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Full-text: July 20 1973 p.m. hearing (pp. 71-118)
Falsifying intelligence on political orders
Punishing dissenting analysis within the CIA
CIA/DoD Phoenix Program:
Targeting non-combatants (civilians)
Imprisoning and terrorizing political opponents

CIS: 73 S201-27 SuDoc: Y 4.AR 5/3:C 67/3

Nomination of William E. Colby










July 2, 20 {a.m., p.m.}, and 25, 1973


Printed for the use of the Committee on Armed Services

GPO mark

99-275 WASHINGTON : 1973



John C. Stennis, Mississippi, Chairman

Stuart Symington, MissouriStrom Thurmond, South Carolina
Henry M. Jackson, WashingtonJohn Tower, Texas
Sam J. Ervin, Jr., North CarolinaPeter H. Dominick, Colorado
Howard W. Cannon, NevadaBarry Goldwater, Arizona
Thomas J. McIntyre, New HampshireWilliam Saxbe, Ohio
Harry F. Byrd, Jr., VirginiaWilliam L. Scott, Virginia
Harold E. Hughes, Iowa
Sam Nunn, Georgia

T. Edward Braswell, Jr., Chief Counsel and Staff Director

John T. Ticer, Chief Clerk





William E. Colby, to be Director of Central Intelligence 2, 119
Robert F. Drinan, U.S. Representative from Massachusetts 31
Samuel A. Adams 55, 71
Paul Sakwa 84
David Sheridan Harrington 95
Kenneth Barton Osborn 101


{July 20 1973 afternoon hearing, pages 71-118}



Nomination of William E. Colby to be Director of Central Intelligence


Friday, July 20, 1973

United States Senate, Committee on Armed Services, Washington, D.C.

The committee met, pursuant to recess, at 2:35 p.m., in room 235, Richard B. Russell Senate Office Building, Hon. Stuart Symington (acting chairman).

Present: Senators Symington (presiding), and Nunn.

Also present: John T. Ticer, chief clerk; R. James Woolsey, general counsel; John A. Goldsmith, Francis J. Sullivan, professional staff members; Doris Connor, clerical assistant; and Katherine Nelson, assistant to Senator Symington.

Senator Stuart Symington. The hearing will come to order.

Is Mr. Adams here?

Senator Nunn, you said that you had some questions.

Senator Nunn. I just have a few more, Mr. Chairman.

I just got a copy of the supplemental statement.

Mr. Adams. Sir, I wonder if in deference to the committee I might clear up three points that I think came up in this morning’s testimony, sir, very briefly.

Senator Symington. Let’s see what you have to say first. ¶

Have you got any statement there you would like to make? ¶

That is our standard rule.

Mr. Adams. Scribbled notes.

Senator Symington. No volunteer statements; you have to show it to us 24 hours before.

Mr. Adams. Scribbled notes.

Senator Symington. Then will you just supply it for the record, because we have other witnesses that we want to question.

Mr. Adams. Very well.

Senator Sam Nunn In the supplementary statement which I have now gotten, you say:

In June 1971, I completed a memorandum about 40 pages long, which was based on a review of all available evidence. Shortly after I handed the paper in it was killed. I was threatened with firing and told to work on weekends for the foreseeable future.

Who told you that?

Mr. Adams. The paper was killed about a day or so after I handed it in. In other words, I was told that the typed paper would never see the light of day. ¶

That came from several sources. ¶

The threat of firing {p.72} came the day after I handed the paper in. ¶

It was by Mr. Harold Ford, I believe.

Senator Nunn. Harold Ford?

Mr. Adams. That’s right.

Senator Nunn. Why was he going to fire you? Did he say?

Mr. Adams. The way it was phrased, he said, ¶

“If you insist on pushing this kind of stuff you are going to find yourself out in the streets.”

Senator Nunn. What was that 40-page report? I am not at all clear on it from your statement. ¶

Was it taking issue with the previous report that the Agency had made?

Mr. Adams. Well, the previous Khmer Communist order of battle, as I mentioned in paragraph 1 there, was a ring of 5,000 to 10,000. ¶

And where that had originally come from was the Cambodian G-2, that is, the Cambodian Government intelligence. And they came up with this ring right after the coup which overthrew Sihanouk in March 1970. ¶

And the U.S. intelligence when asked how many Cambodian Communist soldiers there were, we said there were 5,000 to 10,000. ¶

Nobody ever questioned or even looked at the number. ¶

And what happened was that I sat down in May of 1971 and discovered that this number had never been looked at before, and thereupon drew together all available evidence concerning the size of the Cambodian Communist military structure. ¶

I wrote this 40-page paper which came to the conclusion that the number was not 5,000 to 10,000 as the official order of battle put it but 100,000 to 150,000.

Senator Nunn. What I don’t understand, are you saying that the CIA doesn’t want their analysts to in any way critique previous reports?

Mr. Adams. I am saying that it happened in this particular case, they didn’t like the finding that I had come up with.

Senator Nunn. Has that ever happened to you before?

Mr. Adams. Yes, sir.

Senator Nunn. You mean you simply submit a finding, and if they don’t like it they say they are going to fire you?

Mr. Adams. Well, that is the first time they have ever said they were going to fire me. ¶

In August 1966, I looked for the first time at the Vietcong order of battle, which at that time was listed as 275,000 men. ¶

I discovered that the Vietcong order of battle was divided into four parts, and that three of the four parts had not been looked at for a period of some years. ¶

I looked at the three neglected parts and came to the conclusion that the overall order of battle was not 275,000, but 600,000. ¶

And I discovered in the last part of 1966, that is, from August on, that every paper I wrote on the subject was killed. ¶

So I had had some previous experience with this kind of business. ¶

And then eventually the CIA came to accept the findings I had made in 1966.

Senator Nunn. Who was pushing the 10,000 to 30,000 figure? Do you know anybody that had a reason for pushing it? What is the motive behind this? I don’t seem to know what the motive would be.

Mr. Adams. I believe that there was a motive — of course, I can’t really tell the motive, because I am not the person that did this, but my suspicion is that, point one, there was embarrassment on the part of the CIA research hierarchy that they had not looked at the size of the Cambodian Communist structure for a period of some 15 months, never even looked at it. And the reason that they assigned this number {p.73} of 10,000 to 30,000 was that it is not that much dissimilar from the old number, the 5,000 to 10,000, it just looks like there is a gradual rise.

Senator Nunn. Who was the person that said they were going to fire you now because of this report?

Mr. Adams. His name was Mr. Harold Ford.

Senator Nunn. Is he still with the agency?

Mr. Adams. Yes, sir. I don’t think, however, that he was the one who—

Senator Nunn. Initiated that? Who do you think was the one who initiated that? Do you have any way of knowing?

Mr. Adams. I have no way of knowing that. I have had a number of run-ins with the research hierarchy. ¶

My suspicion was that it would be Mr. Edward Proctor, who runs the research department of the CIA, or his deputy, Mr. Paul Walsh.

Senator Nunn. On the other subject, on page 3 of this — of course you don’t have the same page number, I suppose — you say:

In any case, I submitted in December 1972 a detailed oral complaint to the CIA Inspector General on the matter. The IG official took lengthy notes on what I had to say.

Mr. Adams. Yes, sir.

Senator Nunn. A day or so later he told me that Mr. Colby, then the CIA Executive Director, had said vis-a-vis my complaint, ¶

“Let the chips fall where they may.”

Mr. Adams. Yes, sir.

Senator Nunn. I don’t know whether that is good or bad. I don’t know what he meant by that. ¶

Do you have any idea what he meant? Did you put that in here? Does that mean he wants another investigation?

Mr. Adams. I believe that they intended, or at least the idea was, that this was going to be some kind of an investigation. But as far as I am concerned it never came about.

Senator Nunn. It sounds like to me Mr. Colby ordered an investigation, and let the chips fall where they may.

Mr. Adams. The way I put it in, it sounds very good, let the chips fall where they may.

Senator Nunn. This is in effect complimentary to him.

Mr. Adams. It would be complimentary to him if something happened after that. ¶

But apparently there was no investigation which transpired after he made this remark.

Senator Nunn. Are you saying that is his fault, if he gives an order and it is not carried out? ¶

With the details he has on his mind, do you think that he can follow through that closely on everything? ¶

I am just wondering whether this is an overall criticism of him or whether it is complimentary. ¶

I am a little puzzled.

Mr. Adams. I am saying, what I meant to portray here was, he had made this remark, let the chips fall where they may, but there was no investigation of what I was trying to get investigated as far as I could tell, and the only two chips that fell were on me. ¶

First, the report of my having a complaint went out to the prosecution and they tried to portray me, the prosecution did, as a chronic complainer. ¶

And second, in March of 1973, I was told that I was about to get the sack.

Senator Nunn. That was how long after the first time you were told you were going to be fired? {p.74}

Mr. Adams. Let me see. The first time—

Senator Nunn. June of 1971.

Mr. Adams. June of 1971.

And then it came around again in March of 1973.

Senator Nunn. Which was about 2 years later.

Mr. Adams. About 2 years later. There were a couple of interim threats, however.

Senator Nunn. What were they related to? Was that some other document you submitted?

Mr. Adams. They seemed to be closely related to this whole matter of the Khmer Communist order of battle. I kept complaining that the things had been, the way I put it, hoaxed or fabricated.

Senator Nunn. But you are not saying that Mr. Colby had anything to do with that?

Mr. Adams. No, sir. I am not. I am making the observation, however, that he was aware that at least somebody had made allegations concerning the fabrication, and that nothing happened thereafter except those two chips falling.

Senator Nunn. Was Mr. Helms the head of the CIA then?

Mr. Adams. Yes, he was until February 1973.

Senator Nunn. Was he aware of that, do you think?

Mr. Adams. I think he probably was, yes. Helms had also been involved—

Senator Nunn. What was your exact job?

Mr. Adams. Primarily just analyzing, sir.

Senator Nunn. And how many people did you have under you?

Mr. Adams. It ranged — ordinarily I was working by myself, but I had at one time as many as three people working for me.

Senator Nunn. How many were over you? Were you at the bottom of the pole?

Mr. Adams. Yes, I was at the bottom of the heap.

Senator Nunn. How many people would be on your level in the CIA?

Mr. Adams. Most of the CIA would be on my level, I mean Indians.

Senator Nunn. How many of them submitted these counter memorandums? Was this an unusual thing?

Mr. Adams. Yes, sir; it is very unusual. I would point out that when I wrote the memorandum which said that the CIA order of battle was not 5,000 to 10,000 but 100,000 to 150,000, that suggested an error of between 1,000 and 3,000 percent, which is pretty big.

Senator Nunn. Was that your responsibility? Was that part of your responsibility, to review that?

Mr. Adams. It would have come within the charter I had for the paper I was writing at that time. If somebody asked me, why the dickens were you doing that, I would wave a piece of paper about and say, here is why.

Senator Nunn. Did you have any discussions with your superior about this? Did you tell us you were frustrated because obviously there was an error being made?

Mr. Adams. Yes sir.

Senator Nunn. That is what the memorandum said?

Mr. Adams. Frequently, yes, I pointed out a number of times—

Senator Nunn. What was his response to that? Did he say, mind {p.75} your own business, did he say go ahead and write a memorandum? Was this memorandum written contrary to the wishes of your superior?

Mr. Adams. No, sir. It wasn’t necessarily contrary to the wishes of my superior. He didn’t know I was writing it until I handed it in.

Senator Nunn. To him?

Mr. Adams. To his deputy, who was also above me.

Senator Nunn. To the Ellsberg trial for a minute. As I read your statement:

Second, upon return from the Ellsberg trial. I was informed orally that my employment with the CIA was about to be terminated, although eventually the agency backed down. I have reason to believe that the persons who opposed my termination were the same ones who were responsible for the fabrication of the Khmer Communist order of battle in 1971.

Mr. Adams. That is correct.

Senator Nunn. Were you suggesting here that it was the previous conflict 2 years prior to that that was still kindling that was causing the possibility of your being terminated?

Mr. Adams. Yes, sir. I am suggesting that. ¶

The reason is that this memorandum I wrote in June of 1971 was really an opening gun, because I wrote several other memorandums after that which indicated exactly the same thing. ¶

For example, when this analyst who had been assigned the number 10 to 30,000 came out with a memorandum in November 1971 indicating there was 15 to 30,000—

Senator Nunn. Who was this? Have you got his name?

Mr. Adams. Yes, sir, I do. I would prefer if I could, because I am not sure whether he is under cover or not, to give you—

Senator Nunn. Would you furnish that, and we can determine whether it ought to be a matter of the public record or not.

Mr. Adams. Fine, I will, sir.

Senator Nunn. Thank you.

Mr. Adams. After he came out with this paper I wrote a lengthy criticism of his official paper which became the official order of battle, pointing out that he had used many of the same techniques in devising the order of battle that the military assistance command — that is, MACV, had used prior to the Tet Offensive. ¶

I had been in a considerable fight at that time before the Tet Offensive, pointing out that the enemy order of battle then was way too low, and in fact when the offensive hit, large numbers of units which showed up in the middle of Saigon and other South Vietnamese cities had never been in the order of battle. ¶

Then I was afraid that that kind of thing was going to recur.

Senator Nunn. Was this analyst that gave this 15,000 to 30,000 figure on your level, so to speak?

Mr. Adams. Yes, sir, so to speak.

Senator Nunn. So you were two at the same level challenging each other, is that right?

Mr. Adams. I wouldn’t say challenging each other, but we were both at the same level, yes, sir.

Senator Nunn. Do you think he was the one that was instigating your termination or firing?

Mr. Adams. Oh, absolutely not, sir. He is a good friend.

Senator Nunn. Someone up the line was? {p.76}

Mr. Adams. Somewhere up the line, I imagine it would probably be either the head of research or his deputy.

Senator Nunn. And the reason that you would surmise that is because they had been using this erroneous information, and they didn’t want to correct it because it would be admitting that they would be wrong?

Mr. Adams. I think that is part of it. And one of the reasons that they could get away with this thing, I think, is that I feel that the administration perhaps — I don’t want to lay too much blame on the administration — would not—

Senator Nunn. They are accustomed to it, I think.

Mr. Adams. At any rate, if an analyst comes out with a low number, the administration is not to go about beating him on the head and have him raise the number. ¶

In other words, administration policy vis-a-vis Cambodia is — at least at that time, and I think it continues more or less this way — the bad guys in Cambodia are Vietnamese, and if you come up with a big Cambodian army, this tends to disapprove the underpinnings of our policy. ¶

Are you with me?

Senator Nunn. I am with you.

Mr. Adams. Thank you, sir.

Senator Nunn. On this Ellsberg trial, then your testimony there didn’t really have much to do with the fact that you were threatened to be fired, is that right?

Mr. Adams. No, sir, it had to do with my questioning of or rather my doubts about the honesty of some testimony of a prosecution witness, one General Deputy. And he was saying that release of certain statistics by Ellsberg was detrimental to the national security of the United States. The statistics included the order of battle statistics of the 1967 period. And I knew, because I had worked on this at the time, that those had been fabricated, too. And my question was whether it was a Federal crime on the part of Ellsberg to release fabricated statistics.

Senator Nunn. You said they had been fabricated. You mean they are erroneous, or did you know that someone with a motive had falsified them?

Mr. Adams. I believe that someone with a motive had falsified them. I have been trying ever since then to find out who was.

Senator Nunn. You don’t know?

Mr. Adams. No, sir, I have been trying to get an investigation going to see who it was before the Tet Offensive that was the case of fabricating the statistics. I tried in December 1972 to get an Army investigation going and failed.

Senator Nunn. Is this due to the CIA analyst again, or is it primarily the military intelligence?

Mr. Adams. It is primarily the military intelligence, yes, sir. The CIA was conscious of the fabrication and went along with it at the time.

Senator Nunn. You say they were conscious of the fabrication. How do you know?

Mr. Adams. Because I told them.

Senator Nunn. You told them?

Mr. Adams. The CIA hierarchy.

Senator Nunn. So if they believed you they were conscious of it. {p.77}

Mr. Adams. Well, they came to believe me, because after the Tet Offensive they used my figures.

Senator Nunn. So what you are telling us is that in your opinion if the CIA is convinced that they are wrong, even if one of their own people tells them, that they are not willing to make any changes because they would be saying that they were wrong, and it would be contrary to policy?

Mr. Adams. I wouldn’t say that of the whole CIA, but perhaps to some individuals in the CIA. My problem is, I don’t know who is responsible for this kind of stuff, so I find it very difficult to make a broad statement on it.

Senator Nunn. You said a minute ago you thought it was someone in the research division.

Mr. Adams. That’s correct. Yes.

Senator Nunn. Mr. Colby is not in this division, is he?

Mr. Adams. No, sir. But it could be — and I could never find out about things like this — it could be that the director himself was aware of this. Now, I know that Helms had been aware of the fabrication that went on of statistics back in 1967.

Senator Nunn. How do you know that?

Mr. Adams. Because I was working in his office at the time.

Senator Nunn. You might tell us a little bit about that. It is a pretty serious charge. He is not here.

Mr. Adams. In 1967 I was working in the CIA under an officer called Special Assistant to Vietnamese Affairs, which is an office directly under Helms. And I was an analyst within this office. It is a small one, and perhaps has a dozen or so people. From 1966, until a few days before the Tet Offensive. I had been pushing for higher numbers to describe the size of the Viet Cong Army. In other words, I thought it was bigger than the official statistics said it was. There was a series of order of battle conferences over findings that I had made in August 1966, which suggested that the OB was a larger figure. Starting, I believe, somewhere around June or July 1967, the order came down from the MAV hierarchy to its order of battle section that they were to try and keep the order of battle willy-nilly under the number of 300,000.

Senator Nunn. The order came from where?

Mr. Adams. This I have never been able to ascertain, where it came from.

Senator Nunn. Did you see the order?

Mr. Adams. I heard about the order. I saw it reported in a cable within the CIA, that the Army wanted to keep the number below 300,000.

Senator Nunn. The Army gave the directions for this to be kept?

Mr. Adams. Yes; the Army was responsible.

Senator Nunn. The Army was telling the CIA what they wanted to report?

Mr. Adams. In essence, yes. And the question was, it seems to me, whether the CIA was willing to accept the Army’s number.

Senator Nunn. What month was this?

Mr. Adams. Well, there was a series of fights, and it was really June 1967 through September 1967. And in September 1967, we threw in the {p.78} sponge and said, yes, we would accept the Army number, or something very close to it, not exactly it.

Senator Nunn. Did you go along with that?

Mr. Adams. No: I raised the roof.

Senator Nunn. To whom?

Mr. Adams. To, first, in a series of memoranda that went to the Director, to the head of the research, to the head of Economic Research, and a number of other offices, and to the head of the Board of National Estimates. I later went to the CIA Inspector General. I also complained to the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. And I also complained to the National Security Council staff. And then in, I think it was February or March of 1969, they threw in the sponge.

Senator Nunn. You did a lot of complaining?

Mr. Adams. Yes, sir.

Senator Nunn. Did anybody agree with you in the whole CIA?

Mr. Adams. Yes, sir.

Senator Nunn. And have you got names?

Mr. Adams. I have. But I would like to submit them if I could—

Senator Nunn. You do have people that agree with your analysis?

Mr. Adams. Yes, sir.

Senator Nunn. And agree with your allegation of falsification and fabrication. I think that you said?

Mr. Adams. I don’t know whether they would characterize it as that, but I think that they would certainly go along with the facts — a lot of people, would go along with the facts as I present them; yes, sir.

Senator Nunn. And is there a reason you don’t want to give it in public?

Mr. Adams. Well, I hesitate to do that, because I am on the hook with a secrecy agreement, and I don’t want to put my neck on the chopping block now.

Senator Nunn. Are some of these people still with the CIA?

Mr. Adams. Yes, sir.

Senator Nunn. When did you terminate with the CIA?

Mr. Adams. June 1973, was when my resignation became effective.

Senator Nunn. And were you not fired?

Mr. Adams. I was not fired; no, sir.

Senator Nunn. But you were still under the threat of being fired, or had that threat subsided?

Mr. Adams. No, sir. It was on the 19th of March 1973, when I was told that I was going to be terminated, orally, that I would get a written notification shortly thereafter.

Senator Nunn. And who told you that?

Mr. Adams. A Mr. Maurice Ernst told me that. And he said that I would get a written notification shortly thereafter, and the notification never showed up. In the meantime I was raising quite a stink, because I said that I thought that the reason I would be fired was because of the Cambodian Communist order of battle. Also, it occurred to me — and this was almost a form of paranoia — that after the Ellsberg break that maybe somebody in the White House had sent the word to put the whammy on me. And so I sent a memo to the Director asking him, hey, was it the White House—

Senator Nunn. How many people sent these memos? I don’t know how the Director had time to read all your memos. {p.79}

Mr. Adams. He very seldom got memos from me. He did for a little bit after I was trying to find out who put me on the termination list. What he did generally was to send it over to the legal counsel’s office; in fact, the guy that used to write me is sitting right back there, his name is — I don’t know, he was there this morning — his name is John Green. And he had my account. And I would send a memo to the Director. And I said something to the effect, Director, was it the White House or was it you that put me on this list? And the first memo I got back, not from the Director but from the legal counsel’s office, said, you are not on the list at all.

Senator Nunn. And you kept trying to find out who was trying to fire you?

Mr. Adams. And then I said, that wasn’t the question I asked. I asked who put me on the list. And he kept saying, you are not on it anymore.

Senator Nunn. I am a little bit puzzled. If you were going to be fired and that threat subsided, how did you find it out? Everytime you sent a memo asking who was firing you it looks like it would jeopardize your job that much more.

Mr. Adams. I was annoyed, because I don’t like to be threatened as I was, and I wanted to find out who did it. So the next time I went to the Inspector General.

Senator Nunn. So you had sort of a corollary investigation going as to who was trying to fire you for almost 2 years, didn’t you?

Mr. Adams. No; I didn’t really start trying to find out directly until May 1973, this year. I think it was April or May 1973, asking who it was that was sticking me on this list all the time, or had stuck me on the list.

Senator Nunn. What made you finally decide to leave?

Mr. Adams. I think it was — as I put it in my letter of resignation — a sort of longstanding dismay over the fact that I thought that those statistics were being faked all the time.

And, incidentally, I would like to mention something, if I could, at the moment, that Senator Symington in questioning me brought up the term “disgruntled employee.” I don’t consider myself a disgruntled employee, because I think the CIA performs a very useful mission. I wouldn’t even mind going back there, as absurd as it sounds. But I simply got sick of faked statistics. And I was hoping that the CIA would get back to its job, what I think, of telling the truth.

Senator Nunn. None of this relates directly — you don’t have any direct criticism of Mr. Colby, you are talking really about the whole CIA basically?

Mr. Adams. Yes; but this morning’s testimony, and particularly my statement this morning, was about Phoenix—

Senator Nunn. I know that part of it. But these memoranda you were sending back and forth, and so forth, you are not alleging Mr. Colby tried to get you fired, because you were bringing them out?

Mr. Adams. I could never find out who it was. Mr. Colby at the time was Executive Director.

Senator Nunn. It could have been anybody from your level, right on up to the top?

Mr. Adams. Yes; I tend to think it was more in the hierarchy than the lower-archy. {p.80}

Senator Nunn. The hierarchy?

I would like very much if you could give counsel those names that you referred to. I’ve got to go vote.

The hearing will resume when either Senator Symington or I get back.

Mr. Adams, we appreciate very much your coming and testifying. And that will be all. We will have the next witness when we got back.

Mr. Adams. Thank you.

Senator Nunn. Mr. Sakwa will be the next witness. And that will be in approximately 15 or 20 minutes.



[Mr. Samuel A. Adams’ statement follows:]



My name is Samuel A. Adams. I resigned from the Central Intelligence Agency on 1 June 1973. My resignation stemmed from dismay over what I thought was the sloppy and often dishonest way U.S. intelligence conducted research on the struggle in Indochina. An example of the shortcomings, I believe, was the manner in which U.S. intelligence produced reports on the political and administrative agencies of the Viet Cong. These agencies, sometimes called the “infrastructure”, were the target of the Allied Phoenix Program. The Phoenix Program was overseen at one time by Mr. Colby, a candidate to receive the CIA’s Directorship.

Seven of my ten years at the Agency were devoted to research on our adversaries in Indochina. My reports included an extensive study on the Viet Cong police system, a treatise on Communist subversive agents in the South Vietnamese Army and police, and an examination of the Viet Cong’s covert structure in South Vietnamese territory. In 1970, I wrote a lengthy study entitled “Guide to a Viet Cong Province.” which the CIA uses as its standard field handbook on the Communists in South Vietnam. For about five years I gave the Agency’s training course on the Viet Cong to CIA case officers bound for Vietnam.

I respectfully submit the following statement to your committee.


The Phoenix Program is an example of a sound concept gone awry. It was meant to destroy the Communists’ political apparatus, but it has not done so, and the Viet Cong are in the middle of a resurgence throughout South Vietnam. Although the country’s surface looks peaceful enough (at least compared to the last few years) the appearance is deceiving. Beneath the surface of the South Vietnamese government, the unravelling is well along.


Phoenix was conceived when the Allies’ main weapons in South Vietnam were American warplanes, and heavily-armed battalions whose mission was to “search and destroy”. The weapons were bludgeons, which all too often failed to discriminate between the enemy soldier and the innocent bystander. More important, they were virtually useless against the Viet Cong political cadre, who, it came to be realized, was just as dangerous as the Viet Cong warrior.

Phoenix was designed to fill the gap. Copied from a British concept which had succeeded in Malaya, the Phoenix Program was meant to replace the bludgeon with a scalpel. They key to the operation was precise targetting. Instead of bombs — which killed large numbers of civilians in addition to the occasional political operative — Phoenix’s main tools, theoretically, were good intelligence and good flies. The object of the program was to find out who among the Vietnamese population were Viet Cong cadres, and to arrest or kill them. In theory, arrests were preferable to assassinations, because a prisoner could lead to further arrests, and a cadaver led nowhere.

In order to work, the Phoenix Program had basic needs. These are five of the most important:

1. A clear perception of the nature and organization of the target. {p.81}

2. Good intelligence concerning the names, the whereabouts, and the activities of the people who belong to it.

3. A tight, well-run police organization, with secure flies, with the ability to keep close track of the population, and with a high state of training and morale.

4. An efficient and fair judicial system, with stout prisons and a rehabilitation program which could turn rebels into citizens.

5. Most important, popular support.

The trouble with Phoenix, and the reason it didn’t work, was that its needs, although recognized in theory, were never fulfilled in practice. The diverse between hope and reality became so wide that the program degenerated into a game of statistics, in which numbers were paramount, and the object of the exercise — the crippling of the Communist Party — was never even approached. I will deal with the needs one by one.


When United States troops first landed in force in Vietnam in early 1965, we were abysmally ignorant of the nature of the threat. It was thought that the application of enough military force by the U.S. would eventually compel the Communists to lay off. But they didn’t, and the introduction of each new American battalion only seemed to get us in deeper than we already were. Finally the Tet offensive demonstrated the Viet Cong’s ability to get large numbers of troops into South Vietnamese urban areas without detection and parred U.S. intelligence into the realization that the Communists had something there besides an army. The Phoenix program — which had existed in one form or another for several years began to take serious shape.

The initial problem was that the basic research on the nature of the adversary and of his organization was either undone or misunderstood. When the time came to designate a target for the Phoenix organization to aim at the most readily available entity was something U.S. intelligence called the “infrastructure”, a catchall phrase long used to describe the non-military portion of the Viet Cong organization. Unfortunately, the Communists themselves had no such term, and U.S. intelligence had no precise definition of what it included. It did have a number, however, 29,173. which had remained the same from June 1965 up until the eve of the Tet offensive. Although the number changed after Tet — it has ranged since then from 60,000 to 90,000 — the definitional problem was never cleared up. As a result, no one knows even now who belongs to the “infrastructure”, and the number given out officially in the sum of guesses from the field, made by people who have varying ideas of what they are counting. It is conceivable, using the loosely-defined official criteria, that we could say the “infrastructure” was anywhere from 10,000 to a quarter of a million strong.

A salient problem of who to count arose from the fact that for some time the Viet Cong’s covert operatives in South Vietnamese territory were not included in the official lists. Thus a spy in Thieu’s office — there was one — would be excluded from the “infrastructure” because he failed to fit the official U.S. definition. The problem was compounded because of the reluctance on the part of U.S. intelligence to look into the matter of Viet Cong subversion. For example, in May 1969. the CIA Chief of Station for Saigon indicated on a visit to Washington his belief that the Viet Cong had only 200 agents in the South Vietnamese government. He spoke from ignorance. An in-depth research study going on at the same time suggested the real number of such agents was more like 30,000.

The question of the Communists’ covert presence in South Vietnamese territory became particularly vexing after the coup in Cambodia in March, 1970. When it occurred, most of the Communists’ army in the southern half of South Vietnam left for duty next door, and large numbers of Viet Cong cadres in Vietnam’s Delta shifted from Viet Cong to South Vietnamese territory, often by defection through Chieu Hoi centers. The ensuing quiet in the Delta — along with an apparent increase in the enemy defection rates — gave rise to optimism among American officials in Vietnam, including those who manned the Phoenix program.


Although hard intelligence on the names, whereabouts and doings of Communist cadres is much sought after, it is very hard to come by Allied files bulge with information of this sort, but in the vast majority of cases it is either false or incomplete. Things have improved since the early days of Phoenix when opera- {p.82} tions against specific targets were almost nonexistant. But the improvements have been marginal, and the latest report from the field suggest the situation is getting worse instead of better. In any case, the type of person “neutralized” by Phoenix is about the same as it always was; they are mostly low-level and of little consequence. The hard-core Party member is still un-caught.


The South Vietnamese National Police and Military Security Service — both of which work for Phoenix — are better now than they were, say, in 1966. But the base was so low that it is difficult to conceive that they could have gotten worse.

The problem here is much more complicated than simply low morale, (which recent reports suggest is endemic among the South Vietnamese constabulary). The most trying aspect of the situation is the Viet Cong’s continued penetration of the South Vietnamese security apparatus. Captured documents indicate that many hundreds of South Vietnamese policemen are in reality Viet Cong agents. The penetrations occur at all levels. A government roll-up which took place in northern South Vietnam in 1971 show the dimensions of the problem. Among those reportedly apprehended as Viet Cong agents were the chief of police of Da Nang city. The chief of the police Special Branch, and his assistant for operations, and the chief of police for I Corps. The first three were jailed. The last, after evidence proved insufficient for conviction, was reputedly transferred to Saigon as a police advisor to the Phoenix program.

Although the American advisory effort to Phoenix contained no Viet Cong agents, it often was of questionable help. One of its main shortcomings was the ignorance of most advisors of the Viet Cong target. Prior to August, 1968, the average CIA case officer received no training what so ever in the organization and methods of operations of the Communist structure. Then, in late 1968, a training program started up which by the end of the year gave those bound for Vietnam 24 hours of instruction. This was rapidly cut back. The number of hours in the Viet Cong now given to CIA case officers going to Saigon is four.

An ancillary problem is the one of population control. Despite many attempts over the last five years, there is still no adequate ID card system in Vietnam, and large numbers of persons, particularly in the slums, roam about without the police knowing who they are. Likewise, the Phoenix system has yet devise as mundane a thing as a catalogue of fingerprints. If, say, the U.S. ambassador were killed tomorrow, and the gun was found which accomplished the killing, there would be no way to trace the assassin, from the prints on the gun.


South Vietnamese prisons continue to leak, although not as badly as a few years ago. Still, the average Viet Cong captive — unlike the common criminal — will likely go free within a few months. Again, one can point to improvements, but the basic problem remains that the accounting system which comes into play after a suspect’s arrest is so loose that it is often very difficult to tell what happens to him shortly thereafter. In several areas of Vietnam, at present, the system has broken down completely, so that Communist prisoners in these areas frequently fail to go to prison at all.

Furthermore, there is an almost complete lack of a rehabilitation system. The old saw that the most dedicated Vietnamese Communists have usually done time continues to have & ring of truth. Captured documents still show that those who leave South Vietnamese prisons frequently rejoin the Viet Cong organization after their release from jail.


But the biggest single drawback to the Phoenix program is that except in a few areas it lacks popular support. What this boils down to is the reluctance of the average South Vietnamese citizen to turn in a Viet Cong cadre when he encounters one. Whether the reluctance stems from fear or admiration of the Viet Cong, it amounts to the same thing. That is, the extraordinarily large Viet Cong apparatus continues its covert existence in South Vietnamese territory. {p.83}


I would like to attach this supplement to my main statement. It has to do with Cambodia, and what I believe was the deliberate fabrication of statistics of the Khmer Communist Order of Battle by the CIA. I made allegations concerning the fabrication to the CIA Inspector General in December 1972, and I was told that Mr. Colby was aware of the allegations. As far as I can determine, no attempt was made to investigate the charges.

The circumstances of the fabrication are as follows:

1. The Khmer Communist Order of Battle, as put forth by U.S. intelligence between April 1970 and June 1971. was a range of from 5,000 to 10,000. The range remained constant during this period because no one within the U.S. intelligence community was looking into the matter.

2. In June 1971, I completed a memorandum, about 40 pages long, which was based on a review of all available evidence. Shortly after I handed the paper in, it was killed; I was threatened with firing, and told to work on weekends for the foreseeable future. I did so — that is I worked a seven-day week — throughout the summer of 1971. I would respectfully submit that this was a rare instance in which an intelligence analyst was punished during time of war for finding an enemy army.

3. Right after the paper was removed from my control, the job of researching the Communist OB in Cambodia was assigned to an analyst who had never worked on Cambodia, and who had never researched a combat OB. (By contrast, I had worked on Communist strength estimates for several years, often as the Agency’s only analyst on the matter.) The day the new analyst was given the job, he was also given a range to come up with — namely, 10,000-30,000. The analyst took five months to devise a way to come up with the assigned range. In November 1971, the CIA finally released its official OB. The number it came up with was a range of from 15,000-30,000, almost precisely the number the analyst had been given the previous June.

The present Khmer Communist (KC) Order of Battle approximately 50,000 — is derivative of the old number. I respectfully submit that it is extremely misleading, and greatly understates the strength of the Communist military organization in Cambodia. I would make the observation that U.S. intelligence currently asks us to believe that the Cambodian Government army of 200,000 outnumbers the KC army by four to one. Since Phnom Penh seems about to fall, I would respectfully suggest that the odds, as put forth by U.S. intelligence, are something of an anomaly.

I would note that I am in the process of laying out a more detailed account of what happened, which will include names, dates, and who did what to whom.

In any case, I submitted in December 1972 a detailed oral complaint to the CIA Inspector General (IG) on the matter. The IG official took lengthy notes on what I had to say. A day or so later, he told me that Mr. Colby, then the CIA’s Executive Director, had said vis-a-vis my complaint, “Let the chips fall where they may.”

As far as I can determine, only two things appeared to happen as a result of my complaints.

1. First, the Prosecution, during my testimony for the Defense at the Ellsberg trial brought the matter up to impeach my credibility as a witness. My trip to the CIA Inspector General was portrayed as the act of a chronic complainer.

2. Second, upon my return from the Ellsberg trial, I was informed orally that my employment at the CIA was about to be terminated. Although eventually the Agency backed down, I have reason to believe that the persons who proposed my termination were the same ones who were responsible for the fabrication of the Khmer Communist Order of Battle in 1971.


Senator Nunn [presiding].  The committee will reconvene.

And we have Mr. Sakwa, who will be our next witness.

Senator Symington will be back in just a few minutes.

Do you swear the testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God? {p.84}

Mr. Sakwa, do you want to be sworn in?

Mr. Sakwa. I do.

Senator Nunn. I believe you do have a prepared statement.

Statement of
Paul Sakwa,
Washington, D.C.

Mr. Sakwa. Yes, I do, Senator.

Senator Nunn. We would be delighted to have that.

Mr. Sakwa. This is very brief. I have submitted a number of documents to the committee, and I didn’t want to spend the whole day reading them to you since you have them here.

My name is Paul Sakwa. I reside at 825 New Hampshire Avenue NW., in Washington, D.C. I was a CIA employee, in the clandestine services, from 1952 until 1962. At our Washington headquarters, from February 1959 until August 1961, I had responsibility for political, psychological, and paramilitary warfare operations, in the Far East Division, for Vietnam. When I left this position to join the staff of Deputy Director (Plans), my title was Chief, Covert Activity, Vietnam.

I ask, respectfully, that my memorandum of July 4, 1973, addressed to Mr. Woolsey of this committee staff on the subject of Mr. William E. Colby, be made a matter of record.

In this memorandum I state:

Mr. Colby is an uncontrollable agent, he slanted intelligence, submitted misinformation, and permitted U.S. funds to be used in rigging the 1961 election in South Vietnam, while he was Saigon Chief of Station.

In the same memorandum, I cited the number identifications of 38 documents, plus the dates and titles of five memoranda which I wrote and addressed to the DDP, who then was Mr. Richard M. Bissell, Jr.

When I was informed by the committee staff that CIA could not locate my memoranda, addressed to Mr. Bissell, I gave copies to the committee. I ask, respectfully, that these memoranda be placed in the record. Names of those not involved in this hearing should be deleted, if I have not already done so.

Although I have indicated to Mr. Bissell that I could not account for Mr. Colby’s strange performance in Saigon, there is a possible explanation. I have no proof of this: An unofficial effort on the part of senior CIA officers to worsen the situation in South Vietnam so that a greater military presence would be justified and an early nuclear confrontation with Communist China might take place. Among others, Charles S. Whitehurst (Chief VCL) and possibly Desmond FitzGerald (Chief FE) were of this mentality.

I would like to add that regretfully Mr. FitzGerald is no longer alive, and of course cannot counter my interpretation of what he felt about Vietnam. I regret that.

I also submitted to the committee a critique of CIA which I wrote in 1962 and edited a bit in 1964.

I want to thank the committee for the opportunity to testify. And I would be happy to answer any questions.

[The document referred to follows:] {p.85}



(An Inside Critique by Paul Sakwa)

(Author’s note: Since the author has had extensive experience in the area discussed by this article he is writing under a pseudonym in order to avoid any possible embarrassment to the U.S. Government. Although this is a critique of a certain federal agency, it does not contain classified information. It was written in early 1962 and elaborated on slightly in 1964.)


Inspired by the conviction that no outside group or individuals could obtain an accurate view of a certain Agency’s workings and problems without operational experience within the Agency itself, this article seeks to provide an inside critique.

In the Agency the arts of security, concealment and deception have been so highly refined and made almost instinctual that some of these practices have manifested themselves on official levels where truth and accuracy are a command necessity. The natural hostility of the other agencies which operate more openly compounds the universal bureaucratic tendency to thwart criticism. Psychological factors incline those totally absorbed with secret information to disdain other information. Ambitious men, driven to obtain more intelligence and more agents, become blinded to the purpose of operations. The compartmentation and secrecy required for very sensitive activities perverts personnel policies so that there is a tendency to offer assignments only to one’s friends.

Lacking a public record of achievement, a clandestine employee can hardly avoid becoming a prisoner of his job. In some instances the internal mechanism for handling grievances functions as does a Soviet trade union — promises are broken and discipline is enforced. This is a closed society if not a sealed one. Technical and craft requirements and the hypnotic fascination of clandestine (James Bond) techniques have given the technicians a predominant role, displacing men of political judgment in an activity where mistakes have the gravest policy consequences.

It could be maintained that any critique of the Agency can be refuted on the grounds that the author does not know all the facts. The reply to this is that no one knows all the facts, there has often been confusion between what constitutes absurdity or intelligence and those presently in control can hardly be expected to point the accusing finger at themselves. Facts exist and can be found by those who have access to the files and the persons concerned.

Until recent years there was in the Agency an atmosphere that encouraged daring, new ideas and objectivity. A residue of daring remains, a majority of the better men have left, and much of the remaining talent is busily engaged in avoiding responsibility and in ossifying their minds. Inter-agency struggles, internal political conflicts and an over-extended involvement in matters of foreign policy (a process begun during the Eisenhower Administration when there was a lack of policy) have made some men giddy with power and imbued them with self-righteousness. In 1962 about half the operations were useless if not counter-productive or just plain not worth the expense.

Paying for misinformation has consequences more serious than a mere waste of money. Those holding responsible positions on the middle and senior levels know that the present situation protects them from embarrassing inquiries and they naturally prefer the status quo. As a consequence many of them have not only lost some degree of objectivity but they have also become inordinately sensitive to the kind of criticism contained herein.

The Agency performs most of its operational functions with admirable professionality; its personnel are probably the most devoted if at times most misguided men in our government. Its deficiencies result in large measure from its very rapid growth, the pernicious byproducts of secrecy, the lack of coordination with other agencies and with the White House, and the lack of effective Congressional review. Cultural personal and operational factors influence political judgment; a ranking official with an old-fashioned banana company mentality simply will not cooperate in promoting peaceful social revolution in Latin America — and may even thwart such policies; a commander in the Cold {p.86} War with a counter-espionage mentality frequently cannot distinguish between a Democratic Socialist and a Marxist Communist. Even so-called positive operations are corrupted by the participation of professional anti-Communists who know what they are against but not what they are for. Granting that all agencies make mistakes, the task is to discover if the propensity to error has become a habit and also to create the checks and mechanism whereby most of the avoidable mistakes are indeed avoided.

Inasmuch as this article concentrates on the errors and mistakes inherent in the very nature of a clandestine agency to the exclusion of its accomplishments, it might produce the impression that the Agency is a bureaucratic morass devoid of any saving grace. This is not the case. The Agency still contains a high percentage of dedicated men and women whose main concern is the welfare of their country. In some areas pleasant informality persists. Moreover, the Agency treats its employees who suffer personal calamities — service or otherwise induced — with a humanity and consideration which might well be emulated elsewhere. Woe the heretic, however, who renounces this religion and leaves this order.


By its very nature, a clandestine agency conceals its activities, including its mistakes. And all bureaucrats tend to avoid blame and responsibility, curry favor and, on occasion, accept credit for the work of others. However, since there is often more than a fair amount of resentment and official criticism directed at the Agency, the recipients of this antagonism are understandably reluctant to compound possible unfairness. In addition, any valid external criticism (valid only because it cites examples) suggests the possibility of a security leak. In this way security considerations, self-defense and misguided self-righteousness become unavoidably intermingled.

The pursuit of secret knowledge develops a “keyhole” frame of reference in the mind of the pursuer which severely limits his perspective. The narrow task of cultivating or handling an intelligence source allows little time for reflection or the assessment of an overall political situation. In the newer nations, where there may be close liaison relationships with high ranking members of a friendly government, biased reporting may result from adopting the political bias of one’s opposite numbers, and some foreign officials may come to believe that the Agency is a quicker and more effective channel to action in Washington. If the Agency concludes that there is no alternative to a particular policy or regime (suggesting some leader’s immortality and thus placing him and his regime in mortal jeopardy), there is an element of career risk involved in submitting reports or evaluations which contradict Agency policy.

The procurement and handling of secret knowledge fosters a feeling of omniscience and promotes an attitude of disdain for material from overt sources which could implement, support or question intelligence reports. The procedures designed to prevent outride scrutiny have become reverse barriers which in important instances screen out truth, objectivity and the possibility of sound judgment. Documents stamped SECRET tend to be regarded as necessarily true. Those charged with carrying out political operations also supervise the procurement of intelligence, which may reflect on the purpose and success of the same political operations. Even men of high dedication cannot easily allow the accuracy and thus the success of one activity to announce the failure of the other.

Here the lack of effective Executive and Congressional scrutiny prompts irresponsibility which results in initiating and continuing unnecessary operations. Empires are sometimes judged by their wealth, and a sensible reduction in a unit’s budget may complicate the obtaining of adequate funds at a later date. The performance of junior officers is evaluated on the basis of the number of agent recruitments and the number of intelligence disseminations. There is no record of an officer being promoted because he recommended the termination of a useless project.

Agency links with certain communications media may tend to influence American public opinion in both their operational and advertising functions.

Extreme security measures, overclassification of sensitive material, exaggerated use of compartmentation, the creation of special inter-agency units for the handling of sensitive material and composed of men who have not done their homework promote a kind of bureaucratic chauvinism and paranoia which, in turn, complicate or even prevent coordination in areas where responsibilities overlap. New channels often frustrate and block established and tested channels of policy formulation and action. The aura of secrecy induces an enjoyable {p.87} conspiratorial flavor while, at the same time, it breeds suspicion of capable officials who have the necessary clearance but are strangers. The keepers of secrets are not necessarily wise. At times they are even corrupted by them.

Clandestine operations involve modes of behavior which would be considered immoral within national boundaries. Such behavior becomes “realism” beyond our borders and, in the process, tends to promote indifference to moral and democratic values: there is a compulsive delight in activities wherein the breach of ethical behavior can be justified on patriotic grounds. Given a common enemy, the character and deportment of foreign contacts become almost unimportant considerations. Certain that the honor of Americans cannot be corrupted by foreign currencies, it is assumed that the services of foreigners — who have stature and integrity — can be purchased with dollars. The doctrinal procedures for hiring an intelligence source would present any intelligent foreigner With evidence of a lack of mutual trust, and working bonds of mutual interest become rather crude business relationships. The man who can be purchased works only for himself.


A clandestine technician is one who knows the mechanics of espionage according to established doctrine. His skill in this area is usually compensated by his inability to anticipate the political or other consequences of operational failure or success. He is to the Agency what a diesel engineer is to a steamship company: his services are essential, but bis perspective is limited. A petty security infraction may enrage him, while a blunder of some magnitude may evoke little concern provided that doctrinal requirements have been followed. A technician has an insatiable appetite for intelligence (sometimes propelled by unlimited requirements levied by other agencies). Quality must surrender to quantity, since he cannot judge the former. The process of identifying a useful piece of intelligence has been compared to the task of gleaning a diamond chip from a pile of broken glass. When everything has been reported, the Agency cannot lose.

To a considerable degree the need for covert political action is reduced in proportion to the improvement in the quality and consistency of American foreign policy. Even prior to this happy development, many political operations became merely a means of payment for the “intelligence” received from liaison sources. If the liaison source represented a corrupt, inefficient and unpopular government, subsidies and close relationships helped to sustain the regime in its disastrous direction, making the United States a partner in corruption and complicating later efforts at reform. If such regimes are under pressure by the American Ambassador to institute reforms, high level officials of the regime may find a sympathetic ear in the person of the ranking Agency officer present. In addition to the obvious confusion, some very weird intelligence reporting may result from the maintenance of this “vital” liaison.

Since the Cold War was the main justification for the creation and rapid expansion of the Agency and since the end of the Cold War (a prospect not easily exacted in 1962) would remove its raison d’tre, there appears to be an unconscious bias favoring action which could aggravate what is mostly a political problem to the point where there is no choice but to adopt paramilitary measures. Impatience with sophisticated diplomacy and indirect political action follows from the fact that the enemy has many advantages in this game, as he has in conventional diplomacy. War is war, and in a war one does not question the character of one’s allies. What is often missing, however, is an understanding of the political and social factors which make internal subversion and warfare successful. The halo of strident anti-Communism blinds the cold warrior to the fact that his ally may have created and fostered the preconditions for successful internal conflict. In the process of buying affection we lose the respect of our allies and they may lose their territories.

The Agency’s operational area resembles the baronial system of 11th Century France: changes in command are referred to as a game of musical chairs. Senior officers who filled important slots ten years ago still retain the same or similar positions, interrupted at times with ours to the desirable foreign posts. In contrast, the Foreign Service retires some sixty to ninety men a year, mostly from the senior level. Perpetuating themselves in office and cultivating personal ties for over a decade, these officers inevitably develop proprietary attitudes and the assumption that longevity in a senior position makes for unassailable judgment. Incentive is reduced, new ideas are not encouraged and stereotyped operations result. Old friendships tend to supersede operational necessity in a closed {p.88} society, and the game of baronial polities more than adequately fulfills the gossip requirements of the Agency.

When incompetents achieve positions of authority (as they will in any agency), security procedures can conceal their incompetence and errors. Such individuals become adept at noisily anti-Communist — and often useless — operations. (Surely no one will criticise the production of anti-Communist propaganda even if it is dull and unreadable.) New ideas and imaginative minds are justifiably regarded as a threat to incompetents. Assignments are made by the operating units, and when an officer returns from a field post he may walk the halls for months if the old school tie fails to meet similar colors. This procedure may be contrasted with the one in effect in the Foreign Service.

The Agency blithely assumes that clandestine training produces labor experts and officers with political judgment; whereas no one would dream of expecting the same process to produce attorneys and violinists. Clandestine expertise is confused with proficiency in other fields. Disdain for external criticism and discouragement of internal dissent prevents anyone from saying that the emperor or operational baron has forgotten his clothes.


The lack of understanding and appreciation on the part of other agencies plus the time-consuming struggle to gain at times their acquiescence for even the most necessary and obvious operations has created a mentality which is supersensitive to any kind of criticism. This includes constructive criticism, the function most needed. Outside committees and groups with authority to monitor Agency activities are inevitably regarded as a potential threat Since required security practices are best obtained from extensive training and conditioning, there is an understandable reluctance to impart vital and controversial secrets to visiting scholars and military types. There is the real possibility that some personality will be unduly shocked by this experience. Inasmuch as the Agency specializes in the arts of deception it is not difficult to dazzle the uninitiated visitors with a couple of good spy stories. It is relatively easy to mute all criticism by adopting the pious posture of lonely and selfless dedication against a diabolical enemy whose evil is only imperfectly understood elsewhere in the government.

The inverse pride in anonymity and the extreme dedication required for this profession forces the Agency to act like a state within a state. Joining the Agency is like taking holy orders for life. Higher loyalty to it rather than to the government is a reflex phenomenon. Clandestinely operating personnel have no public record (although there exists an office to help with this problem), there can be no appeal for outside understanding. There are severely lessened opportunities for employment elsewhere since one cannot describe previous employment experience. Resignees are stamped as renegades. These mostly inherent conditions discourage daring and dissent. Officers with family responsibilities who lack a private income and are not identified with the original OSS and FBI elements, tend to degenerate into the drones Stewart Alsop once claimed that he discovered in the Department of State.


Those who are acquainted with the Agency’s responsibilities, accomplishments and dedicated personnel will not question the vital role it must continue to play in the national security. Other spokesmen for the Agency will continue to justify or even glorify it. This article is a critique, hopefully an honest and constructive one. The Agency’s difficulties are built into the system and go back some fifteen years. If bureaucracies have their own laws, logic and purpose, a clandestine bureaucracy would challenge even Mr. Parkinson’s description.

The weaknesses of the Agency result from its very rapid growth in an area where expertise had to be acquired the hard way — by accepting risks and by acting swiftly where other agencies were unable or unwilling to act.

This rapid expansion placed many young men on upper professional levels where they have remained too long.

Necessary security procedures in the clandestine operation area have all but sealed openings to the healthy sunlight of outside criticism and to important realities. The receipt of some unwarranted criticism has eliminated receptivity to any criticism.

The lack of outside scrutiny and the absence of a court of appeal requires that the internal mechanism for handling grievances — where so much can be {p.89} concealed for so long — function with the highest integrity. While this machinery has performed many useful functions, it has also lied and exerted great power to protect its immediate master, the Agency.

Technical requirements of an unusual profession have placed a premium on clauuestiue expertise, relegating to a very secondary place the foreign policy requisite of foresight, anticipation, and sound political judgment. The Agency makes policy by the simple expedient of submitting a proposal for approval in an area where policy is unclear or non-existent. Its Director, who plays a Merlin-like role, sits in the highest councils. An Assistant Secretary of State will not contradict him. The Agency, like any agency which helps to carry out foreign policy, is capable of modifying it and of thwarting it.

The reorganization of the Agency, undertaken by those who have perfected the game of musical chairs, results only in a variation of the same game — musical offices or other units — leaving the main problems unresolved.

All these factors have combined in such a way that the Agency’s capacity to make mistakes has become institutionalized. Any attempt to remedy this grave situation must take into account the enormous power wielded by this Agency. Secret knowledge is secret power. Other agencies must continue to coordinate with it and maintain its cooperativeness. It has vast legal, political and institutional links and power. It has sought and gained (with no evil intent) the cooperation of a large number of important individuals and organizations, in a response to patriotic needs. These patriots are naturally reluctant to see friendships, idols, past activities and even the liberal establishment questioned. In any event, it appears that sentiment is growing in the Congress for a stronger review function. Such efforts might find some guidance in the following recommendations:

Senior Agency officers must have unqualified loyalty to the President and should have demonstrated foreign policy views which are in concert with if not identical to the views of the President. In turn, these officers should have full Presidential support in fending unjustified attacks from other agencies, the press and the Congress. Since it claims to be a clandestine agency, it should not seek publicity. If senior officers are permitted to lecture, write and release papers concerning the Agency, then every present and former employee is justified in doing the same, including the author.

Since clandestine activity and its inevitable failures are of crucial concern to the success of foreign policy, an objective monitoring element should be introduced. Three functions are required: supervision by a Killian-type committee under the Executive, a permanent physical link with the Department of State, and the creation of a Joint Congressional “watchdog” Committee to oversee its operations.

(a) The new Executive Committee would consist of 9 member of the White House Staff (with access to all Agency facilities at any time), experienced officers from sister agencies and two non-governmental representatives (avoiding local institutions having links with the Agency) who reside in or near Washing-ton, D.C., so as to permit frequent inspections.

(b) The link with the Department of State would consist of twelve carefully chosen officers from State who would have desks in both agencies, covering identical geographical or functional areas, who would have access to all Agency material in the areas of their assignment This would be a two year assignment, without prejudice to considering the officers for promotion by State in the normal lapse of time. This bridge would provide a secure window to and for a closed support organization, and it would facilitate cooperation between two agencies which waste much time thwarting and detesting each other. Present liaison arrangements cannot perform these functions and these functions would not be a substitute for all present liaison links. This secure non-Agency scrutiny in depth would produce automatic pressures on the most serious existing deficiencies.

(c) It should be made clear that the Agency is a foreign support agency of the Department of State and that the Director of this Agency is of lower rank and power than the Secretary of State.

(d) Agency operations in the U.S. territories should be reviewed by the Executive before possible illegality is exposed by the Congress.

(e) Although the Agency falls under the authority of the President, this responsibility can be a political and policy liability. The Agency tends to be a power unto itself and U.S. Presidents have felt obliged to select as its directors — admirals, generals, individuals who are not always best qualified in the areas of foreign policy. President Kennedy failed to control this Agency because he and {p.90} his advisors failed to appoint to it and protect within it the men who were loyal to him and dedicated to his foreign policy objectives.


Senator Symington (presiding).  Mr. Sakwa. I understand you voluntarily contacted the committee, office and then met with two staff members and left the memorandum that suggested we obtain certain documents pertaining to the period in which Mr. Colby was station chief in Saigon; is that correct? At that time — we are particularly interested in 1961 — you were a CIA employee supervising covert activities in South Vietnam?

Mr. Sakwa. Yes, sir.

Senator Symington. Did you have prior experience in Indo-China?

Mr. Sakwa. No, sir.

Senator Symington. Among the materials you suggested we request from the CIA are 31 documents which can he described as incoming intelligence reports from the field; is that right? Those documents are classified; are they not? Have you requested a declassification of them?

Mr. Sakwa. I don’t know how I will go about it, but I think it is a good idea.

Senator Symington. Do you have copies of them yourself?

Mr. Sakwa. No, I don’t.

Senator Symington. Did you submit them to the committee?

Mr. Sakwa. I submitted a number so the committee could obtain the documents and review them.

Senator Symington. The CIA has furnished all those reports to us now. In addition you suggested the file numbers of 70 other documents, both incoming and outgoing traffic. And in three instances you suggested that we also request replies; am I correct?

Mr. Sakwa. That is right, sir.

Senator Symington. Two of the documents supplied in response to your numbers refer to other countries, and one could not be found. It is possible that some of your reference numbers were in error?

Mr. Sakwa. That is possible; yes, sir.

Senator Symington. In addition, you suggested that we request five memos which you wrote as a CIA employee in the June-December period of 1961; is that correct?

Mr. Sakwa. Yes, sir.

Senator Symington. The CIA was able to supply only one of those memos, and officials believe they may have been hand-carried or handled in such a way that they were not lost. Do I correctly understand that when the staff advised you of this you were able to supply the five memos?

Mr. Sakwa. Yes, sir.

Senator Symington. You left one additional 14-page paper with our staff when you met with them?

Mr. Sakwa. Yes, sir.

Senator Symington. Does this summarize fairly the materials you have suggested for our review?

Mr. Sakwa. Yes, sir.

Senator Symington. We may have some difficulty here in open session, because each of those documents, with the exception of your undated 14-page paper, is classified. In your covering memo to our staff you say that this collection of documents which we have now obtained to prove, “Mr. Colby is an uncontrollable agent.” {p.91}


What do you mean by that?

Mr. Sakwa. I mean by that, sir, that he acts with a certain flamboyance which is perhaps typical of the older OSS group, who were undoubtedly very talented and brave men, but who form a kind of clique in the Agency. They go way back. And they were performing these functions during World War II. And they do free wheel. I know there were times when I would address a cable to the Chief of Station, Saigon, that is, to Mr. Colby, and all the cables went out from Washington had a DIR number, that is, they have the authority of the Director of Central Intelligence—

Senator Symington. Do you know Mr. Colby personally?

Mr. Sakwa. No, I met him once in Roger Hillman’s office in State years ago, and I think that is the only time. I have nothing personally against him.

Senator Symington. You have nothing personally against him?

Mr. Sakwa. No, sir.

Senator Symington. Why did you leave the CIA?

Mr. Sakwa. I was forced to leave.

There is another circumstance which I have not yet presented to the committee. I don’t think it would be proper, as you pointed out, unless I give you a few days warning on this, but I would be happy to relate that to you, because it is similar to this. There were two stories involved. One was the Vietnam story—

Senator Symington. Go ahead, whatever you have in your mind, let’s have it.

Mr. Sakwa. Well, I wasn’t prepared to come out with this at this time.

Senator Symington. You say that Mr. Colby, who has been nominated for the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, is an uncontrollable agent. And that is a pretty serious indictment.

Mr. Sakwa. Yes, sir.

Senator Symington. You have made it, and you have made it publicly. And therefore I ask you if you are in effect a disgruntled discharged employee, or if you have resigned and you want to help. Because it takes a long time to build a reputation, and you can destroy it overnight. I would just like to know your background and why you left the CIA, inasmuch as you have asked repeatedly and talked to a lot of people around town about this situation, and you asked to testify, and you are here.

Mr. Sakwa. Okay, sir; if you want me to I will be very happy to explain that.

Senator Symington. You would know whether it violates security or not. But I just asked you why you left the CIA.

Mr. Sakwa. All right.

I don’t have the exact dates, but perhaps around — when I was still working in the Far East division I had previously worked in the International Organizations division for Cord Meyer, Jr., who is now in London at our Embassy there.

Senator Symington. I didn’t hear you.

Mr. Sakwa. Cord Meyer, Jr. I had worked for what they call IO division.

Senator Symington. You say he is now where? {p.92}

Mr. Sakwa. He is now in London in our Embassy there. And I had been engaged in certain kinds of operations where I feel that too much injection of CIA money and control would be detrimental to U.S. policy, and would in effect benefit the Soviet economy.

Senator Symington. In other words, you were in covert operations, is that what you were saying?

Mr. Sakwa. Oh, yes.

Senator Symington. What did that have to do with your leaving the Agency?

Mr. Sakwa. I brought my impression of those operations to the attention of two White House aides, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and Ralph Dungan, who was special assistant to President Kennedy. And I said, what can be done about this?

Senator Symington. Done about what?

Mr. Sakwa. I am not going into detail, Senator, but I can sort of give you the picture.

Senator Symington. For whom were you working at that time?

Mr. Sakwa. I was working for the Far East division at that time.

Senator Symington. And who headed up this division?

Mr. Sakwa. Desmond FitzGerald.

Senator Symington. And Mr. FitzGerald is dead, yes? And he is the one that gave you your instructions?

Mr. Sakwa. Yes, sir.

Senator Symington. Of course, he is not here to discuss the matter with us—

Mr. Sakwa. Unfortunately that is so.

Senator Symington. Did you think that he was the same kind of a person as Mr. Colby?

Mr. Sakwa. Senator, he was in charge of the Far East division, and he made policy.

Senator Symington. Would you call him an uncontrollable agent?

Mr. Sakwa. I don’t know that. I know about Mr. Colby, because I used to send Mr. Colby dispatches and cables. Now, I didn’t have a close relationship with Mr. FitzGerald.

Senator Symington. You worked for Mr. FitzGerald, and you only saw Mr. Colby once, and you met in the State Department, but you knew him better than Mr. FitzGerald, is that right? I am just trying to get the story straight.

Mr. Sakwa. No, I wouldn’t say I knew him better. I knew of his performance, or nonperformance.

Senator Symington. I thought I saw something about Mr. FitzGerald in your statement here, but I guess I was wrong.

Mr. Sakwa. If you want me to continue, sir, on why I left the agency, I will be happy to complete that story.

Senator Symington. All right. Why don’t you go ahead?

Mr. Sakwa. At the request or permission of two White House aides during the administration of President Kennedy, I drafted a memo on certain kinds of international operations which, in the process of being typed by my secretary on a Sunday afternoon, was intercepted by one of my superiors in the Far East Division. The memo was addressed to the President of the United States. I don’t think it has been done very often. And it caused a bit of a furor.

Senator Symington. Your memo to the President? {p.93}

Mr. Sakwa. I had addressed a memo to the President.

Senator Symington. And it was intercepted?

Mr. Sakwa. It was intercepted by one of my superiors.

Senator Symington. Who intercepted it?

Mr. Sakwa. I think it could have been Bill Jones.

Senator Symington. Bill Jones?

What was he doing?

Mr. Sakwa. Well, we worked odd hours sometimes in the Agency, and he happened to be in on Sunday when my secretary was typing this up for me.

Senator Symington. How did you know he intercepted it?

Mr. Sakwa. My secretary told me.

Senator Symington. That he took it from her?

Mr. Sakwa. Yes.

Senator Symington. How did he know you had written it?

Mr. Sakwa. My name was on it, and she was my secretary.

Senator Symington. Did he come and ask for it, or did he get it in the mail, or how did he do that?

Mr. Sakwa. No, she was typing it at the time. I don’t know how much she had been able to type, but he took the draft that had already been typed—

Senator Symington. He asked her for it and she gave it to him?

Mr. Sakwa. Sir, he was my boss, and there was no question that he could ask for it and get it.

Senator Symington. Did you have the same office space together?

Mr. Sakwa. We were rather crowded in temporary buildings at the time, and I think my secretary was in my office — we had the same space. I was not there, at the time.

Senator Symington. What I am trying to get at, then, did he look at your mail or did he just happen to see this particular item that he wanted?

Mr. Sakwa. He was in that day, and he heard a typewriter going, and he opened the door, and my secretary was typing a memorandum for the President.

Senator Symington. How did he know it was for the President?

Mr. Sakwa. It was addressed that way.

Senator Symington. Did he go and look at what she was typing?

Mr. Sakwa. Yes, sir.

Senator Symington. Is that the first time he ever did that?

Mr. Sakwa. As far as I know, yes.

Senator Symington. And it was just by coincidence that he happened to look at what your secretary was typing?

Mr. Sakwa. I do think it was by coincidence, yes, there is no reason to believe otherwise.

Senator Symington. Thank you. Now, will you proceed?

Mr. Sakwa. Well, when I learned about this I guess — my secretary told me that day — and when I came in Monday morning I must say it was a very strange day in my life. It was very quiet. No one would drop a pin.

Senator Symington. Did you generally drop — I am trying to follow you there — did you generally drop pins every morning?

Mr. Sakwa. Usually when it is quiet you do that, I understand.

Senator Symington. Did you keep some pins in your pocket? {p.94}

Mr. Sakwa. Paper clips.

I was called into the office of the Inspector General. And that was Lyman Kirkpatrick at the time. And he questioned me about this.

And he called me in, I think, a few days later and told me that the memo had been given to an Allan Dulles, and that Mr. Dulles thought it was not a bad memo.

Senator Symington. How do you know that?

Mr. Sakwa. This is what Mr. Kirkpatrick told me.

Senator Symington. That Mr. Dulles thought the memo was all right?

Mr. Sakwa. He thought it was a pretty good memo, there were some inaccuracies. And as we always say, I didn’t have all the facts. This is the big excuse everywhere, no one has all the facts. Someone suggested earlier today that the Director of Central Intelligence doesn’t have all the facts. In any event, Mr. Kirkpatrick told me that Mr. Dulles thought it was important enough and worthy enough to be sent over to the White House. But since it was a classified document, it would be sent through CIA channels. And I was enormously flattered by this. And I called Ralph Dungan, and I said. I have a little trouble here, my memo got intercepted. But the memo will be sent over to your office.

And so Ralph began to wait for it. He waited week after week after week. I recall from time to time I insisted that he had received it. The secretary tore the office apart and couldn’t find it.

Finally, I got in touch with Mr. Kirkpatrick, and asked him what had happened. And then in an offhand way he said, we decided not to send it to the White House.

I had a certain opinion of Mr. Kirkpatrick, but I don’t want to take up the valuable time of this committee.

Senator Symington. Is that the Mr. Kirkpatrick who is at Brown University now?

Mr. Sakwa. Yes, sir. That is him all right. I know where he is.

Senator Symington. I am beginning to think from your testimony that you don’t approve of Mr. Kirkpatrick.

Mr. Sakwa. Sir, you are correct there, yes. You are very discerning.

Of course, I was in trouble then. So Mr. Bissell, who was then Deputy Director of Plans, called me down to this office, and we had a little discussion about this. And while we were going through this he asked me, he said, “I understand you’ve been working on Vietnam. How are things there?”

And I said, “Sir, things there are a disaster.”

And he said. “What?”

And I said, “Yes, they are a disaster.”

And he said, “Well, golly, if you feel that way, we’ll have to take you out of the FE division.” And he said, “Did you ever see Des FitzGerald?”

And I said, “Only, sir, in the john.”

And he said. “Well, with your attitude on Vietnam — ”

And I indicated that I was a good soldier, carried out my orders—

Senator Symington. You see, the reason I’m asking these questions — and I am sure you were a good soldier — is that you have talked about a lot of people so far, Mr. Dulles, Mr. Kirkpatrick, Mr. Bissell, and Mr. Jones. But what we are here for now is to discuss the confirmation or possible confirmation of a recommendation for the Direc- {p.95} tor of the Central Intelligence Agency. And during all this period did you have any connection with Mr. Colby?

Mr. Sakwa. Only the dispatches and cables.

Senator Symington. I beg your pardon.

Mr. Sakwa. Only by sending cables to the field and receiving reports from the Saigon station.

Senator Symington. And as I understand it, you felt that those cables were incorrect, is that correct?

Mr. Sakwa. I wouldn’t say they were all incorrect, sir. I think that there is a pattern there of misinformation or slanting of intelligence. When Mr. Colby’s lesser reports came to Washington that indicate—

Senator Symington. You just felt he was supplying this information, is that correct?

Mr. Sakwa. Sir, I refer to CS3/475063. And I quote: “It was clear that the President wanted a solid majority everywhere on his own merits.”

This refers to President Nguyen Diem.

Senator Symington. The reason I remember Mr. FitzGerald’s name, the Chief of the Far East, as you pointed out. for whom you worked and who is now deceased, you said in your statement:

Although I have indicated to Mr. Bissell that I could not account for Mr. Colby’s strange performance in Saigon, there is a possible explanation. I have no proof of this: an unofficial effort on the part of senior CIA officers to worsen the situation in South Vietnam so that a greater military presence would be justified and an early nuclear confrontation with Communist China might take place. Among others. Charles S. Whitehurst (Chief VCL) and possibly Desmond FitzGerald (Chief FE) were of this mentality.

Mr. Sakwa. That’s right, sir.

Senator Symington. We, may have some more questions that we would like you to answer for the record, Mr. Sakwa.

Senator Nunn, any questions?

Senator Nunn. No questions.

Senator Symington. Thank you for your testimony.

Mr. Sakwa. I want to thank the committee for this opportunity.

Senator Symington. It is a privilege to have heard you, sir.

The next witness is Mr. David Harrington.

Mr. Harrington, do you have a prepared statement?

Mr. Harrington. Yes, sir.

Do you want to swear me in first, sir?

Senator Symington. Yes, I would like to swear you in first.

Will you raise your right hand.

Will you swear that the information you give this committee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Mr. Harrington. I do.

Senator Symington. Will you proceed?

Statement of
David Sheridan Harrington,
Washington, D.C.

Mr. Harrington. My name is David Sheridan Harrington, and I reside at 105 Ferry St. NW., Washington, D.C.

The events I am about to describe occurred in early 1969 while I was assigned to CORDS/Vietnam as a program officer at the I Corps regional headquarters. At that time I was a first lieutenant in the U.S. {p.96} Marine Corps and on a voluntary extension of an initial 13-month tour in Vietnam. My selection into CORDS was based on my combat infantry experience, my fluency in Vietnamese and French, and my training in psychological operations. Since then, I completed my 3 years of active duty in March 1970, and resigned my commission at the end of my 6-year service obligation.

The possible confirmation of Ambassador William E. Colby as the Director of Central Intelligence disturbs me because I have believed for a long time that he has never explained fully the Phoenix program at its operation level. Furthermore, he has never, to my knowledge, offered anything more than vague statements on his efforts either to cease the widespread killings occurring under the Phoenix program or to divest the United States of any involvement in the assassination of Vietnamese civilians.

Specifically, in testimony before the Committee on Government Operations in 1971, Ambassador Colby answered questions on the Phoenix program by resorting to evasive and misleading bureaucratic language to distinguish Phoenix policy from operations, and to claim that only a few abuses occurred at the local level, and those without the approval of Phoenix administrators.

However, I attended a meeting in 1969 at which Mr. Colby was told directly about the operational problems of Phoenix, and the many abuses occurring at the local level. ¶

From this briefing, he could only conclude that large gaps existed between Phoenix policy in Saigon and operations in the field. ¶

Until Mr. Colby provides a complete report of the Phoenix program and his role in it, I believe that Mr. Colby’s involvement in Phoenix raises a serious question as to his suitability for high Government office.

Not long after my assignment to DaNang, either in late February or early March 1969, I was informed by the Deputy for CORDS in I Corps, Mr. Alexander Firfer, that Mr. Colby was coming up for a high level briefing on the status of pacification. ¶

Since I had prime responsibility for all statistics and briefing materials, this important meeting stands out in my mind. ¶

I was invited to attend the meeting to provide backup information as needed and to take notes. This opportunity pleased me because I was very interested in meeting officials from Saigon and hearing a discussion on pacification.

The meeting was held in the second floor conference room of CORDS regional headquarters at 22 Bach Dang, DaNang. ¶

Present at the meeting from Saigon were Ambassador Colby, Mr. George Jacobson, and Colonel Montague; from DaNang, Mr. Firfer, his deputy Mr. Fritz, myself, and Mr. Harry Mustakos, the regional CIA Director. Two other senior DaNang staff, Robert, K. Olson and Robert Mills, attended portions of the briefing.

The initial phase of the meeting lasted about 1-1/2 hours, and included a briefing by my boss and subsequent questions, answers, and discussion of the presentation. ¶

Mr. Colby had prepared thoroughly for the briefing, and asked pointed questions on all phases of the pacification program. ¶

Mr. Mustakos was in turn to make a presentation. I knew very little about Mr. Mustakos besides his position and the fact that many CORDS people, myself and my boss included, had serious questions about the known CIA agents who carried luger pistols and folding stock automatic rifles. ¶

Rumors were fairly widespread that these {p.97} covert operators were engaged in a very dirty war with the Vietcong and their sympathizers.

Mr. Mustakos appeared quite defensive from the beginning of his presentation. After a few moments I learned that it was due to complaints from Saigon about I Corps’ poor quality intelligence and low neutralization rate of quality Vietcong Infrastructure (VCI). ¶

Mr. Colby nodded in such fashion that he was acknowledging his concern and his desire to hear Mr. Mustakos’ defense. ¶

Mr. Mustakos focused on three areas of discussion in responding to Saigon’s criticisms: One, the low quality of operational groups such as Provisional Reconnaissance Units (PRU’s); two, the high number of VCI killed before possible interrogation; and three, a criticism of Saigon pressure for high quality VCI. ¶

Mr. Mustakos was drawing a clear picture of the Phoenix program at the local level in order to ward off what he considered bureaucratic harassment.

The logic of Mr. Mustakos’ presentation moved very clearly toward a sound defense for his efforts in I Corps. ¶

He began with the fact that the ill-disciplined nature of the PRU’s resulted in very poor operational control over these PRU’s by his agents. ¶

As a result of the poor discipline and lack of control, many alleged VCI were killed instead of captured. ¶

These killings took place away from CIA supervision and consequently, Mustakos could not guarantee who was killed and certainly could not collect more information on the VCI from these dead Vietnamese. ¶

Mr. Mustakos gave the general example of a nervous PRU unit out on assignment in Vietcong territory killing a struggling Vietnamese suspect with a silencer-equipped pistol for fear of attracting attention. ¶

At this point, Colby interjected that killing was not CORDS policy regardless of breakdown at the local level.

Senator Symington. Let me interrupt you there.

Who were member’s of the Provisional Reconnaissance Unit?

Mr. Harrington. This was not outlined completely in this particular briefing. That is why I did not mention it. ¶

But as I understand it, the Provisional Reconnaissance Unit — the members of the Provisional Reconnaissance Unit were recruited by the national police from hoodlums or thugs or people who were at least willing to engage in covert activities against the Vietcong.

Senator Symington. Were there any Americans in those units?

Mr. Harrington. No; I stated that, I believe, earlier in my testimony.

Senator Symington. I just want to be sure that the Provisional Reconnaissance Units were Vietnamese.

Mr. Harrington. That’s correct, although I will add that in 1971 testimony, Ambassador Colby did acknowledge the fact that Americans did on occasion accompany groups such as the PRU’s on covert operations, but that is the extent — the extent of my knowledge.

Mr. Mustakos found the quota system from Saigon particularly vexing in that he considered himself an operations type and had little use for bureaucratic demands. ¶

He used the allegory from Mao about the sea and the fishes to present his view on the status of guerrilla warfare in I Corps. ¶

He stated that the sea had been rolled back (that is, the civilian population had largely been driven to the edge of the sea by the advent of bombing and free-fire zones) and what were left was fish (that is, VCI). ¶

Mr. Mustakos then asked what difference {p.98} does it make whether we get big fish or little fish. His aim was to obtain permission to include all Vietnamese suspects neutralized in his monthly VCI quota. ¶

Mr. Colby gave no response at this point.

The clear understanding gained from the Mustakos briefing was that many abuses occurred at the operational level of the Phoenix program, including widespread and uncontrolled assassinations.

My difficulty with Mr. Colby’s possible confirmation sharpens in light of his testimony before the House Committee on Government Operations, particularly on pages 206 and 207. This is the 1971 testimony. ¶

There, Ambassador Colby limited his knowledge of abuses to some isolated acts by individuals. ¶

Furthermore, he added that it took CORDS nearly 3 years to refine the intelligence gathering system to the point where they were reasonably sure that a Vietnamese civilian was actually a member of the VCI. ¶

Today, I have told you that Ambassador Colby was briefed in 1969 about a poor program involving widespread abuses, including murder. ¶

Yet, Mr. Colby allowed this program to continue for another 2 years, apparently without any better assurance that those killed were anything more than innocent Vietnamese civilians.

Hopefully, my testimony has provided a clear base for understanding the important questions raised by Mr. Colby’s role in Vietnam, and a firm direction for further inquiries into his knowledge of and involvement in the Phoenix program. ¶

Mr. Colby was informed of the widespread abuses at the operational level of the Phoenix program in at least one region. ¶

What did he learn about operations elsewhere in Vietnam? ¶

If he knew of the abuses in the program and the lack of hard information on VCI, why did he allow the number of “VCI killed” to continue to climb in 1969, 1970, and 1971? ¶

What specific actions were taken, or specific directives issued to disengage U.S. support of Phoenix? ¶

What specific restraints were placed on Phoenix operators as a result of Mr. Colby’s learning of abuses in the Phoenix program? ¶

What requirements for the reporting of war crimes did Mr. Colby initiate to insure feedback on abuses in Phoenix?

I believe a full acquittal on all charges against the Phoenix program and Mr. Colby’s direction of it to be a minimum requirement for his confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

Senator Symington. Thank you, Mr. Harrington.

I have been to DaNang myself several times during the war. ¶

The Vietcong were pretty active up there, were they not?

Mr. Harrington. Yes, sir.

Senator Symington. And many people were killed up there by the Vietcong, were they not?

Mr. Harrington. Yes, sir; I believe that Ambassador Colby submitted figures on that which indicated that the Vietcong terrorism resulted in 12,000 Vietnamese being killed, whereas the Phoenix program had resulted in over 21,000 Vietnamese civilians being killed.

Senator Symington. Don’t misunderstand me, I regret this war, but I would just like the record to show that General Walt, who was in command, and later General Cushman, who was in command—

Mr. Harrington. And General Nickerson was there.

Senator Symington. I will only talk about the ones I saw there starting in 1965 in command. ¶

They were very upset about the Vietcong attacks on other Vietnamese and the village chiefs and also Americans. {p.99}

As I understand it, your primary concern about this nomination is that you feel that Mr. Colby was responsible for the Phoenix program?

Mr. Harrington. Yes, sir; I believe that as the director of CORDS program he had an operational overview of the Phoenix program, and therefore should have reported these abuses to the higher authorities back in Washington. ¶

And what really particularly concerned me, I was not in Washington following the 1971 testimony very closely at that time, I was out in California on vacation. ¶

But what would concern me on reading this afterward was that I felt on direct questioning, particularly from Congressman Reid — and I have the testimony here and I could read excerpts which indicate that at least before Congress he used at least evasive and misleading language in suggesting the extent of the abuses in the Phoenix program. ¶

And as the Senator says, on the basis of his own visit to DaNang, I think the Senator was aware of more widespread abuses that he acknowledged in testimony before the House. ¶

And that is the concern that I bring to the Senate, in the hope that this situation can be cleared.

Senator Symington. Have you evidence that he did not report this to his superiors in Washington?

Mr. Harrington. No, sir; I don’t. I was not privy, of course, to his line of communication with his seniors. ¶

I only have the public testimony from the House to really go on as a guide.

Senator Symington. So what concerns you the most, as I understand it, is what he said with respect to the Phoenix program before the House committee?

Mr. Harrington. That is correct, sir.

Senator Symington. And what committee was that again?

Mr. Harrington. The House Committee on Government Operations.

I have just a brief excerpt here that I could read.

Senator Symington. That is all right. I think we got the thrust of it. If you want to put it in the record you are welcome to do so.

Senator Nunn.

Senator Sam Nunn I just have a few questions, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Harrington, what do you do now?

Mr. Harrington. Right now I am the director of a day care center here in Washington, D.C., for preschool children.

Senator Nunn. How long were you in the service?

Mr. Harrington. I was in the Marine Corps on active duty for 3 years, 3 months; 3 months at officer candidate school in early 1967, and then a formal commissioning on March 4, 1967, and I served my 3 years as an officer in the Marine Corps. ¶

And when I resigned my commission, at the time I was a captain in I Corps.

Senator Nunn. You got out in 1970?

Mr. Harrington. Yes, sir, March 24, 1970.

Senator Nunn. And what were the dates you were in Vietnam?

Mr. Harrington. I was in Vietnam as a Marine infantry officer from December of 1967 until December of 1968.

Senator Nunn. From 1967 to 1968?

Mr. Harrington. Yes, sir — 1967 to December 1968 as a Marine Corps officer. I extended my 13 months’ tour of duty with the Marine Corps specifically on the basis of a very disillusioning experience as an infantry officer to go into the pacification program and to become involved in that in the hope of seeing a better situation. It is not perti- {p.100} nent to my testimony here, so I didn’t discuss it. But that situation didn’t turn out very well, unfortunately.

Senator Nunn. Did you hear Mr. Adams’ testimony this morning to the effect that the Phoenix program was meant to replace the bludgeon with a scalpel and that, instead of bombs I am quoting him:

Instead of bombs — which killed large numbers of civilians in addition to the occasional political operative of the Viet Cong — Phoenix’s main tools, theoretically, were good intelligence and good files. The object of the program was to find out who among the Vietnamese population were Viet Cong cadres, and to arrest or kill them. In theory, arrests were preferable to assassinations, because a prisoner could lead to further arrests * * *

Did you read that testimony?

Mr. Harrington. I heard the testimony, but I didn’t catch that.

Senator Nunn. In theory, arrests were preferable to assassinations because a prisoner could lead to further arrests.

Mr. Harrington. I will agree to it at that point. I think the theory was definitely the CIA theory for the development of the program. And in that connection I would just like to say parenthetically that at one point in the discussion this morning, I think between Senator Symington and Congressman Drinan, there was the inference made that the Phoenix program was a Vietnamese program, and that the Americans unfortunately inherited it. And I would like to just parenthetically question that by saying that Ambassador Colby himself under testimony agreed that the CIA was more than one-half responsible for the creation and development theory, et cetera, of the Phoenix program.

But in returning to your question, I would just like to say that with regard to replacing bombing with the Phoenix program, that that image of the scalpel instead of the bludgeon is correct. However, I do take exception to the statement that arrest was better than assassination, because the Phoenix program had three categories of neutralization — neutralization was a general term used to describe killing, rallying, and arrest. And so arrest was not used instead of assassination, arrests and assassinations were two of three vehicles used to neutralize so-called Vietcong suspects.

Senator Nunn. You are saying that was part of the overall Phoenix program in theory, assassination was part of it?

Mr. Harrington. Yes, sir. Ambassador Colby submitted testimony which shows figures for three categories: Vietcong killed, Vietcong captured, and Vietcong neutralized.

Senator Nunn. Some of those figures had to do with Army and military troop killing, didn’t they?

Mr. Harrington. Yes, sir. The largest figures would include those operations, although even in pinning it down as he did to only 10 percent covert operations, which was his operational definition, or understanding of what was going on, we are still talking minimally of 3,000 to 4,000 Vietnamese civilians.

Senator Nunn. What I am judging by is, your statement made it rather clear, I thought — I believe at page 4 at the bottom you said in the conversation I suppose you heard, at this point Colby interjected that killing was not the CORDS policy regardless of breakdown at the local level.

Mr. Harrington. Yes, sir. In a sense — in this sense only. As Mr. Adams explained much more clearly than I could, because his back- {p.101} ground is as an analyst for the CIA, the thrust of the program was to capture Vietcong infrastructure types in order to gain more intelligence on the Vietcong. However, as Mr. Adams has testified, and as Ambassador Colby himself has acknowledged, and as I have stated myself today, that did not work out. That just did not work out. Many, many Vietnamese civilians were killed during the alleged capturing event at a time when the targeting, as pointed out from Ambassador Colby’s testimony, was so weak that he could not in any way guarantee that those people were anything more than innocent Vietnamese civilians.


Senator Nunn. Are you implying that if there had been no Phoenix program there would have been no killing by the South Vietnamese? Are you implying that had there been no Phoenix program there would have been no rounding up of political prisoners?

Mr. Harrington. Well, certainly there would not have been U.S. support or involvement in that.

Senator Nunn. You are talking about our involvement?

Mr. Harrington. Absolutely. I am talking about Ambassador Colby today and not about the Vietnamese.

Senator Nunn. But the only testimony you can give us as far as Mr. Colby was concerned is that killing was not part of the policy?

Mr. Harrington. Yes, sir. And at the same time — which was significant in the sense that at this meeting he made a distinction between policy in Saigon and operations in the field. But even in his 1971 testimony he continues to make this at the stages when he was in fact being told that this was happening at the operations. And I think this is alarming, a program by his figures when over 20,000 Vietnamese civilians were killed during a year period when he wasn’t sure that they were at all involved in Vietcong operations.

Senator Nunn. You don’t know what actions he took with the South Vietnamese, nor do you know what actions he reported back to his superiors, nor do you know what the recommendations were on this subject, do you?

Mr. Harrington. No, sir. I am asking the Senators to make that clear on the public record prior to his confirmation by the Senate.

Senator Nunn. I think these questions ought to be asked.

I appreciate your appearance.

Senator Symington. Thank you, Mr. Harrington.

The next witness is Mr. Kenneth Osborn.

Mr. Osborn, will you raise your right hand.

Do you swear the testimony that you give this committee is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Mr. Osborn. I do.

Testimony of
Kenneth Barton Osborn,
Washington, D.C.

Senator Symington. Do you have a statement?

Mr. Osborn. Yes, sir. I submitted a statement to the committee earlier. I would like to read that.

Senator Symington. I would like you to read the statement that you submitted to the committee.

Mr. Osborn. Very well, sir.

My name is Kenneth Barton Osborn. I have lived in Washington, D.C. for the last 4 years. My present address is 1112 East Capitol {p.102} Street NE. ¶

I come before the committee today to describe my involvement and firsthand knowledge of the Phoenix program, and to present facts and documents which will show how that program has been one of continued illegal practices, including gross examples of torture and assassination, from 1968 to present.

Since December 1970, when I first spoke about the Phoenix program publicly, I have become increasingly concerned that the Congress and the public be made aware of our country’s sponsorship and encouragement of these practices in Southeast Asia. ¶

In August 1971, I testified before the House Subcommittee on Foreign Operations and Government Information concerning the atrocious treatment of South Vietnamese civilians which I had witnessed in 1968. ¶

This is a copy of my testimony along with the followup report of the committee. Both of these documents will be discussed in my testimony.

In the next few moments I would like to state to this committee the danger, both to U.S. prestige abroad and to the welfare of many potential victims of programs such as Phoenix, of allowing an individual with the record which Mr. William E. Colby has, to be trusted with the powerful position of Director of Central Intelligence.

Since I am more at ease talking from notes rather than from a prepared text, I would like to provide the members of the committee with an outline of the testimony I will now begin.

Senator Symington. I don’t quite understand that.

Mr. Osborn. I have made an outline there which I would like to use as an outline for what I would like to say.

Senator Symington. I would rather have you read what you have given us. ¶

That is the rule, and then you can supply anything additional for the record. ¶

It is getting late now, and we have been here all day. And, if necessary, we will ask you to come back.

Mr. Osborn. I understand. That is very kind.

I have here (1) Army Intelligence; I was in Army Intelligence from 1966 to 1969.

I was in Vietnam in the Occupational Specialty and Training of 97C40, Air Intelligence Specialists, which is an agent handler. I was trained at Fort Holabird for that job.

My assignment to the 525th Military Intelligence Group was from September 1967 to December 1968.

Senator Symington. Are you reading from your statement?

Mr. Osborn. Here is the outline, Senator.

Senator Symington. Will you read the outline that you have given us, please?

Mr. Osborn. No. 2, my assignment to Da Nang — if I am given a chance I would like to discuss my cover status, my agent handler job. ¶

The liaison I had with the units, and my contact with the Phoenix program, the collection of information, both combat and political, the dissemination of information, and describe how the overlap of civilian and military operations occurred so that Phoenix special intelligence collection requirements applied both to civilian and military operations, and the followup reports which I received back from the units of my information, which included followups to those reports of B-52 strikes, search and destroy missions and detainment of the Viet Cong suspects. ¶

I would like to describe the mentality of the operation while I was in Vietnam, the mind set of those operations and their approach {p.103} to the operations, and the resultant abuses. ¶

And in particular, I would like to describe interrogation methods I saw firsthand, including specific interrogation of South Vietnamese detainees and how they resulted in the murder of my interpreter in the spring of 1968 by an American captain out of racism.

And I say, I had recounted these incidents before the House subcommittee hearings in 1971. ¶

As a result the subcommittee, under the able chairmanship of Representative William Moorhead, directed the DOD to investigate the charges that I had made. ¶

Their report, submitted by Assistant Secretary of Defense Doolin to the staff of the committee 15 months later, was an obvious attempt to minimize the significance of the incidents and even went to some extent to reflect upon my credibility as a witness. ¶

If the office of Mr. Doolin is not interested in examining the policies and practices which led to widespread mistreatment of civilians under American advisorship, then I sincerely hope that this committee will look into the evidence presented today.

It is my contention that while Mr. Colby has consistently claimed that it was his desire to improve the Phoenix program and to discourage the use of torture and assassination, that, in fact, during his directorship of CORDS/Phoenix and since, that inhumane practices have not only continued but increased. ¶

In support of this statement, I would like to present two documents, the Newsweek article from July 23, 1973, issue, that is this week’s Newsweek, wherein is described the torture and detainment of civilian political offenders under the An Tri law; and more recently, a telegram which was issued on April 5, 1973, by one of the South Vietnamese directors of the Phoenix program stating that it would be accepted policy to broaden the spectrum of the Phoenix mistreatment of civilians, and that they no longer had to be called Communists, that they could be called simply disturbers of the peace, and they cover An Tri laws, the detainment of 2 years multiplied by any number of detainment years applied to them.

Mr. Colby no doubt maintains that this sort of torture and murder which I witnessed in Vietnam were before his time, and that he acted responsibly in dealing with such incidents, but that would be untrue. ¶

I call upon Mr. Colby to present evidence that the documents and facts which I have submitted today do not reflect seriously on his ability to apply human values to his duties as a representative of the American people and a public servant.

[The statement follows:]


My name is Kenneth Barton Osborn. I have lived in Washington, D.C. for the last four years. My present address is 1112 East Capitol St. NE. ¶

I come before the Committee to describe my involvement and first hand knowledge of the Phoenix Program, and to present facts and documents which will show how that program has been one of continued illegal practices, including gross examples of torture and assassination, from 1968 to the present.

Since December, 1970, when I first spoke about the Phoenix Program publicly, I have become increasingly concerned that the Congress and the public be made aware of our country’s sponsorship and encouragement of these practices in South East Asia. ¶

In August, 1971, I testified before the House Subcommittee on Foreign Operations and Government Information concerning the atrocious treatment of South Vietnamese civilians which I had witnessed in 1968. This is a copy of my testimony along with the follow-up report of the committee. Both of these documents will be discussed in my testimony.

In the next few moments I would like to state to this committee the danger, both to U.S. prestige abroad and to the welfare of many potential victims of {p.104} programs such as Phoenix, of allowing an individual with the record which Mr. William E. Colby has, to be trusted with the powerful position of Director of Central Intelligence.

Since I am more at ease talking from notes rather than from a prepared text, I would like to provide the members of the Committee with an outline of the testimony I will now begin.

I. Army Intelligence — 1966-1969:

a. Military Occupational Speciality and training.

b. Assignment to the 525th Military Intelligence Group.

II. Assignment to DaNang:

a. Cover.

b. Status.

c. Agent Handler job.

d. Liaison with units.

e. Contact with Phoenix.

III. Collection of Information:

a. Combat.

b. Political.

IV. Dissemination of information:

a. Overlap of military and civilian operations.

b. Follow-up reports (B-52 strikes, search and destroy missions and detainment.)

V. Mentality of operatives in Vietnam:

a. mind-set.

b. resulting abuses.

VI. Interrogation methods:

a. Three examples.

b. Interpreter.

I have recounted these incidents before the House subcommittee hearings in 1971. ¶

As a result the subcommittee, under the able chairmanship of Representative William Morehead, directed the DoD to investigate the charges that I had made. ¶

Their report, submitted by Assistant Secretary of Defense Doolin to the staff of the Committee 15 months later, was an obvious attempt to minimize the significance of the incidents and even went to some extent to reflect upon my credibility as a witness. ¶

If the office of Mr. Doolin is not interested in examining the policies and practices which lead to wide-spread mistreatment of civilians under American advisorship, then I sincerely hope that this Committee will look into the evidence presented today.

It is my contention that while Mr. Colby has consistently claimed that it was his “desire” to improve the Phoenix Program and to discourage the use of torture and assassination, that in fact during his directorship of CORDS/Phoenix and since, that inhumane practices have not only continued but increased. ¶

In support of this statement. I would like to present two documents:

  Newsweek article, July 23, 1973.


Mr. Colby no doubt maintains that this sort of torture and murder which I witnessed in Vietnam were before his time, and that he acted responsibly in dealing with such incidents, but that would be untrue. ¶

I call upon Mr. Colby to present evidence that the documents and facts which I have submitted today do not reflect seriously on his ability to apply human values to his duties as a representative of the American people and a public servant.

Committee for Action/Research on the Intelligence Community,

Washington, D.C., July 23, 1973.

Hon. Stuart Symington,
Acting Chairman,
Senate Armed Services Committee,
Washington, D.C.

Dear Sen. Symington:  As a follow through to the testimony I presented to the Committee on July 10, 1973, I wish to submit the attached Supplementary Statement for inclusion in the official record.

Senator Nunn has requested that I furnish the Committee with the name of the U.S. Army Captain that murdered my Vietnamese translator. I have always believed that doing so would only result in a scapegoating of the Captain, and {p.105} the total question of de-facto and written military policy would be completely ignored.

I have now decided that I will release the name of this man to the Committee with stipulation. If the Senate Armed Services Committee will guarantee that open and public hearings on the matter of U.S. war crimes and military policy, I will immediately release the name of the Captain. My decision is based on the fact that I still believe that anything less than a full and public hearing into these matters will only result in another cover-up of the truth by the military and their civilian allies.

Concerning the Senator’s personal interest in the appearance of President Dwight David Eisenhower’s name on a list of U.S. officials responsible for the Pacification effort, I would like to take this time to again point out that the list in question is one concerning the entire pacification effort, not only the Phoenix Program. As the Senator already knows, President Eisenhower did allow John Foster Dulles to send Edward Geary Landsdale to Vietnam as a pacification advisor during the Eisenhower years. The inclusion of President Eisenhower’s name was necessary to complete the historic overview that led to the Phoenix Program.

I stand ready to further the Committee’s investigation into the Phoenix Program and the nomination of Mr. William E. Colby, and request that this cover letter also be made part of the record.

Sincerely yours,

K. Barton Osborn.

Supplementary Statement of Mr. K. Barton Osborn

After my enlistment in the U.S. Army on October 10, 1966, and basic military training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, I was assigned to a classified military intelligence training program at Fort Holabird, Maryland. I was trained in the Military Occupation Specialty of 97C40, Intelligence Area Specialist. My training was designed to prepare me as an agent handler, and consisted of classes designed to teach recruitment and training of agents and the management of agent networks. Included in the training course was an off the record session concerning the termination of agents through various methods, including assassination.

After the completion of my training and a leave period prior to assignment. I reported to the First Battalion, 525th Military Intelligence Group, in Da Nang. South Vietnam, in September, 1967. I was given a civilian cover as a GS-7 (later promoted to GS-9) working in the refugee program. For the first six weeks I was in Da Nang, I worked on the problem of establishing my own network of agents.

When my agent network was established to the strength of 40 to 50 agents. I began to relay information they gathered on Viet Cong and North Vietnamese military activity. In addition to combat information. I received information of a political nature; information on the political activities of Vietnamese not overtly involved with military actions.

Through the reports sent to me describing the follow-through actions initiated as a result of my intelligence gathering, I was able to ascertain that the Phoenix Program was receiving and utilizing my information. Through my battalion and civilian contacts, I was able to identify the Phoenix Coordinator in Da Nang, and his location. I visited the Phoenix Coordinator, a U.S. Army major, and talked to him about the information that was laterally disseminated to him. He asked if I could gather more information, and told me that any information I gathered would be used in the context of the Phoenix Program. In return, I was guaranteed financial remuneration for my agents, the use of various “safe houses” for clandestine meetings, and access to Air America transportation. At no time did I make personal financial gains from this arrangement.

Thus, I became involved in the Phoenix Program. During the period that followed, until the time of my departure from Da Nang in December, 1968, I supplied information to the Da Nang Phoenix Coordinator on a regular basis.

The Phoenix Coordinator was not the only consumer of my intelligence reports. I continued to supply information to the First Marine Division, the 525th M.I. Group, as well as other military units. The prime difference between types of intelligence provided to military units and to the Phoenix Coordinator was that alt information going to Phoenix was of a political nature, while information going to military units was both combat and political intelligence concerning troop movements and anticipated activity by North Vietnamese and National Liberation Front Forces, and on the Viet Cong Infrastructure, respectively. {p.106}

From the follow-up reports that were routed to me, I was able to guage the response of Phoenix and military personnel to the information I had channeled them. The Phoenix Program, while under the sponsorship of the office of Civil Operations and Rural Development Support (CORDS), was a joint military-civilian venture, and my follow-through reports reflected the intertwining nature of this fact. Among the typical responses that resulted from the information I supplied. I noticed that military units were utilized to carry out operations as a result of Phoenix information. For example, a Provisional Reconnaissance Unit (PRU’s) may be dispatched to kidnap and detain for interrogation a suspected member of the VCI, or a B-52 raid may be called on a village in which suspected members of the VCI were reported to be meeting. As I was not a member of the Phoenix Coordinator’s staff, or in the G-2 office, I had no way of knowing how the decisions were made to carry out such activity, but the follow-up reports did reflect these types of actions.

Before talking of the interrogation techniques used by American personnel, I would like first to explain the mind-set of intelligence operatives in Vietnam. To begin with, the nature of training during the period I was in basic training and intelligence school was permeated with a deep-seated racism. While the reasons for this may have been many and varied, few Vietnam veterans can claim that they were not affected by the racism to which they were exposed. The process of making a yellow person a non-human or a sub-human made possible the types of activities I am about to describe. The “abuses” that Mr. Colby talks of when speaking of murder and torture are not, abuses as much as they are the logical extension and inexorable result of American policy, both written and de-facto. In the course of my work in Da Nang. I was invited to witness the interrogation of a man whom my agents had identified as being a member of the local farmers association, and reported to be a Viet Cong logistics officer. The interrogation was conducted in a U.S. Marine helicopter by a Marine officer and two enlisted men. The suspect and a second Vietnamese national (who had been previously interrogated and beaten) were loaded into the helicopter and flown approximately 20 miles from Da Nang into an isolated area. The second detainee, the person I had not reported, was asked several questions but did not answer. The process of interrogating this second detainee was a ploy, as he had already been interrogated and beaten so badly that he was unable to speak. After threatening to throw the second man out of the helicopter several times, the man was asked a question again; when he could not or would not answer the question, he was tossed out of the helicopter by the Marines.

The man whom I had reported did talk and answer all questions put to him, but, because he feared for his life, there was no way of guaranteeing the accuracy of the information. It is very logical that the man answered any question in such a manner as to satisfy the interrogator and save himself from being thrown from the helicopter by the Americans.

I took part in a second such interrogation about one month later, again with a second person thrown from a helicopter in order to intimidate a second person into talking.

One other occasion, I witnessed the protracted starvation of a Vietnamese woman suspect. She was kept in a cage in the First Marine Division Counterintelligence Team complex near Da Nang Airbase, without food or water. I passed her several times during the course of my trip to the team’s office, and when I noticed she was gone one day, I was informed that she had died of malnutrition. On another occasion, I was following through on a reported suspect that one of my agents had identified. The man was being interrogated at the Marine Counter-Intelligence complex, and I was invited to witness it. As I entered the hooch where the interrogation was taking place, the man was being taken out, dead. He died from a six inch dowel that pushed through his ear and into his brain. One last incident that I would like to recount to the Committee concerns the murder of my interpreter by a U.S. Army Captain. My interpeter {sic: interpreter} was of Chinese ancestry, born in Hue and educated in France. She was multi-lingual and operated as both an interpeter {sic: interpreter} and a courier for me.

On an afternoon in the Spring of 1968, I returned to my house and was inside when I heard a shot. I went outside and found that my interpreter had been shot through the neck, and witnessed a Military Intelligence Captain leaving the scene. After tending to the body, I located the Captain and asked him why he had shot her. The Captain’s initial response was that she was only a “slope” (a derogatory term for Asians) and that I should not be concerned about the incident. When I pressed the matter, the officer claimed that the woman knew too much about my operations and was a possible security risk. In fact, however, {p.107} this woman was central to the success of my intelligence gathering as I spoke little Vietnamese.

I hope that I have been able to show this Committee, through my testimony on July 20th and this supplementary statement, some of the realities of the Phoenix Program on the operational level. If I had to summarize my observations of the Phoenix Program, I believe that my training, operations in and knowledge of the Phoenix Program have shown me that:

1. The military was integrated into the Phoenix Program at both the operational and management levels.

2. That the training given to intelligence operatives is conducive to the types of activities conducted under Phoenix, as explained in this statement; both formal and informal training sessions teach “extra-legal” activities as being necessary to the successful completion of intelligence missions.

3. That while Ambassador William E. Colby was not in charge of CORDS while I worked in Phoenix, he was aware of the widespread use of assassination, kidnapping, and torture that he has termed “abuses.” Ambassador Colby was also aware of the casualness and ineffectiveness of these operations, and the inability of Phoenix to neutralize the VCI through the use of these tactics.

4. If Ambassador Colby is to claim that he attempted to alleviate the symptoms of abuse, he must produce supporting evidence beyond directives explaining official policy. The Vietnam War was a war that utilized the unwritten and de-facto policies with the same consistancy as official and written policy. Because de-facto policy was a fact of life at the operational level, Mr. Colby must show that he directed his energies and efforts towards eliminating the de-facto policies of Phoenix. Reports of war crimes committed by Phoenix operatives, with their follow-through reports, directives on the handling of war crimes incidents and complaints, and CIA documents showing the neutralization figures of Phoenix coupled with the analytical reports showing the effectiveness of Phoenix and the result of the neutralization efforts must be made public.


Kenneth Barton Osborn previously testified before a House Government Operations subcommittee (August 2 1971) and at the National Veterans Inquiry on U.S. War Crimes in Vietnam (December 1-3 1970).  CJHjr


Senator Symington. Thank you, Mr. Osborn. You have added considerably in your testimony to the statement that you gave us. And if you have anything additional that you would like to add, would you supply it for the record?

Mr. Osborn. That is very kind, Senator.

Senator Symington. That is the rule of the committee over the years.

I would like to get your position status in Vietnam clear. What was your rank in service when you first went there, and what was your rank when you left?

Mr. Osborn. I was an enlisted man in Army Intelligence. I arrived in Vietnam in September 1967, as a private, first class. Sometime during my tour I was promoted to corporal, and then to sergeant as E-4 and E-5.

During the entire time that I was in Vietnam I was under a cover name and cover documentation as a GS-7 and a GS-9, working in the classification program.

Senator Symington. Where— ¶

Were the atrocities that you alleged that you witnessed all committed by American military men?

Mr. Osborn. They were in fact.

Senator Symington. Where were they committed?

Mr. Osborn. In the DaNang area.

Senator Symington. In the DaNang area?

Mr. Osborn. Yes, sir.

Senator Symington. Do you know Mr. Colby?

Mr. Osborn. No, sir; I have never met him.

Senator Symington. Have you ever seen him?

Mr. Osborn. No; I have never seen him either.

Senator Symington. In what way do you believe Mr. Colby as a civilian head of CORDS program would have had the authority to give orders to the men involved in those alleged atrocities? {p.108}

Mr. Osborn. I believe it was Mr. Colby’s responsibility to see that the Phoenix-initiated operations, such as I have participated in and which resulted in mistreatment of South Vietnamese civilians, were much more responsibly controlled, and if Mr. Colby had been inclined to so control his operations, then what I saw and witnessed firsthand as a rule would not have happened.

Senator Symington. You mentioned your intelligence officer assigned you was shot and killed.

Mr. Osborn. No, I mentioned that an American captain in the streets of DaNang one afternoon murdered an interpreter of mine who was a South Vietnamese civilian.

Senator Symington. Now, we have asked about that in the Moorhead Committee, and the statement is:

An investigation revealed that personnel interviewed, to include Osborn’s team chiefs, stated Osborn did not have a female interpreter assigned to him at any time. Personnel files on Osborn’s unit reveal no employment record for any female interpreter of Chinese nationality or extraction. No evidence was obtained other than Osborn’s testimony to indicate than an interpreter, male or female, had been killed. Records of Vietnamese Police Agency at DaNang or Vientiane for the period in question did not disclose the death of any person in the area, and under the circumstances described by Osborn. In a sworn statement to CID on the first of December, 1971, Mr. Osborn refused to identify the alleged victim or alleged assistant.

Mr. Osborn. That is true.

Senator Symington ¶

In his statement, however, he testified that the person in charge of the ICF killed the interpreter, contrary to his previous testimony before the subcommittee.

Are any of the facts wrong in this statement?

Mr. Osborn. Yes, sir; in fact, I have just been handed an unclassified version of the secret document which was given to the House subcommittee, which is the result of investigative effort, which was previously classified a “Secret” and submitted by Mr. Doolin to that committee.

It contains considerably less evidence of the RIE’s, the result of investigative effort, than the original document did. In this entire document, for instance, you have read points 1 and 2 — let me read this, and I can tell you where it is inaccurate.

Yes, it says here: ¶

“Investigation revealed that personnel interviewed, to include Osborn’s team chiefs” — I had two during my tour in Vietnam — “stated Osborn did not have a female interpreter assigned to him at any time.”

I had two American team chiefs. ¶

They were in charge of several agent handlers in the area. ¶

The first of those two would have been fully knowledgeable of my employment of a Chinese Vietnamese national female interpreter in the spring of 1968. I had been given permission to hire her by my battalion people. And it was to expedite my operations, because I didn’t speak Vietnamese, and I was debriefing Vietnamese agents. In fact, that was the interpreter who was killed. ¶

I can understand that the Army would not want to respond to those charges. I can understand that they would come out with a report like this that is inaccurate. ¶

But I have taken an oath before this testimony, and I swear to you at this time that the Army is not accurate in their reporting of this investigation of this incident. ¶

They haven’t responded to the questions; they haven’t responded to the policies; they haven’t put their finger on any of the mentality {p.109} of the entire battalion that I was with; the encouragement that I had to run the operations that I had; and the specific mentality of the marines who created the brutality as a result of Phoenix information which I submitted to them.

Senator Symington. Now suppose you take this document, if you will, from the Department of Defense, and point out for the record where they are inaccurate in their comment. Will you do that?

Mr. Osborn. Shall I do that now?

Senator Symington. Not now, but take it and supply it to us for the record.

Mr. Osborn. Fine. I will take this document and submit it for the record.

Senator Symington. We have the document. We have given it to you.

Mr. Osborn. What are you asking me to do, Senator?

Senator Symington. To comment on its inaccuracy, or inaccuracies.

Mr. Osborn. I am sorry, I just did for a few minutes—

Senator Symington. You did on one item; I would like you to do it for all items for the record, and supply it in writing.

Mr. Osborn. I would be glad to. I will. When would you like that, as soon as possible?

Senator Symington. As soon as you can give it to us.

You left Vietnam in December 1968. And Mr. Colby became the head of CORDS in November 1968?

Mr. Osborn. Yes, sir.

Senator Symington. Is it your contention that all or any of the atrocities you describe occurred because of any specific action of Mr. Colby’s?

Mr. Osborn. It is my contention that they only happened as a result of the state of the Phoenix program before Mr. Colby took the directorship.

Senator Symington. Did you submit any official complaint about any of those atrocities while you were in Vietnam?

Mr. Osborn. No, sir. They seemed to me at the time to be standard operating procedure.

Senator Symington. Have you made a complaint since you left the service?

Mr. Osborn. Only in the form of my testimony, which has been minimally investigated by the Army.

Senator Symington. Your testimony before the House?

Mr. Osborn. Yes, sir.

Senator Symington. Did you ever give the Department of Defense or anyone with authority to conduct investigations in this matter the names of the individuals who had committed atrocities you said you witnessed?

Mr. Osborn. No, sir. I am convinced that if I did, they could scapegoat the individuals and avoid answering my questions, because of the policies which caused that death.

Senator Symington. Say that again.

Mr. Osborn. I am convinced that the military has taken the case you mentioned this morning through the special agent employed, and with Ambassador Colby’s avoidance of the question we are putting to him, that they would use the names of the individuals which I would submit to them who committed these crimes as a matter of policy, they {p.110} would scapegoat those individuals and not investigate the policies which caused the incidents. And we were most interested in getting the policies.

Senator Symington. Have you got the names of the people whom you say committed those atrocities?

Mr. Osborn. Yes, I have.

Senator Symington. Would you submit them to the committee?

Mr. Osborn. Would it reflect seriously upon my credibility if I did not?

Senator Symington. I am leaving that up to you, Mr. Osborn. You are here objecting to the appointment of another public servant. We are considering the confirmation for his position.

Mr. Osborn. I am reticent to do that, and I don’t want it to reflect upon the accuracy of the things I have said.

Senator Symington. It is very clear that regardless of whether Mr. Colby has or has not been a good public servant, you are attacking his reputation.

Mr. Osborn. Yes, sir.

Senator Symington. His intelligence, his actions, you are attacking him, period. Now, you base a lot of that attack on some people whom you say committed atrocities which he permitted.

Mr. Osborn. No, sir, that happened before he was there, as I tried to point out.

Senator Symington. But you brought it into the confirmation. I should think that you should furnish those names to the committee for the record. But I won’t press the point.

Senator Nunn.

Senator Nunn. I don’t have any questions.

I would just like to observe that it is almost impossible for anybody to complete an investigation, certainly this committee, if we don’t have the names. We have got to find out who made policy and who carried it out and trace it back to the command. That is the only way I know that you can do it. So I will certainly say that the lack of names would virtually preclude any kind of making full investigations.

But certainly as far as overall credibility before this committee, I don’t think that is the issue. I think the issue is whether or not any investigation can meaningfully take place.

Mr. Osborn. I am convinced that less of an investigation, Senator Nunn, could take place if I submitted those names, because the Department of Defense so far has been oriented only toward the individual and not the policy. ¶

We are talking about policies which extend from my time of observing those atrocities through to the present. ¶

I have documents which I would like further to submit to the committee which point out the existence of those policies being carried under not only the program Phoenix under CORDS, under Mr. Colby’s direction, but which continue today in the program F-6, and will probably continue under the special assistant to the Ambassador for field operations under General Jackson, under the four councils general in the fall—

Senator Symington. What are you talking about now? You have lost me.

Mr. Osborn. I thought you were following what I was saying.

Senator Nunn. I was. {p.111}


Mr. Osborn. I am trying to point out that in the time of my observation of those things, which I first observed in 1968, to the present, the policies regarding obtaining interrogation and assassination and murder of those people who are perhaps innocent Vietnamese civilians has extended from 1968 to 1973, the policies of mistreatment, the follow-through of the mentality of the program have not appreciably changed.

Senator Nunn. That is still taking place, and you say it is going to continue to take place?

Mr. Osborn. I feel, from this directive from the South Vietnamese Government, that the thing ought to be broadened, that is ought not only to apply to Yankee law — the detainment law, the open-ended law that says you can arrest anybody in classes A, B, and C, of guilt by association, and so forth, which includes the members of the family of President Thieu, anyone at all can be detained and held for 2 years plus 2 years. That applies to anybody at all, men, women, and children of any age or category.

Senator Nunn. You are saying that still exists in South Vietnam?

Mr. Osborn. And I am saying that it will continue to exist until we get two policies, and the specific decrease, and the American policy which continues under not just the Phoenix program, but an undating of that program, and Phoenix has dropped its—

Senator Nunn. You are not saying that we are still involved in that right now, are you?

Mr. Osborn. Yes, sir. I have tried to say that during my testimony.

I have tried to show you—

Senator Nunn. You are saying that is still a policy of the United States, and we still have a Phoenix program going on that is directed by us?

Mr. Osborn. It has become the F-6 program, it no longer is required by CORDS, that has been disbanded. And I have a document here which traces the history of the Phung-Hoang and Phoenix program that goes from late 19th century all the way through the fall of 1973. It has charts and graphs—

Senator Symington. You say the late 19th century?

Mr. Osborn. Yes, sir. It traces how the French did this thing, it traces how the Japanese did it, and how the Americans did it.

Senator Nunn. You are not saying that that had anything to do with Colby’s involvement?

Mr. Osborn. I am saying that he did not do what he said he would. He had sworn under oath that he worked hard to improve that kind of thing, that he would like to see it improve, that he would make efforts to improve it. ¶

He did no such thing.

I submit that the burden of proof is on him to show one way in which he really tried to curb this treatment of South Vietnamese civilians.

Senator Nunn. You do not think that we now have charge of the South Vietnamese program, or the South Vietnamese Government?

Mr. Osborn. I would like to submit that program, F-6, under the Special Assistant to the Ambassador for Field Operations headed by Mr. Jake Jacobson out of the Saigon Embassy and in four Councils General in Hue, DaNang, Bienhoa, and Kontoum will continue the same policies which we have discussed here and which were blatant in 1969 at the top of the war. {p.112}

Senator Nunn. What are you saying we should do about it right now in the United States?

Mr. Osborn. I think we ought to call Mr. Colby in and ask him what he did during the time he was in charge of the thing to change that situation. And we ought to bring before the committee the people who can submit documentation and prove that these things don’t exist.

Senator Nunn. Do you think we ought to break relations with Saigon until they change?

Mr. Osborn. I am not recommending any such thing.

Senator Nunn. I am saying we are not in this role there.

Mr. Osborn. Don’t we have an Embassy there?

Senator Nunn. We have in Russia and China too, but we don’t control their policy.

Mr. Osborn. No. But I am saying that our advice and sponsorship is beyond the F-6 program which has the same—

Senator Nunn. You are saying that we are still involved in that F-6 program, which was the Phoenix program?

Mr. Osborn. Very definitely, and which has the same policy.

Senator Nunn. You are not contending that we had anything to do with the French policy in the 19th century?

Mr. Osborn. I am not making any such contention. I am saying that since 1968 things have not improved, they have gone downhill. And the treatment of South Vietnamese civilians has gone downhill.

Senator Nunn. So the gist of your testimony is that the atrocities that you saw were not committed while Mr. Colby was there, and they were not directly his policies, but you are saying that based on information that you surmise, that his tenure in office there did not change that, and is continuing today, is that correct; is that a fair summary?

Mr. Osborn. That is correct, sir.

Senator Nunn. What is your present occupation?

Mr. Osborn. I am a member of the Committee for Action and Research on the Intelligence Community, which does exactly that.

Senator Nunn. The Committee for Action and Research—

Mr. Osborn [continuing]. On the Intelligence Community.

Senator Nunn. Where is the home base of that?

Mr. Osborn. Washington, D.C., sir.

Senator Nunn. And is it, an official corporation, nonprofit corporation?

Mr. Osborn. We have applied for corporate status, yes, sir, and we will be incorporated.

Senator Nunn. How many people involved?

Mr. Osborn. There are only three of us, exintelligence people who are concerned about Phoenix and other programs.

Senator Nunn. When did you start this organization?

Mr. Osborn. In February, 1973.

Senator Nunn. So you just started?

Mr. Osborn. We have not gotten off the ground.

Senator Nunn. And what is your goal and objective?

Mr. Osborn. Our goals and objectives include the investigation and research into intelligence agencies which are overstepping their bounds by Government authority carrying out such blatant programs and Phoenix.

Senator Symington. Thank you very much, Mr. Osborn. {p.113}

If you have any further comments or statements you would like to make, we would be glad to have them for the record.

Senator Nunn. Do you want to submit that document there for the record?

Mr. Osborn. Yes, sir.

Senator Nunn. What is that document?

Mr. Osborn. This is the bulletin of the Committee for Action and Research on the Intelligence Community, May 1973. It is entitled “Counterspy.”

Senator Nunn. Do you mind telling me what that is on the front?

Mr. Osborn. If you will open the document up to its centerfold you will see a wanted book which was issued on individuals, South Vietnamese civilian individuals, a wanted poster saying that these people were wanted by the South Vietnamese Government, and should be detained for political questioning.

The figure on the front, you will notice, a blown-up figure of the Phoenix on the top of the wanted poster. It is Phung-Hoang, which is the title under that, which means the same as Phoenix.

Senator Nunn. When did you get out of the service? You were in the Army, I believe?

Mr. Osborn. Yes, sir, Army Intelligence.

I got off of active duty in October 1969, and was honorably discharged in October 1972.

Senator Nunn. And what has been your occupation since then?

Mr. Osborn. I have been in graduate school at American University. I have worked with the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and several other organizations, the Citizens Committee of Inquiry into U.S. War Crimes in Southeast Asia. This documents the work of the committee today.

Senator Nunn. What is your source of living? Do you have an independent source of income?

Mr. Osborn. Yes, sir. The committee does not provide an income. I work at a restaurant here in Washington, D.C.

Senator Nunn. What is the name of that restaurant?

Mr. Osborn. Bixby’s Warehouse.

I do that in order to provide a living, because when we are dealing with this kind of thing we don’t find any sponsorship for research.

Senator Nunn. You don’t have a salary in this particular organization?

Mr. Osborn. No, sir. When we are properly financed we will be salaried.

Senator Nunn. Thank you.

Senator Symington. You have here a list, I just noticed, a partial list of those responsible for Pacification Phoenix.

Mr. Osborn. Yes, sir.

Senator Symington. I notice that among those you have Ambassador Graham Martin.

Mr. Osborn. Yes, sir.

Senator Symington. How is he responsible? He has just gotten himself in there.

Mr. Osborn. Yes, sir; today he took over as Ambassador to South Vietnam, I believe, to replace Ambassador Bunker.

Senator Symington. Then how can he be responsible for it if he has just taken over? {p.114}

Mr. Osborn. I feel that anyone who is the Ambassador of South Vietnam should be totally knowledgeable that the Phoenix program contains the things that I say and the other witnesses who have come before the committee say.

Senator Symington. He can be knowledgeable, but how can he be responsible, because I visited him last year in Italy, and he was our Ambassador in Italy, and I think last week he became our Ambassador in Saigon. How can he be responsible for the Phoenix program?

Mr. Osborn. We say here, “Partial list of those responsible for Pacification Phoenix F-6.”

We feel that this list of names are people who should be asked about these programs, who have had complicity in the programs—

Senator Symington. You say it is a list that should be asked about — I notice you have Dwight David Eisenhower and John Fitzgerald Kennedy. President Eisenhower happened, to my certain knowledge to have resisted efforts made by various people, including some in high office today, to go into the situation at the time of the Dien Bien Phu. And he had no position whatever in Vietnam at that time from any military standpoint. How can he be responsible for the Phoenix program?

Mr. Osborn. Senator, we are pointing out the fact that this is a broad sweeping accusation. This list includes four Presidents under whom Phoenix and Phung-Hoang have been operating in South Vietnam.

Senator Symington. Are you saying that the Phoenix operation of the U.S. participation was under the administration of President Eisenhower?

Mr. Osborn. Yes, sir; I am saying that it was certainly — the Phung-Hoang program existed as early as the late 1950’s.

Senator Symington. With U.S. participation?

Mr. Osborn. And sponsorship.

Senator Symington. Mr. Osborn, you are under oath, you know that?

Mr. Osborn. I realize that, sir.

Senator Symington. Let me repeat the question.

Are you saying that the Phoenix program was participated in by the United States in the years that President Eisenhower was President?

Mr. Osborn. The Phoenix per se, the official starting date of Phoenix was August 1, 1968. So that would be well after that. No, sir; I am not saying that.

Senator Symington. That would be after the death of President Eisenhower.

Mr. Osborn. Yes, sir. What I am saying is that these four Presidents were present while we had pacification and American advisorship and political repression as part of our advisorship to the South Vietnamese Government.

Senator Symington. I want you to file for the record to justify this charge against President Eisenhower any participation that he had, because I was in this operation in 1954, and tremendous effort was made to get the United States to participate in it prior to the fall of Dien Bien Phu, which was to the best of my recollection the spring of 1954. And President Eisenhower followed the advice of General Ridgeway, against the advice of other people, and refused to intervene in this situation. And therefore I am surprised to see him listed as one who {p.115} was partially responsible for this Pacification Phoenix program which you are critical of and which you bring up with respect to the nomination of Mr. Colby to this position.

Mr. Osborn. Yes, sir. I have no reason to cast aspersions on President Eisenhower, sir. I feel, though, that since our advisorship has been strong in Vietnam, we have encouraged the South Vietnamese and ourselves to participate in atrocity programs which have brought the demise of at least several thousand Vietnamese civilians who by Mr. Colby’s admission may well be totally innocent people.

Senator Symington. Senator Nunn, any questions?

Senator Nunn. Just one other question.

On page 25 you say that the British are getting back into the program now under F-6.

Mr. Osborn. No, sir, it says here — you mean in the lower right hand corner?

Senator Nunn. In the lower right hand corner you say “British Adviser return to Saigon. CARIC has recently learned”—

Mr. Osborn. Yes, sir.

Senator Nunn [reading]:

CARIC has recently learned that Sir Robert G. K. Thompson, who served as an adviser to early pacification techniques and programs, dating back to the 1950’s, has recently returned to Saigon to assist the GVN during the coming era of the “F-6” program.

So you are saying he, Colby, and President Eisenhower and President Kennedy, all of them?

Mr. Osborn. Sir Robert G. K. Thompson has returned recently to Saigon as adviser now to our mission there. He is a British citizen. He is in the employ of the United States. And he has always been connected with the Phoenix program such as several of the advisers whom we list on the partial list.

Senator Nunn. He is not related to the British Government in any way, then?

Mr. Osborn. Not that I know of, sir. I think he is still in the American employ.

If I could, going back to that list which Senator Symington brought up, at the top of that list we start with advisers and designers of the program, we go through the ambassadors during the time mat we know the program existed, we go on to COMUS MACV commanders, the CIA station chiefs and the Chiefs of Saigon, and the Presidents during that time.

Sir, I didn’t mean to imply that I didn’t have a great respect for Dwight David Eisenhower, I didn’t mean to cast any aspersions on him. I mean to say that during the American sponsorship and the advisership in Vietnam these atrocities have been going on and have not been improved on, and that Mr. Colby needs to explain the fact that he swore he would improve on them, and he has not improved on them.

Senator Symington. Let me say for your information, Mr. Osborn, that I once believed in this war, and many years ago, long before this administration, I turned against it. And the record will so show. But at no time have I ever had anything but respect for President Eisenhower, because he consistently refused to become involved in it. And that is true even though the French told him that they would lose this country unless he did become involved. And that is the reason I chose {p.116} to make that one observation that I read in this pamphlet which I have just seen.

Thank you for your testimony.

If there is anything further you would like to tell us, we would be very glad to have you supply it for the record.

Mr. Osborn. Thank you.

[Subsequently to the hearing the following statement was submitted by Mr. Colby.]


July 10, 1973.

Statement by
William E. Colby

I have been informed that there have been two communications to the Committee from citizens questioning my qualifications for this job.

The first is by Mr. Paul Sakwa, who cites a series of various documents that he says he was associated with while he was in the CIA. I have had a search made for these documents, and frankly I have not been able to find them all. I think, however, I can answer Mr. Sakwa’s assertions that I am an uncontrollable agent, that I slanted intelligence, submitted misinformation and permitted U.S. funds to be used in rigging the 1961 election in Saigon while I was Saigon Chief of Station.

While I was in Saigon as Chief of Station, I was quite meticulous in forwarding intelligence which called the shots against the government of Vietnam as well as those which indicated that it was doing a good job.

A number of the references provided by Mr. Sakwa are individual reports reporting various malfeasances, trickery in elections, and so forth, which were forwarded under my personal authority. At the same time I had a positive feeling toward the government of South Vietnam under President Diem, and I really do consider the overthrow of President Diem one of the real disasters that occurred in our history out there.

Mr. Sakwa had the feeling that if we had promoted democratic systems things would have been better. ¶

I had a slightly different feeling that the Diem government was about as good a government as you were going to get in Southeast Asia and that the real problem was the Communist effort against it. ¶

This was an honest difference of opinion. ¶

I give Mr. Sakwa full credit for the sincerity of his views. ¶

I ask the same for my own. ¶

I did not conceal any information at any time in what was forwarded to Washington. Although I submitted my own views, I will take full responsibility for them. I propose to continue to make a choice between the various possible interpretations and to take responsibility for assuming a position that one situation is more likely than another. I think that is what I am required to do as an intelligence officer.

The second communication which the Committee forwarded to me is a letter from a Committee for Action Research on the Intelligence Community which asks for a chance to present certain considerations against me, largely dealing with the Phoenix program in South Vietnam. They cite two possible witnesses, a Mr. K. Bart Osborn and Mr. David Harrington.

I testified before the House Committee on Government Operations in July 1971 on the Phoenix program and my testimony was followed by Mr. Osborn and Mr. Harrington. ¶

The Committee’s conclusions after hearing all of the testimony were included in their report. Concern about the Phoenix program was expressed in the report and it was recommended that the Secretary of Defense fully investigate allegations of crimes committed by U.S. military personnel in South Vietnam against civilians suspected of Viet Cong activities. ¶

U.S. Assistance Programs in Vietnam (U.S. Congress 92-2, House Report No. 92-1610, House Committee on Government Operations, October 17 1972, 5+107 pages) {SuDoc: [Y 1.1/8:]92-2:H.RP.1610, Serial Set: 12976-6, CIS: 72 H403-19, OCLC: 540690, LCCN: 72603272 pf, WorldCat} {Full text: pages 1-46 2.4mb.pdf, pages 47-97 2.8mb.pdf, pages 99-107 501kb.pdf, omitting page 98 and repeating page 107, instead, at the start}CJHjr

The detailed allegations by Mr. K. Barton Osborn, a subcommittee witness who had served in military intelligence and CIA activities in Vietnam are contained in the hearing record.

The Defense Department investigated those allegations and submitted in a letter to Chairman Moorhead on 2 November 1972 a brief memorandum entitled “U.S. Assistance Programs in Vietnam.” The memorandum states in part:

“With respect to the recommendation on page 59 of the Committee report, the Department of Defense completed an extensive and impartial investigation on March 14, 1972, into the allegations made by Mr. Osborn during the hearing held August 2, 1971 by the Foreign Operations and Government Information Subcommittee.

“This investigation, which failed to uncover evidence to support Mr. Osborn’s allegations, revealed numerous disparities between statements he made while testifying before the Committee and the factual evidence produced in the course of the investigation. {p.117}

“It should be made a matter of record that on two occasions during investigative interviews Mr. Osborn refused to identify specific persons, facts or offer precise information involving the alleged incidents which would assist investigative efforts. This reluctance to give specific information was also evident during the hearings of August 2, 1971. Since an investigation has already been conducted and in view of the unsupported and imprecise allegations made by Mr. Osborn, many of which are inaccurate, nor can be proved or disproved, it is the opinion of the Department of Defense that no useful purpose would be served by further inquiry into this matter.”

I might add one additional comment which I think brings Mr. Osborn’s allegations into better focus. ¶

The Phoenix program was essentially instituted during the summer of 1968 and began to work during the fall and on into the succeeding years. Mr. Osborn was a military intelligence officer. He was not assigned to the Phoenix program as a Phoenix adviser. He alleges that he had certain connections. It is a little hard to determine what these are. ¶

But Mr. Osborn served in Vietnam from September 1967, to December 1968. In other words, his service essentially was before the Phoenix program really got rolling in any degree.

As I testified in the Committee’s open hearing, the Phoenix program was an effort to bring some order into the fight on the Government’s side between the Communist apparatus and the government of South Vietnam.

I think that various of the things that Mr. Osborn alleges might have happened. I have no judgment on that, but we did issue instructions, as I indicated in my testimony, that the Phoenix program was not to be a program of assassination and we issued instructions and directives out of the MACV headquarters, which I drafted, that not only were Americans not to participate in any such activities but they were to make their objections known at that time and they were to report the fact that they took place. ¶

I did receive some reports of this nature during the Phoenix program and took them up with the government of South Vietnam whom I found to be receptive to the problem. ¶

I frankly think that Mr. Osborn’s allegations are not well founded.

With respect to Mr. Harrington, he alleges that he was in a briefing with me in the spring of 1969 and says that his account of that meeting is in conflict with my allegation that the Phoenix program was not a systematic program of assassination. ¶

I don’t recall any such briefing. I received many briefings and he may well have been in a briefing with me.

I believe that I conducted the Phoenix program throughout with a rejection of the idea it be a program of assassination. ¶

I knew there were people killed, there is no question about it, and I have testified publicly that most of these were killed in a perfectly natural combat situation in a war, that there were some abuses that did take place, but I certainly reject the idea that it was a systematic program of assassination.


[Whereupon, 4:25 p.m., the committee adjourned, subject to the call of the chair.]

{Page 118 is blank} {p.119}



Source: The printed hearings (cited below).

By CJHjr: Photocopied at 141%, scanned, converted to text (OCR: FineReader 6.0), formatted (xhtml/css), links, text {in braces}, text beside a green bar |, text in yellow boxes bold-face, bold-italics, highlighting, added paragraphing (for ease of reading) marked with this trailing paragraph symbol: ¶ .

This document (the third Phoenix hearings): July 20 1973 p.m. hearing, pages 71-118, U.S. Congress, Senate Hearings, Nomination of William E. Colby to be Director of Central Intelligence (U.S. Congress 93-1, Senate Armed Services Committee, Hearings, July 2, 20 {a.m., p.m.}, 25, 1973, 3+186 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.AR 5/3:C 67/3, CIS: 73 S201-27, OCLC: 800312, LCCN: 73603022 pf, DL, WorldCat}. Witnesses: William E. Colby, Robert F. Drinan, Samuel A. Adams, Paul Sakwa, David S. Harrington, Kenneth B. Osborn.

See also:

The first Phoenix hearings: Vietnam: Policy and Prospects, 1970 {58.4mb.pdf, source}, “Hearings on Civil Operations and Rural Development Support Program” (U.S. Congress 91-2, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Hearings, February 17, 18, 19, 20, and March 3, 4, 17, 19, 1970, and Appendix, 7+750 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.F 76/2:V 67/17, CIS: 71 S381-2, OCLC: 119418, LCCN: 76610214 pf, DL, WorldCat}.

The second Phoenix hearings: U.S. Congress, House Hearings: U.S. Congress, House Hearings, U.S. Assistance Programs in Vietnam (U.S. Congress 92-1, House Committee on Government Operations, Subcommittee on Foreign Operations and Government Information, Hearings, July 15 {a.m., p.m.}, 16, 19, 21, and August 2 1971, 4+362 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.G 74/7:V 67/4, CIS: 72 H401-3, OCLC: 235387, LCCN: 71616178 pf, DL, WorldCat}. Ensuing report: U.S. Assistance Programs in Vietnam (U.S. Congress 92-2, House Report No. 92-1610, House Committee on Government Operations, October 17 1972, 5+107 pages) {SuDoc: [Y 1.1/8:]92-2:H.RP.1610, Serial Set: 12976-6, CIS: 72 H403-19, OCLC: 540690, LCCN: 72603272 pf, WorldCat} {Full text: pages 1-46 2.4mb.pdf, pages 47-97 2.8mb.pdf, pages 99-107 501kb.pdf, omitting page 98 and repeating page 107, instead, at the start}.

Vietnam Policy Proposals: Hearings on nine proposed items of legislation to end the U.S. war in Vietnam (U.S. Congress 91-2, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Hearings, February 3, 4, 5, and March 16, 1970, 5+405 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.F 76/2:V 67/16, CIS: 70 S381-7, OCLC: 78825, LCCN: 74606991 pf, DL, WorldCat}.

National Veterans Inquiry on U.S. War Crimes in Vietnam (Citizens’ Commission of Inquiry on U.S. War Crimes, Washington D.C., December 1-3 1970), transcript, 117 Congressional Record 4238-4271 (U.S. Congress 92-1, March 1 1971, Permanent Edition (red bound)) {SuDoc: X.92/1:117/PT.4, ISSN: 0883-1947, OCLC: 05058415, LCCN: 12036438 pf, GPOCat, LL: paper, microfiche, DL, WorldCat}. Witnesses: Robert Bowie Johnson Jr., Mike McCusker, Daniel K. Amigone, Greg Motoka, Kenneth Barton Osborn, Norman Kiger, Gail Graham, Steve Noetzel, Edward Murphy, Daniel Alfiero, Louis Paul Font, Robert Master, Peter Norman Martinsen, T. Griffiths Ellison, Ed Melton, Chuck Hamilton, Lee Meyrowitz, Gordon S. Livingston, Greg Turgeon, Richard Altenberger, Bob Connelly, Robert Lifton, Chaim Shatan, Donald Engel, Gary Thamer, Steven Hassett, Kenneth Campbell, Sam Rankin, Phillip Wingenbach, Tod Ensign, Larry Rottmann, Robert Osman.

Winter Soldier Investigation (Vietnam Veterans Against the War Inc., Detroit Michigan, January 31, February 1-2, 1971), transcript, 117 Congressional Record 9947-10055 (U.S. Congress 92-1, April 6 1971, Permanent Edition (red bound)) {SuDoc: X.92/1:117/PT.8, ISSN: 0883-1947, OCLC: 05058415, LCCN: 12036438 pf, GPOCat, LL: paper, microfiche, DL, WorldCat}; 117 Congressional Record E 2825-2936 (U.S. Congress 92-1, April 6-? 1971, Daily Edition (green bound)) {SuDoc: X/A.92/1:117/???-???, ISSN: 0363-7239, LCCN: 80646573 pf, OCLC: 02437919, GPOCat, LL: paper, microfiche, DL, WorldCat}.

American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia, 1971 (U.S. Congress 92-1, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on National Security Policy and Scientific Developments, Hearings, March 23, 24, 25, 30, 31, April 1, 6, 20 {vvaw}, 1971, 9+583 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.F 76/1:P 93/4/971/PT.1, CIS: 71 H381-9, OCLC: 15634210, LCCN: 77612471 pf, WorldCat}, witness: Larry Rottmann (Vietnam Veterans Against the War), April 20 1971, pages 406-423.


Legislative Proposals Relating to the War in Southeast Asia {44.14mb.pdf, source} “Hearings before the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, Ninety-Second Congress, First Session, on S. 376, S. 974, S.J. Res. 82, S.J. Res. 89, S. Con. Res. 17, S. Res. 62, and S. Res. 66” (U.S. Congress 92-1, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Hearings, April 20-May 27 1971: “April 20, 21 and 22, 28, May 3, 11, 12, 13, 25, 26 and 27, 1971,” 7+726+12 pages) {SuDoc: Y 4.F 76/2:AS 4/13, CIS: 71 S381-18, OCLC: 198272, LCCN: 79614140 pf, DL, WorldCat}, witness: John Kerry (VVAW: Vietnam Veterans Against the War), Thursday April 22 1971, 11:05am-1:00pm, pages 179-210 {3.1mb.pdf}.

House Ad Hoc Hearing for Vietnam Veterans Against the War (U.S. Congressmen Jonathon Bingham and Paul Findley, presiding, Friday, April 23 1971, Venue: U.S. Congress, House of Representatives), transcript, 117 Congressional Record 13104-13118 (U.S. Congress 92-1, May 3 1971, Permanent Edition (red bound)) {SuDoc: X.92/1:117/PT.10, ISSN: 0883-1947, OCLC: 05058415, LCCN: 12036438 pf, GPOCat, LL: paper, microfiche, DL, WorldCat}. Witnesses: Larry Rottmann, Forest Lindley, Les Johnson, Arthur Egendorf, Kip A. Kypriandes, Phillip Lowley, Vinny Giardina, Michael Paul McCusker, William W. Lemmer, Alex Prim, Robert McLaughlin, Jack Smith, David B. Maize.

Senate Ad Hoc Hearing for Vietnam Veterans Against the War (U.S. Senator George McGovern, presiding, Friday, April 23 1971, Venue: U.S. Congress, Senate, Room G-103 New Senate Office Building), transcript, 117 Congressional Record 15392-15405 (U.S. Congress 92-1, May 17 1971, Permanent Edition (red bound)) {SuDoc: X.92/1:117/PT.12, ISSN: 0883-1947, OCLC: 05058415, LCCN: 12036438 pf, GPOCat, LL: paper, microfiche, DL, WorldCat}. Witnesses: Scott Camil, Vinny Giardina, Melville L. Stephens, Basil Paquet, Joe Nielsen, Dale Granata, Everett Carson, Forrest Lindley Jr., Samuel Miller, David A. Lamenzo, Jon Bjornson, Ken Provan.

Ad Hoc Hearings on Command Responsibility for War Atrocities in Vietnam {copy} (U.S. Congressman Ron Dellums, presiding, April 26, 27, 28, 29, 1971, 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., Venue: U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Caucus Room, Cannon House Office Building), transcript, The Dellums Committee Hearings on War Crimes in Vietnam: An Inquiry into Command Responsibility in Southeast Asia (New York, Vintage Books, 1972, 13+355 pages) {LCCN: 79039897 pf, ISBN: 0394717678, WorldCat}. Witnesses: Five West Point graduates (Fred Laughlin, Gordon Livingston {Iraq, copy}, Robert B. Johnson, Greg Hayward, Ron Bartek, Michael O'Mera), five former military intelligence special agents and PoW interrogators {omitted from the linked source}, ten former Americal Division members (Gary Battles, Charles David Locke, Terry Mullen, Steve Padoris, Daniel S. Notley, John Beitzel, Guadalupe G. Villarreal, Daniel Barnes, Thomas Cole, William Toffling), overview of air war, pacification, and forced urbanization (John Sack, Kenneth Campbell, Randy Floyd, Elliot L Meyrowitz).

Bertrand Russell Tribunal, “International War Crimes Tribunal” (Stockholm Sweden, May 2-10 1967; Roskilde Denmark, November 20 – December 1 1967).

Tiger Force: “Buried Secrets, Brutal Truths: Tiger Force, an elite fighting unit in Vietnam, left a trail of atrocities in that country that have been concealed from the public for three decades.” (The Blade, Toledo Ohio, October 22 2003, February 15, March 28, April 6, May 2, May 12 2004).

This document is not copyrighted and may be freely copied.


Charles Judson Harwood Jr.

Posted August 25 2004. Updated May 17 2009.


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