949

Intelligence analysis

"In the 16 July 1949 Weekly Summary, the Agency describes North Korea as a Soviet puppet regime. On 29 October, a Weekly Summary states that a North Korean attack on the South is possible as early as 1949, and cites reports of road improvements towards the border and troop movements there. [7]

"These reports establish the dominant theme in intelligence analysis from Washington that accounts for the failure to predict the North Korean attack—that the Soviets controlled North Korean decision making. The Washington focus on the Soviet Union as “the” Communist state had become the accepted perception within US Government’s political and military leadership circles. Any scholarly counterbalances to this view, either questioning the absolute authority of Moscow over other Communist states or noting that cultural, historic, or nationalistic factors might come into play, fell victim to the political atmosphere.

DPRK 1996

A report obtained from a "secret" Russian foreign ministry meeting states that North Korea's Nodong-1 is "not useful as a military weapon," based on its poor performance in all areas during a test-firing in the Sea of Japan in 1993. The report quoted Yu Min in the Seoul Sinmun, 5 January 1996, p.2.

On 2 February, Director of Central Intelligence John Deutch told a US Senate Select Committee that North Korea is developing long-range missiles. The United States, according to Deutch, should focus on stopping North Korea from acquiring guidance-and-control technology that could make its long-range missiles more accurate and lethal.

In a 9 May article in Aerospace Daily, pp. 233-234, a National Security Council director, Robert G. Bell, says that a US National Intelligence Estimate which concluded that no new strategic missile system will threaten the continental United States reflects a consensus within the US intelligence community. Bell admits, however, that the intelligence community's knowledge of North Korea's Taepodong-2 program is incomplete.

Bill Gertz, of the Washington Times, wrote on 21 June (pp. A1, A22) that CIA sources said North Korea delivered seven shiploads of Scud-C missiles to Egypt between March and April 1996. The missile shipments were part of a 1980s licensing agreement between Egypt and North Korea.

On December 11, according to Barbara Starr of Jane's Defence Weekly (p. 10) Former CIA Director Robert M. Gates told the US Senate Intelligence Committee that North Korea is having problems developing its Taepodong class of ballistic missiles. He said that research and development were needed for a completely new propulsion system, plus improved guidance. Gates said that economic, technical, and manufacturing problems in North Korea's infrastructure make the development of this new class of missiles unlikely. The US intelligence community was confident that the first flight tests of the missile will provide at least five years warning before deployment. [8]

Republic of Korea (ROK) (South Korea)

ROK 1945

Intelligence collection & analysis

With budgets cut after World War II, South Korea was considered an incidental priority for US intelligence. When most US forces left Korea, General of the Army Douglas MacArthur his intelligence officer, Charles Willoughby, to establish a secret intelligence office in Seoul. Known as the Korean Liaison Office (KLO), its responsibility was to monitor troop movements in the North and the activities of Communist guerrillas operating in the South. During WWII, MacArthur had objected to working with the OSS, the predecessor of the CIA, and his setting up his own intelligence continued the trend.[7]

ROK 1948

Intelligence analysis

[KLO] "and other collection capabilities contributed to CIA analytic reports, starting in 1948, regarding the Communist threat on the peninsula. The first report, in a Weekly Summary dated 20 February, identifies the Soviet Union as the controlling hand behind all North Korean political and military planning."[7] CIA did not have its own HUMINT agents until 1952, and was, at this time, purely an analytic agency.

ROK 1949

Intelligence analysis

"By late 1949, the KLO was reporting that the Communist guerrillas represented a serious threat to the Republic of Korea (ROK)..." [7]Willoughby also claimed that the KLO had 16 agents operating in the North. KLO officers in Seoul, however, expressed suspicion regarding the loyalty and reporting of these agents. Separate from Willoughby's command, then-Capt. John Singlaub had established an Army intelligence outpost in Manchuria, just across the border from Korea. Over the course of several years, he trained and dispatched dozens of former Korean POWs, who had been in Japanese Army units, into the North. Their instructions were to join the Communist Korean military and government, and to obtain information on the Communists’ plans and intentions.

See the 1949 intelligence assessment of DPRK decision making.

"...Accusations of McCarthyism silenced any debate regarding the worldwide Communist conspiracy. In addition, the Chinese Communists’ rise to internal power created a domestic political dispute over who had “lost” China. The result was a silencing of American scholars on China who might have persuaded the country’s leadership that China would never accept Soviet control of its national interests.

See SIGINT indications of the Korean war. Korean coverage was incidental to Soviet and Chinese interests in the Korean Peninsula.[9]

Was there early warning of the Korean War? Perhaps, but hindsight is a wonderful thing. As with the retrospective analysis of SIGINT communications intelligence immediately after Pearl Harbor, certain traffic, if not a smoking gun, would have been suggestive, to an astute analyst trusted by the high command. Before the invasion, targeting was against Chinese and Soviet targets with incidental mention of Korea.

ROK 1950

Intelligence analysis

On 10 May, the South Korean Defense Ministry publicly warned at a press conference that DPRK troops were massing at the border and there was danger of an invasion...Throughout June, intelligence reports from South Korea and the CIA provide clear descriptions of DPRK preparations for war. These reports noted the removal of civilians from the border area, the restriction of all transport capabilities for military use only, and the movements of infantry and armor units to the border area. Also, following classic Communist political tactics, the DPRK began an international propaganda campaign against the ROK police state. [9]

With the invasion of the South on 25 June,CIA intelligence reports during the first month of the conflict continued to echo the theme of Soviet control of the DPRK, but they also began to address the potential for Chinese intervention in the South... the CIA Daily Summary of 26 June reported that the Agency agreed with the US Embassy in Moscow that the North Korean offensive was a “... clear-cut Soviet challenge to the United States…” On 30 June 1950, [as] President Truman authorized the use of US ground forces in Korea, CIA Intelligence Memorandum 301, Estimate of Soviet Intentions and Capabilities for Military Aggression, stated that the Soviets had large numbers of Chinese troops, which could be used in Korea to make US involvement costly and difficult. This warning was followed on 8 July by CIA Intelligence Memorandum 302, which stated that the Soviets were responsible for the invasion, and they could use Chinese forces to intervene if DPRK forces could not stand up to UN forces. [7]

When the Korean War broke out in 1950, United States Army Special Forces were not yet operational. Paramilitary functions in Korea suffered from bureaucratic infighting between the Army's G-2 intelligence division, and CIA. A heavily redacted history of CIA operations in Korea [10] indicate that the agency used US Far East Air Force resources, eventually designated "Flight B" of the Fifth Air Force. This unit provided air support for both military and CIA special operations. When CIA guerrillas were attacked in 1951-1952, the air unit had to adapt frequently changing schedules. According to the CIA history, "The US Air Force-CIA relationship during the war was particularly profitable, close, and cordial." Unconventional warfare, but not HUMINT, worked smoothly with the Army. Korea had been divided into CIA and Army regions, with the CIA in the extreme northeast, and the Army in the West.

Initially, the North Koreans drove South Korean and US troops back, quickly capturing Seoul. The United Nations defending forces were able to consolidate and hold the area around the port of Pusan.

..the perception existed that only the Soviets could order an invasion by a “client state” and that such an act would be a prelude to a world war. Washington was confident that the Soviets were not ready to take such a step..." is clearly stated in a 19 June CIA paper on DRPK military capabilities. The paper said that “The DPRK is a firmly controlled Soviet satellite that exercises no independent initiative and depends entirely on the support of the USSR for existence.”
This assistance would not be forthcoming because the Soviets did not want general war. The Department of State and the military intelligence organizations of the Army, Navy, and Air Force concurred.
"...General MacArthur and his staff refused to believe that any Asians would risk facing certain defeat by threatening American interests. This belief caused them to ignore warnings of the DPRK military buildup and mobilization near the border, clearly the “force protection” intelligence that should have been most alerting to military minds. It was a strong and perhaps arrogantly held belief, which did not weaken even in the face of DPRK military successes against US troops in the summer of 1950.[7]

On 28 July, the CIA Weekly Summary stated that 40,000 to 50,000 ethnic Korean soldiers from PLA units might soon reinforce DPRK forces." Again, the tactical warning of a Chinese force were rejected based on a strategic assessment of Soviet intentions

On 8 September, the CIA issued Intelligence Memorandum 324, Probability of Direct Chinese Communist Intervention in Korea, which assumed that the Chinese were already providing covert assistance to the DPRK, including some replacements for combat troops. ... The memorandum ... noted that reports of Chinese troop buildups in the Manchurian border area made intervention well within Chinese capabilities. ... but again insisted the Soviets were not willing to risk general war. [7]

In September, the UN counterattacked with a surprise amphibious landing in the Battle of Inchon, quickly driving the North Koreans back. "On 12 October, CIA Office of Records and Estimates Paper 58-50, entitled Critical Situations in The Far East—Threat of Full Chinese Communist Intervention in Korea, concluded that, “While full-scale Chinese Communist intervention in Korea must be regarded as a continuing possibility, a consideration of all known factors leads to the conclusion that barring a Soviet decision for global war, such action is not probable in 1950.

"...On 13 and 14 October, the 38th, 39th, and 40th Chinese Field Armies entered Korea. The intelligence leadership in both Washington and Tokyo did not alert either President Truman or MacArthur, who were about to meet on Wake Island to discuss the conduct of the war.U S military and civilian leaders were again caught by surprise, and another costly price was paid in American casualties.

CIA reporting from Tokyo, based on information obtained from a former Chinese Nationalist officer sent into Manchuria to contact former colleagues now in the PLA, stated that the PLA had over 300,000 troops in the border area. And, on 15 October, a CIA-led irregular ROK force operating on the west coast near the Yalu river reported that Chinese troops were moving into Korea.

All this information subsequently turned out to be accurate. At that meeting, on 15 October, MacArthur told Truman there was little chance of a large-scale Chinese intervention. And, he noted, should it occur, his air power would destroy any Chinese forces that appeared.

The next day, the CIA Daily Summary reported that the US Embassy in The Hague had been advised that Chinese troops had moved into Korea. At this point, the analytic perspective of the Agency shifted somewhat... The Agency also abandoned the position that the Chinese had the capability to intervene but would not do so, and began to accept that the Chinese had entered Korea. But it held firm to its view that China had no intention of entering the war in any large-scale fashion.[7]


During World War II, a number of Americans who would later be involved in forming United States Army Special Forces and other special operations activities were stay-behind guerrillas in the Philippines, including Wendell Fertig, Russell Volckmann, and Donald Blackburn.

Philippines 1948

CIA funded an counter-insurgency war against the Hukbalahap. United States Air Force Colonel Edward Lansdale, seconded to the CIA, led the effort, befriending then Defense Minister, and later Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay. The insurgency was defeated.

Philippines 1958

See Indonesia 1958 for Filipino support to an abortive coup in Indonesia.

Central Asia

The nations of Central Asia are a conglomeration of nations located in the "centralized" locale of the Asian hemisphere, landlocked on one side with the western-most Asian Turkic regions, demarcation in the Eastern/South-Eastern Indian mountainous regions, and finally the northern Russia.


Uzbekistan became independent of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Uzbekistan 1985

DCI William Casey, in an action described by Steve Coll as beyond his authority, decided to extend destabilizing propaganda measures inside the borders of the Soviet Union. To this end, the CIA promoted the Muslim religion in Uzbekistan, by CIA commissioning a translation of the Qur'an into Uzbek by an Uzbek exile living in Germany, and then commissioning Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence to deliver 5,000 copies.[11] According to Coll,

As Yousaf recalled it, Casey said that there was a large Muslim population across the Amu Darya that could be stirred to action and could "do a lot of damage to the Soviet Union". Casey said, according to Yousaf, "We should take the books and try to raise the local population against them, and you can also think of sending arms and ammunition if possible."

If Casey spoke the words Yousaf attributed to him, without having a Presidential Finding and a notification for Congress, he was in violation of the Intelligence Authorization Act. Gates' account appears unambiguous, and Yousaf's recollections are precise. Casey had pursued covert action outside the boundaries of presidential authority, which he did in the Iran-Contra Affair.[12]

Author Steve Coll cites a manuscript of Robert Gates as stating that Afghanistan-Uzbekistan cross-border operations were encouraged by William Casey. Most of Coll's support for the above assertions regarding the Qur'an operation come from Pakistani General Mohammad Yousaf and Yousaf's book.[13]

It is not clear what immediate effect these operations had. The Uzbek government is not in favor of Islamic fundamentalism, and, in 2005, took active steps to repress it.

Uzbekistan 1999

In 1999, the CIA sought ability to operate in Afghanistan which was separate from it's alliance with Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence. In this period of time the predominant forces in Afghanistan were the Taliban in the south and Ahmad Shah Massoud's forces in the North. The U.S. Government policy at the time was to appease the Taliban government in the hopes that they would hand over Osama bin Laden. As a result the U.S. was disinclined to form open alliances with Massoud or with the alliance being developed by the family of Hamid Karzai. As a result, Uzbekistan offered the closest possibility for a forward operating base. Therefore, the CIA initiated an intelligence alliance with the government of Islom Karimov,[11] in which

  • CIA funded and trained a counterterrorism unit of the Uzbek military
  • CIA was allowed to use Uzbek military airbases for small aircraft and helicopter flights
  • CIA and NSA were allowed to install equipment to intercept Taliban and al-Qaeda communications
  • Uzbek intelligence shared their knowledge of Osama bin Laden's bases in Afghanistan

Uzbekistan 2000

The United States and Uzbekistan ran joint covert operations aimed at countering Afghanistan's ruling Taliban regime and its terrorist allies since well over a year before the September 11, 2001 attacks, according to officials from both nations. [14]

Uzbekistan 2001

Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the U.S., Uzbekistan approved the United States Central Command's request for access to a vital military air base, Karshi-Khanabad Airbase, in southern Uzbekistan. This was an expansion of the earlier working agreements. [14]

Some 3,000 Uzbeks belonging to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan were identified as fighting for the Taliban in Afghanistan. [15]

Uzbekistan 2005

In 2005, Uzbekistan demanded that the U.S. withdraw from the airbases after U.S. complaints about the Andijan massacre.[16] The last US troops left Uzbekistan in November 2005. By 2005, the CIA would use Uzbekistan as one of it's black sites for secret interrogations of enemy combatants.[17]

Southeast Asia

It has been alleged that the CIA was involved in the opium/heroin trade in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War and later, which was the focus of Alfred W. McCoy's book, The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, an earlier edition of which had already been subjected to attempted suppression by the CIATemplate:Refimprove. The CIA's air cargo operation, Air America, has also been accused of transporting drugs. See CIA activities by transnational topic: crime and illicit drug trade.[18]

Regional Intelligence Estimates

Southeast Asia 1962

SNIE 10-63 was written to estimate Communist objectives, military and subversive capabilities, and short-term intentions in continental Southeast Asia.[19] Its major conclusions included:

The long-range Communist Bloc objectives in Southeast Asia are to eliminate US influence and presence and to establish Communist regimes throughout the area. If the current differences between Moscow and Beijing continue to grow, a major split on Southeast Asia policy could ensue, but they are in general agreement at present. In the event of a Sino-Soviet split, Beijing and Hanoi, which have special interests in Southeast Asia, might resort to more militant tactics.

While the PRC and DRVN have superior land armies, the IC estimates that they will concentrate on trying to achieve their objectives through...subversion, political action, and support of "national liberation" struggles, so as to minimize the risks of Western, particularly US, military intervention. Their priorities are Laos and South Vietnam.


The Intelligence Community continue to believe that the Communists do not intend to initiate an all-out military effort to seize Laos. Should a war break out, the Communists would probably win, even if that required troops from North Vietnam. As long as they believe they can achieve the goals politically, they will avoid military action.

South Vietnam, SNIE

In South Vietnam, we believe that there will be no significant change over the short run in the current pattern of Viet Cong activity, although the scope and tempo of the Communist military and political campaigns will probably be increased. The Viet Cong will probably again resort to large-scale attacks, seeking to dramatize the weakness of the Diem forces and to reduce both civilian and military morale, in an effort to bring about Diem's downfall under circumstances which could be exploited to Communist advantage.

Thailand SNIE

In Thailand, the initial effort of Communist China and North Vietnam will probably be to increase their subversive potential, particularly in the northeastern frontier area. Concurrently, the Soviets will continue to employ a combination of political pressures, military threats, and economic inducements to persuade the Thai Government to seek accommodation with the Bloc and adopt a more neutral policy.

The Communists almost certainly believe that by sapping the independence of Laos they will be advancing their interests in Thailand as well.

Cambodia and Burma SNIE

The neutralist positions of Cambodia and Burma are acceptable to the Communists for the time being. Communist activity in both countries will, therefore, probably be kept at low key.

ASEAN and related groups

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) consists of five countries of the region: Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines. All have concerns with Islamic terrorism, and most are also concerned with piracy. Formed in 1967, the countries also shared several decades of concern over Communist threats. Their cooperation improved over time, although there still was support from outside powers. [20][21].

Other sources include the Five Powers Defence Arrangements (FPDA) of Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia, which includes three members of the UKUSA alliance with strong national SIGINT organizations and well-established relationships with the US Intelligence Community. John Moore, then Minister for Defence of Australia said, "As an established multilateral security framework, the FPDA has a unique role in Asia. It is of strategic benefit to all member nations and, in Australia's view, to the wider Asia-Pacific region."[22]

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) consists of five countries of the region: Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines. Other groupings include the Five Powers Defense Arrangements (FPDA) of Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia, which includes three members of the UK-USA alliance with strong national SIGINT organizations. See about intelligence-sharing alliances. With respect to the US, these are most likely to work with the US Pacific Command PACOM (military) intelligence and the NSA, but there may well be cooperation with the CIA and US international law enforcement on transnational issues.

For some years, the ASEAN countries have held annual intelligence summits. It is unclear, however, if intelligence ties preceded or followed the development of military relationships[20]

The Five Powers Defence Arrangements (FPDA) of Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia, three powers of which have strong SIGINT capabilities under the UKUSA Agreement and domestically, while the other two are ASEAN members, giving an overlap of interests. John Moore, then Minister for Defence of Australia said, "As an established multilateral security framework, the FPDA has a unique role in Asia. It is of strategic benefit to all member nations and, in Australia's view, to the wider Asia-Pacific region."[23]

US relations to an ASEAN or other group may be more domestically acceptable, in countries suspicious of the US, than bilateral arrangements. There are obvious reasons for regional nations wanting US intelligence support, including SIGINT. Nevertheless, the eagerness of the US to help against Islamic groups strikes at local sensitivities. Given Singapore's small size but potent military, it made basing arrangements in Singapore, in Malaysia and the Philippines. Thailand and Malaysia have a good record working together against the Communist Party of Malaysia. There is a joint training/counterterrorism center with the US in Malaysia.

ASEAN 1967

All ASEAN countries have concerns with Islamic terrorism, and most are also concerned with piracy [20]. Formed in 1967, ASEAN the countries also shared several decades of concern over Communist threats. Their cooperation improved over time, although there still was support from outside powers.


See CIA activities in Cambodia


Over several decades, the CIA was involved in numerous attempts to reduce Communist activity in Indonesia. A coup in 1958 failed to affect the rule of President Sukarno, but after a purge of Communists in 1965, Indonesian military officers General Abdul Haris Nasution (Indonesians often use only a single name) and Maj. Gen. Suharto led their forces to liquidate the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) and eventually oust President Sukarno. Suharto's pivotal role led to his assumption of the Indonesian presidency in 1967.

In 1998, the US declassified a number of records about the various covert actions.

Indonesia 1958

Intelligence collection

During an unguarded conversation in Washington before 1958, the Indonesian military attache mentioned to Americans that there were many prominent and strong people in Indonesia who would be ready to rise against President Achmed Sukarno if they were given a little support and encouragement from the United States. One of those U.S friends was a CIA staffer who reported the words to Frank Wisner, then the Deputy Director of Plans.

Covert action

The attache returned to Indonesia with CIA personnel under military cover. They learned enough about the potential strength of this opposition to encourage the CIA to set in motion its biggest operation up to that date. Those personnel contacted Filipino military men, especially a Colonel Valeriano, with whom the CIA had worked in Ramon Magsaysay's counterinsurgency against the Hukbalahap leftist rebels.

CIA and Filipino counterinsurgents had, by early 1958, set up special operations training bases, apparently with United States Army Special Forces trainers, and made clandestine air bases on Palawan and Mindanao available to Indonesian rebels.

On Feb. 9, 1958, rebel Colonel Maluddin Simbolon issued an ultimatum in the name of a provincial government, the Central Sumatran Revolutionary Council, calling for the formation of a new central government. Sukarno refused and called upon his loyal army commander, General Abdul Haris Nasution, to destroy the rebel forces. By Feb. 21 loyal forces had been airlifted to Sumatra and had begun the attack. The rebel headquarters was in the southern coastal city of Padang. Rebel strongholds stretched all the way to Medan, near the northern end of the island and not far from Malaysia.

CIA supported the Indonesian rebellion from the main Far East base in Naha, Okinawa, under Ted Shannon. Another support facility was on Taiwan, where B-26 bombers were prepared to ferry them to the Philippine bases that would support the Indonesian rebels. CIA, drawing on US Marine and Army stocks, provided 42,000 rifles.

Armed Indonesians returned to Sumatra by airdrop from the Philippines, and by landings from US submarines. [24] In May of 1958 an B-26 operated by CIA proprietary Civil Air Transport was shot down during a bombing and strafing mission and the resulting publicity ended the attempt.

Indonesia 1964

Intelligence analysis

An Office of Current Intelligence (i.e., not intelligence community wide, but a status report) memorandum observed early "stirrings of an anti-Communist movement in Indonesia". The opponents cite an ideology called "Sukarnoism." "The movement is ostensibly dedicated to the defense of the President's almost mystical Five Principles (Pantjasila), but its main purpose appears to be that of combating PKI (i.e., Indonesian Communist Party) influence in the government and throughout the country. Sukarno appears to have given it "indirect approval…but it could collapse overnight" if he moves to suppress it.

The US became aware of the movement during Sukarno's absence on a foreign tour from 17 September to 5 November, when articles berating the PKI appeared in the Djakarta press. The PKI responded. Just before and after Sukarno's return, the anti-PKI rhetoric subsided, almost as if the Sukarnoists feared retribution from the President. The only government move against the group, however, was the banning of a single Sukarnoist newspaper soon after the President's return. In the absence of further repressive action, the group seems to have taken on new courage, and its leaders are trying to organize and expand the forces involved.

The Sukarnoists are led by Minister of Trade Adam Malik, but Chaerul Saleh, third deputy prime minister and concurrently minister of development, is also deeply involved. Malik, who is a former Indonesian ambassador to the Soviet Union, and Saleh are ideologically attuned to the "right wing" of the Murba (Proletarian) Party, usually described as the national Communist Party of Indonesia. With Indonesia having moved a considerable distance to the left under Sukarno, Malik and Saleh represent a "moderate" position, and their activities are arousing the hopeful interest of individuals who stand further to the right.

Part of their platform is treating Malaysia as a bitter enemy. They also attacked PKI Chairman Dipa Nusantara Aidit for a statement he allegedly made disavowing the need for Pantjasila, to which all recognized political parties are obliged to subscribe--"once the revolution is won." Although this particular line of attack has been abandoned, the Sukarnoists continue to warn against those who are not true "Pantjasilaists."

Malik told US Ambassador Jones on 19 November that his movement has the support of the Muslim party, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU); the right wing of the National Party; and lower levels of the bureaucracy and political parties. Youth groups have organized a "Sukarnoist Student Movement"; several non-Communist labor federations reportedly have banded together in an "undercover body" to support Sukarnoism, but the labor groups feel they must keep their organization secret to avoid attack by the PKI. Malik feels that for the time being the movement must remain a loose coalition. Whether the Sukarnoists have the extensive support they claim cannot be verified. For the most part only the statements of Djakarta politicians are available. There is a large but disparate body of non-Communist opinion in Indonesia, however, which would rally if given a safe opportunity.

Army leaders aligned the Sukarnoists. Minister of Information Achmadi, who earlier had opposed it, reportedly told Sukarnoist supporters in North Sumatra to ignore attacks and to spread the doctrine but to preserve national unity. Even First Deputy Prime Minister Subandrio, who has tried to curry favor with the PKI for the past year and a half, reportedly received a Sukarnoist delegation, was "very friendly," and gave "valuable advice." Parliament, scheduled to open on 3 December, has postponed its next session until the second quarter of 1965. The change may have been arranged to avoid an early showdown between the PKI and the Sukarnoists.

The PKI, with its allies in the left wing of the National Party, was defensive. It labeled Sukarnoism a disguise for "Communist phobia"--a favorite term of Sukarno's--and stressed that the anti-PKI campaign developed behind Sukarno's back while he was out of the country. It charges that Sukarnoism is an attempt to displace NASAKOM, Sukarno's term for the cooperation of nationalist, religious, and Communist elements.

Prospects of the Sukarnoists seem to depend largely on Sukarno, who is known for his political balancing. The successful development of Sukarnoism may be of interest to him. He could be willing to overlook for a time the fact that there are elements within Sukarnoist ranks whom he distrusts and whom he has considered expelling from the recognized political scene. A major factor in Sukarno's permissive attitude toward the new anti-PKI group may be his hope that he can use it in maneuvering to schedule new talks on the Malaysia issue, and he may even believe he can use it to get economic assistance from the West.

Sukarnoist spokesmen urged the US Embassy to take steps to encourage UK-Indonesian or Indonesian-Malaysian talks, to avoid aggression against Malaysia, possibly to hide Indonesian economic problems. Sukarnoists seemed to be trying to change the Malaysian confrontation from a politico-military to a politico-economic one, as a means of pressing national economic development. Although the Sukarnoists are not necessarily being directed by Sukarno to approach the Americans, their needs and strategy for the moment coincide with his.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many

Indonesia 1965

An action proposal was approved in March, with an intermediate intelligence memorandum in July, and a SNIE, on the situation regarding Indonesia and Malaysia, in September. The US did not anticipate the intensity with which the Indonesian military later purged the PKI.

Covert action

In the March action proposal, covert action personnel, since summer 1964, worked with the Department of State in planning political action in Indonesia aimed to support the Indonesian opponents of the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI), as well as the PRC. It emphasizes traditional Indonesian mistrust of China. This program has been coordinated in the Department of State with the Assistant Secretary for Far Eastern Affairs and with the U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia.

It will involve liaison to, and financial support, of anti-Communist groups. It will also involve black propaganda and political action. One goal is to encourage coordination and common ground for the existing anti-Communist elements in Indonesia. The program is consistent with U.S. policy which seeks a stable, non-Communist Indonesia.


  1. Portray the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) as an increasingly ambitious, dangerous opponent of Sukarno and legitimate nationalism and instrument of Chinese neo-imperialism.
  2. Provide covert assistance to individuals and organizations capable of and prepared to take obstructive action against the PKI.
  3. Encourage the growth of an ideological common denominator, within the framework of Sukarno's enunciated concepts, which will serve to unite non-Communist elements and create cleavage between the PKI and the balance of the Indonesian society.
  4. Develop black and grey propaganda themes and mechanisms for use within Indonesia and via appropriate media assets outside of Indonesia in support of the objectives of this program.
  5. Identify and cultivate potential leaders within Indonesia for the purpose of ensuring an orderly non-Communist succession upon Sukarno's death or removal from office.
  6. Identify, assess and monitor the activities of anti-regime elements for the purpose of influencing them to support a non-Communist successor regime.

Risks involved Sukarno learning of the program and suspect that it is intended to weaken his control, causing deterioration of US-Indonesian relations. If the anti-PKI activity is too strong, it could invite repression of the Indonesian anticommunist groups by Sukarno.

Recommendation and approval

The 303 Committee approved this paper on March 4. [text not declassified] of the CIA took the opportunity to urge "a larger political design or master plan to arrest the Indonesian march into the Chinese camp" based on the Maphilindo concept. He argued a major effort was required to prevent the United States from being excluded from Indonesia, suggesting that the loss of a nation of 105 million to the "Communist camp" would make a victory in Vietnam of little meaning. McGeorge Bundy stated that as a major political problem, Indonesia was receiving attention, but it "could not be settled in the 303 forum." [25]

Intelligence analysis

In the July 1965 estimate, the most important point was the sharply accelerated growth of the Communist Party (PKI) role in government, which is expected to continue while Sukarno is in control. He has a vocal campaign to destroy Malaysia, although little chance of success, which he recognizes. Frustration has led him to denounce and harass the entire Western presence in Southeast Asia, and indeed in the Afro-Asian world. No break of diplomatic relations with the US is expected, but certainly continued hostility, as well as warmer relations with Peking. Since his military wants Soviet arms, he will maintain reasonably friendly relations with Moscow. Should Sukarno die or become incapacitated, he would be likely to be replaced by a non-Communist coalition. The military would exercise greater control, but it is not estimated they would risk a civil war to reduce Communist influence. The PKI is probably too entrenched to be denied a role in a coalition. Friction with Malaysia will intensify, but is unlikely to break up the Malayan federation. Malaysia is both totally dependent on the UK and the Commonwealth, has a foreign policy allied with them, but also is adequately defended by forces committed by the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Malaysia will still seek US defense commitment. [26]

In the September estimate, problem was posed: "estimate the chances and implications of a Communist takeover in Indonesia within the next 2-3 years".

In the discussion, the fundamental point is that Sukarno "is the unchallenged leader of Indonesia and will almost certainly remain so until death or infirmity removes him from the scene." He is developing in Indonesia an authoritarian government of the "national-front" type on which the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) exerts the strongest influence, though under his own continued domination. He plays one group against another, but the current reality is that the PKI, with 3 million members, is the strongest political entity in Indonesia. Sukarno's personal policies and those of the PKI are in harmony with the Communist states of Asia.

He will be cautious about giving the PKI more official power, but, if he lives, the IC sees Indonesia becoming a de facto Communist state, although Sukarno may not proclaim it as such. Should he die or become incapacitated, the PKI might be slowed although it would still have an important role. The longer he lives, the stronger the PKI position.

Indonesia is now presenting some of the problems, to the US, that an avowed Communist state would cause: confronting Malaysia and subverting the Philippines. This NIE does not suggest any probable successor government will change radically from this position.

While Indonesia's limited military capability and its strategic vulnerability would make it only a potential threat to sea and air lanes, it still would strengthen Peking, while undermining Laos, Thailand and South Vietnam, and presenting a more immediate threat to Malaysia and the Philippines, as well as to Singapore. The Australians would be concerned about east New Guinea and their lines of communications.

A Communist Indonesia, still with an independent party, would become a point of rivalry in the Sino-Soviet conflict. The longer-term impact would depend on the continuing independence of the PKI, and how focused it is on consolidating its control and fixing the Indonesian economy. During such a time, it might actually be a liability to China and the Soviet Union.[27]

Indonesia 1998

DCI George Tenet said declassification of nine operations constitute a secret history of American power as used against foreign governments by three Presidents. They include efforts to shore up the non-Communist left in France and Italy in the late 1940's and early 1950's, guerrilla operations in North and South Korea in the Korean War, efforts including political propaganda and bombing missions in Indonesia in the 1950's, paramilitary activities in Laos and Tibet in the first years of the American involvement in Vietnam and assassination plots in the Congo and the Dominican Republic in the early 1960's. [28]



Politics of Laos and the CIA

A 1962 Time Magazine article about Laos makes some points that help understand the context of the overt and covert actions of all sides in Laos, before the Vietnam War. [29] One of its first points is that a Laotian national identity, especially in the fifties and sixties, was a rare thing. Outside groups, including the French colonial administration, Communist groups, and the CIA often exploited power vacuums.

Though it has a king, a government and an army and can be found on a map, Laos does not really exist. Many of its estimated 2,000,000 people would be astonished to be called Laotians, since they know themselves to be Meo or Black Thai or Khalom tribesmen. It is a land without a railroad, a single paved highway or a newspaper. Its chief cash crop is opium.</br>

Laos was dreamed up by French Diplomat Jean Chauvel, who in 1946 was France's Secretary-General of Foreign Affairs. At the time, France was trying to reassert its authority in Indo-China, whose rebellious inhabitants had no desire to return to their prewar status as colonial subjects. In place of original Indo-China, consisting of various kingdoms and principalities, Paris put together three new autonomous states within the French Union: Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos. Drawing lines on a map, Chauvel created Laos by merging the rival kingdoms of Luangprabang, whose monarch became King of Laos, with Champassak, whose pretender was consoled by being made permanent Inspector General of the new state.

French influence did not survive long after the 1954 defeat at Dien Bien Phu. When the French declared Laos independent, it did not have cohesive government: two Laotian provinces were run Communist Pathet Lao bands under Prince Souphanouvong. His halfbrother, Prince Souvanna Phouma, was chosen Premier in 1956, and Souphanouvong and his provinces under the fledgling central government. A subsequent national election increased Communist strength in the National Assembly to 9 of the 21 seats, hardly likely to be reassuring to outsiders who considered Laos a minor part of the Cold War.

Distrust of Souvanna Phouma, "both as a neutralist and a compromiser with the Reds." [29] Regime change to the right-wing General Phoumi Nosavan came not from a coup, but from stopping US economic aid, which was the responsibility, subordinate to the White House, of the US Agency for International Development, not the CIA. The new premier invited U.S. military advisors, who came with both Defense Department and CIA personnel.

Operations in Laos

According to William M. Leary, a University of Georgia historian who analyzed Laotian operations for the CIA Center for the Study of Intelligence, CIA-led covert action in Laos was the largest paramilitary operation in the history of the Agency. There has been much controversy about Agency involvement in the Southeast Asia drug trade, and Leary takes an intermediate position. See CIA activities by transnational topic: crime and illicit drug trade.

For more than 13 years, the Agency directed native forces that fought major North Vietnamese units to a standstill.... As Joseph Westermeyer, who spent the years 1965 to 1975 in Laos as a physician, public health worker, and researcher, wrote in Poppies, Pipes, and People: "American-owned airlines never knowingly transported opium in or out of Laos, nor did their American pilots ever profit from its transport. Yet every plane in Laos undoubtedly carried opium at some time, unknown to the pilot and his superiors--just as had virtually every pedicab, every Mekong River sampan, and every missionary jeep between China and the Gulf of Siam."
If the CIA was not involved in the drug trade, it did know about it. As former DCI William Colby acknowledged, the Agency did little about it during the 1960s, but later took action against the traders as drugs became a problem among American troops in Vietnam. The CIA's main focus in Laos remained on fighting the war, not on policing the drug trade.[30]

In 1950, the CIA, which supported but did not command covert action (until 1952), CIA determined that it could best meet its support responsibilities with a proprietary airline under its clandestine control. "In August 1950, the Agency secretly purchased the assets of Civil Air Transport (CAT), an airline that had been started in China after World War II by Gen. Claire L. Chennault and Whiting Willauer. CAT would continue to fly commercial routes throughout Asia, acting in every way as a privately owned commercial airline. At the same time, under the corporate guise of CAT Incorporated, it provided airplanes and crews for secret intelligence operations. During the Korean war, for example, it made more than 100 hazardous overflights of mainland China, airdropping agents and supplies."

Laos 1953

In April 1953, the French colonial forces in Indochina requested US air transport "to fly tanks and heavy equipment to their hard-pressed forces in Laos. "Having such equipment," the French emphasized, "might mean the difference between holding and losing Laos." "

At this point, the CAT role evolved from clandestine to covert. The Eisenhower Administration, unwilling to give overt support, decided to use CAT to fulfill the French request, in Operation SQUAW. The US Air Force provided CAT with "sterile" (i.e., with American military identification removed) C-119 transports, capable of carrying the heavy loads required by the French. CAT personnel were unfamiliar with the C-119, and the Air Force held a short but intense training course for them at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines. On 5 May, they flew six of the transports, repainted with French insignia, to Gia Lam airbase, outside Hanoi, and parachuted supplies and to the equipment to French forces in Laos until 16 July. [30]

SQUAW began the next day. It continued until 16 July, with CAT pilots making numerous airdrops to French troops in Laos.

Laos (and Vietnam) 1954

Again, the French asked for help, in supporting their isolated base at Dien Bien Phu. CAT contracted with the French, in January 1954, to provide 24 pilots to fly 12 C-119 aircraft, to be maintained by USAF ground crews at Hanoi's Cat Bi airfield, to support Dien Bien Phu. Flights started in March, as the Viet Minh began their assault, and continued until Dien Bien Phu fell on 7 May. Two CAT pilots were killed and one wounded.

CAT operations continued after the fall of Dien Bien Phu. The C-119s supported isolated French outposts, and CAT also provided 12 C-46 transports to evacuate civilians from North to South Vietnam.

CAT also carried members of the CIA's Saigon Military Mission[31] (see Vietnam 1954) north of the 17th parallel, in a futile attempt to set up stay-behind networks.

Laos 1955

In January 1955, the US created the United States Operations Mission (USOM) in Vientiane, Laos, to provide foreign aid. By the end of the year, a Program Evaluation Office (PEO), staffed by retired military personnel or military officers covertly seconded to the CIA. The PEO was a covert equivalent to a Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG), organized within USOM to handle military aid, which was not usually within the scope of USOM. CIA was involved with the PEO until US military involvement was acknowledged and a MAAG established.

In July 1955, USOM officials learned that a rice failure threatened famine in several provinces in Laos. Because a number of these areas were in remote, mountainous regions, airdrops would be the only feasible means to delivering essential supplies of rice and salt. Three CAT C-46s arrived at the northeastern railhead of Udon Thani, Thailand, on 11 September to begin the airlift. By the end of the month, CAT had flown more than 200 missions to 25 reception areas, delivering 1,000 tons of emergency food. Conducted smoothly and efficiently, this airdrop relief operation marked the beginning of CAT's--and later Air America's--support of US assistance programs in Laos.[30]

Laos 1957

A new CAT contract was signed in 1957, and Bruce Blevins flew a C-47 to Vientiane, to service the US Embassy. When he flew elsewhere in the country, conditions were primitive; Vientiane had the only control tower, radio navigational aid, and non-dirt runway in Laos. The US, again covertly, increased its level of support.

Laos 1958

As the civil war became more intense, CAT C-47s and C-46s passed more frequently through Vientiane to fulfill urgent airdrop requests. Blevins also was kept busy, landing throughout the country and making numerous airdrops to isolated FAR posts. He developed an especially close relationship with a CIA case officer who had arrived in October 1958 and who was assigned to support neutralist Capt. Kong Le's parachute battalion, a Laotian officer who would rise to the highest ranks.[30]

Laos 1959

Air America--the name changed on 26 March 1959, primarily to avoid confusion about the air proprietary's operations in Japan 16--provided essential transportation for the expanding American effort in Laos.[30]

As the Laotian government did not want it known that it was being assisted by the US in the Laotian Civil War against the Pathet Lao, CIA established a unit from United States Army Special Forces, who arrived on CIA proprietary airline Air America, wearing civilian clothes and having no obvious US connection. These soldiers led Meo and Hmong tribesmen against Communist forces. The covert program was called Operation Hotfoot. At the US Embassy, BG John Heintges was called the head of the "Program Evaluation Office."[32]

CIA directed Air America, in August 1959, to train two helicopter pilots. Originally, this was believed to be a short-term requirement, but "this would be the beginning of a major rotary-wing operation in Laos.

Laos 1960

Eventually, four CAT pilots were trained on US Air Force H-19A helicopters in Japan and the Philippines. The CAT contingent did not reach Laos until March 1960. Due to the operating limitations of the H-19s, the underpowered helicopters could fly only at lower elevations in the country. "Generally, they were used to carry CIA case officers to meetings in outlying areas and to distribute leaflets during elections. By June 1960, it had become clear that helicopters would form a permanent part of Air America's operations in Laos. "[30]

Air America hired four experienced US Marine Corps helicopter pilots who obtained their discharges in Okinawa to fly the H-19s. Later in the year, the CIA arranged for the Marine Corps to transfer four UH-34 helicopters to Air America to replace the H-19s.

Also in 1960 was a national election of questionable honesty. "Phoumi's group gained a sweeping majority. On the surface, a relatively tough U.S. policy of containing Communism seemed to be an overwhelming success... $250 million in U.S. economic and military aid had too heady an effect on the Laotian government, which was soon reeling with corruption. Promised reforms never materialized, and practically no funds reached the peasants and forest tribes. The Communist Pathet Lao guerrilla bands began raiding in the north. Red Prince Souphanouvong not only walked out of jail, but took most of his prison guards with him."[29]

In August 1960, Kong Le, who had formed a friendship with a CIA officer in 1958, still returned neutralist Souvanna Phouma to power with a military coup. Phoumi Nosavan, who had much closer CIA relations, took refuge in his base in Savannakhet, in southern Laos.

The US encouraged Phoumi Nosavan, in December, to attack Kong Le's battalion in Vientiane.

Kong Le retreated to the strategic Plaine des Jarres, joining forces with the Pathet Lao. The Soviet Union poured in supplies by air, and Communist North Viet Nam contributed tough guerrilla cadres. When Phoumi's army advanced, it was badly beaten in a series of noisy but largely bloodless battles. Phoumi got a breathing space when, in the spring of 1961, the government eagerly agreed to a ceasefire.[29]

Laos 1961

According to Time,
In an effort to force him to accept a coalition government, the U.S. stopped paying Laos $3 million a month in economic aid, but there has never been any skimping in U.S. equipment and the training of Phoumi's Royal Laotian Army. The grim truth—as shown again last month at Nam Tha—is that Phoumi's men simply will not fight. Some observers suggest Phoumi actually wanted his army to collapse in order to force U.S. intervention—perhaps relying on President Kennedy's March 1961 telecast, when he said that a Red takeover in Laos would "quite obviously affect the security of the U.S."

American visibility increased in 1961, possibly as a signal to Phoumi. The covert advisory group was acknowledged, and called the White Star organization, commanded by Arthur D. Simons[33] In addition to operating against the Pathet Lao, the White Star teams harassed the North Vietnamese on the Ho Chi Minh trail, which had been formed in May 1959 under the North Vietnamese Army's 559th Transportation Group, whose unit number reflected its creation date.[34] Many of the White Star personnel would move into the Studies and Observation Group, which operated from South Vietnam but ran cross-border operations into North Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

Laos 1962

The CIA-organized group of Hmong and Meo tribesmen fighting in the Vietnam War are known as the "Secret Army", and their participation is called the Secret War, where the Secret War is meant to denote the Laotian Civil War (1960-1975) and the Laotian front of the Second Indochina War.

Laos 1964

In May 1964, the U.S. Air Force began flying reconnaissance missions over the Laotian panhandle to obtain target information on men and materiel being moved into South Vietnam over the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

The problem addressed by the Special National Intelligence Estimate (SNIE) of May 25 was to determine if there was a set of actions that would cause the Democratic (i.e., North) Republic of Vietnam (DRV) to reduce activities in the Republic (i.e., South) of Vietnam (RVN), and to respect the 1962 Geneva agreements on Laos. It assumed primarily air and naval action, without attacks on population centers or the use of nuclear weapons. The DRV, China, and USSR would be told that US intentions were limited.

It was projected that the DRV would wait on military action while stirring diplomatic opinion against the US. In the absence of US forces in Laos, however, it was judged capable of taking control of the country. While the DRV could resist a RVN ground attack, its air defenses were primitive and it would be unlikely to accept Chinese assistance, other than perhaps antiaircraft guns but not fighters. The estimate did suggest that a campaign against the North would have to be quick and intense, not the gradual escalation that actually was used. [35]

Laos 1969

A memorandum of November 12, from Kissinger to Nixon. reviewed the procedure for attacks in Laos. [36] Kissinger raised several questions in response to a CIA memorandum on Vang Pao’s offensive in the Plain of Jars... A joint response from the CIA and the Departments of Defense and State said:

  • U.S. ability to control (including veto) a Lao operation is to all practical purposes complete because U.S. matériel and air support are vital.
  • In practice, most operations are conceived by commanders of individual Military Regions in close conjunction with U.S. Military Attachés, or in the case of Vang Pao and the other irregulars, with the local CIA Area Chief.
  • In brief, the following U.S. clearance procedures are followed:
  • The cognizant U.S. military attaché or CIA Area Chief forwards the request to U.S. Country Team, consisting of Ambassador, DCM, Military Attachés and CIA Station Chief.
  • Vang Pao’s operations are also cleared by the CIA base at Udom, Thailand which assesses the Agency’s ability to provide necessary support.
  • The Ambassador requests authorization from State for politically sensitive operations or activities exceeding established operating procedures and refers requests for air support to MACV.

Laos 2007

There are conflicting reports on whether or not repatriation has been agreed for Hmong tribesmen who aided the CIA in 1962-1975.[37] See Thailand 2007 for an agreement, without an implementation date, apparently reached on December 9, 2007.


Singapore 1961

In 1961, the CIA attempts to infiltrate the Singapore Secret Police. They were discovered, and attempt to bribe the then prime minister Lee Kuan Yew to cover up the story. His complaint eventually leads to the Secretary of State Dean Rusk apologizing for the CIA[38].


Thailand 2007

"Lao and Thai authorities have agreed to proceed with plans to repatriate Hmong refugees in Ban Huay Nam Khao, regardless of their claimed CIA links and without monitoring by third parties."[39]


There are 174 National Intelligence Estimates dealing with Vietnam, issued by the CIA after coordination with the Intelligence Community. They may be searched at [1]

For details, see CIA activities in Vietnam.



Australia 1977

U.S. President Jimmy Carter sends a message to the Australian Government denying allegations of CIA meddling in the Whitlam government made by convicted Soviet spy Christopher John Boyce.[40]

Australia 1999


[41] An indication of the United States' close operational cooperation is the creation of a new message distribution label within the main US military communications network. Previously, the marking of NOFORN (i.e., NO FOREIGN NATIONALS) required the originator to specify which, if any, non-US countries could receive the information. A new handling caveat, USA/AUS/CAN/GBR/NZL EYES ONLY, used primarily on intelligence messages, gives an easier way to indicate that the material can be shared with Australia, Canada, Great Britain, and New Zealand.

New Zealand

New Zealand 1999


[41] An indication of the United States' close operational cooperation is the creation of a new message distribution label within the main US military communications network. Previously, the marking of NOFORN (i.e., NO FOREIGN NATIONALS) required the originator to specify which, if any, non-US countries could receive the information. A new handling caveat, USA/AUS/CAN/GBR/NZL EYES ONLY, used primarily on intelligence messages, gives an easier way to indicate that the material can be shared with Australia, Canada, Great Britain, and New Zealand.


  1. Central Intelligence Agency. Intelligence & Analysis. Retrieved on 2007-12-19.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Central Intelligence Agency (25 April 1962), National Intelligence Estimate 13-2-62, "Chinese Communist Advanced Weapons Capabilities,"
  3. The United States and the Chinese Nuclear Program, 1960-1964 (January 12, 2001).
  4. , October 16, 1964., FRUS document 57; Central Intelligence Agency, DCI (McCone) Files: Job 80-B01285A, DCI Mtgs with the Pres, Oct-Dec 1964.
  5. Bill Gertz (1999). Betrayal. Regnery. ISBN 0-89526-317-3. 
  6. Weiner, Tim (1994-10-09), C.I.A. Spent Millions to Support Japanese Right in 50's and 60's, The New York Times
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 Rose, P.K.. "Two Strategic Intelligence Mistakes in Korea, 1950: Perceptions and Reality". Studies in Intelligence. Retrieved on 2007-12-19.
  8. James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, North Korea's Ballistic Missile Program, CNS Resources on North Korea's Ballistic Missile Program, Chronology of North Korea's Missile Trade and Developments: 1996-1998
  9. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named NSA-Korea
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  11. 11.0 11.1 Coll,Steve (2005). Ghost Wars. Penguin, pp. 104-105. 
  12. Woodward, Bob (1988). Veil. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-671-66159-0. 
  13. Yousaf, Mohammed and Mark Adkin (2002). Afghanistan: The Bear Trap. Pen & Sword Books Ltd. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 Ricks, Thomas E. & Susan B. Glasser (October 14, 2001), "U.S. Operated Secret Alliance With Uzbekistan", Washington Post
  15. Rashid, Ahmed (September 29, 2001), "CIA tries to recruit native speakers by email", Telegraph
  16. Walsh, Nick Paton & Paul Harris (May 15, 2005), "Anger as US backs brutal regime", Observer
  17. Leung, Rebecca. CIA Flying Suspects To Torture?, CBS News, 11 February 2009. Retrieved on 4 October 2013.
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  19. Central Intelligence Agency (21 February 1962), Special National Intelligence Estimate 10-62: Communist Objectives, Capabilities, and Intentions in Southeast Asia
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  21. Sheldon W. Simon (June 2003), U.S. Policy and Terrorism in Southeast Asia, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Retrieved on 2007-10-16
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  24. L. Fletcher Prouty (August, 1976), "Indonesia 1958: Nixon, the CIA, and the Secret War", Gallery
  25. National Security Council, 303 Committee (February 23, 1965). Progress Report on [less than 1 line of source text not declassified Covert Action in Indonesia].
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  27. Central Intelligence Agency (September 1, 1965). Special National Intelligence Estimate 55-65, Prospects for and Strategic Implications of a Communist Takeover in Indonesia.
  28. Weiner, Tim (July 15, 1998), "C.I.A., Breaking Promises, Puts Off Release of Cold War Files", New York Times
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 29.3 "LAOS: Four Phases to Nonexistence", Time, 8 June 1962
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 30.3 30.4 30.5 Leary, William M., Supporting the "Secret War": CIA Air Operations in Laos, 1955-1974, Center for the Study of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency
  31. Document 95, Lansdale Team's Report on Covert Saigon Mission in 1954 and 1955,, at 573-83
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  33. Arthur D. (Bull) Simons
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