Gulf of Tonkin- never happened?



Or so says a kinda short story in a back page of my local paper. But I assume it was an associated press article, so its elsewhere...
Anyway, it said, recent Eisenhower (or whoever) tapes make it unclear if the actual Gulf of Tonkin incident (which led to US ramping up the Vietnam war) never happened. Well, the beginning of the article kinda said "it didn't happen" but the rest of the article made it out to be more ambiguous.
Now, I've seen NO mention of this anywhere else... I searched Altavista a little, but I'm kinda lazy and didn't find anything.
I also searched, no mention.

Anyone know about this? Old news? Covered up news? Over-hyped stupid little article?


The Gulf of Tolkin sort of happened, but it was staged through a combination of CIA/NSA deception and provocation of the North Vietnamese Navy.
The real smoking gun is the fact that LBJ signed the Gulf of Tolkin Decleration, several days before the incident took place.
A good overview of the deception, can be found in James Bamford's excellent
'Body of Secrets' - a history of the NSA


Ephemeral Spectre
Aug 2, 2002
The Gulf of Tolkin sort of happened, but it was staged through a combination of CIA/NSA deception and provocation of the North Vietnamese Navy.

yep. The salient point being that US Navy crossed into NV territorial waters to comit an unprovoked act of warfare. Terrorism some might say.

but then some might say Kissinger is a terrorist who outshines some of the current bogeymen being used as pawns in US ham-fisted foriegn policy and extended cultural / economic imperialism.

not me though. I love Macdonalds and Disney. The CIA is our only bulwark against Satan and hedgecutters. I wish George Dubyall was my Dad


Justified & Ancient
May 23, 2003
Article Raises Questions About Vietnam War

Article Raises Questions About Vietnam War


Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - The National Security Agency has been blocking the release of an article by one of its historians that says intelligence officers falsified documents about a disputed attack that was used to escalate the Vietnam War, according to a researcher who has requested the article.

Matthew Aid, who asked for the article under the Freedom of Information Act last year, said it appears that officers at the NSA made honest mistakes in translating interceptions involving the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident. That was a reported North Vietnamese attack on American destroyers that helped lead to President Johnson's escalation of U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

Rather than correct the mistakes, the 2001 article in the NSA's classified Cryptologic Quarterly says, midlevel officials decided to falsify documents to cover up the errors, according to Aid, who is working on a history of the agency and has talked to a number of current and former government officials about this chapter of American history.

Aid draws comparisons to more recent intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction that overstated the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's arsenal. ''The question becomes, why not release this?'' Aid said of the article. ''We have some documents that, from my perspective, I think would be very instructive to the public and the intelligence community ... on a mistake made 41 years ago that was just as bad as the WMD debacle.''

The NSA is the largest spy agency in government, responsible for much of the United States' codebreaking and eavesdropping work. In spy lingo, the agency collects and analyzes ''signals intelligence'' - or ''SIGINT.'' The article, written by NSA Historian Robert Hanyok, and the controversy over its release were first reported in The New York Times on Monday.

In a written statement, NSA spokesman Don Weber said the agency had delayed releasing the article ''in an effort to be consistent with our preferred practice of providing the public a more contextual perspective.'' He said the agency plans to release the article and related materials next month. ''Instead of simply releasing the author's historical account, the agency worked to declassify the associated signals intelligence ... and other classified documents used to draw his conclusions,'' Weber said.

Aid has been told that Hanyok's article analyzes problems found in interceptions about the events. He said the nature and extent of the mistakes remain unclear, and some senior officials at NSA who were not involved with the errors have taken issue with the journal article.

Many historians believe that Johnson would have escalated U.S. military action in the region anyway.

Yet Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists project on secrecy, said events of the Cold War cannot remain off limits, effectively a secret history. ''A lot of what we think we know of our recent history may be mistaken,'' Aftergood said. ''It is a disgrace that it should be so in a democracy, but it is.''

James Bamford, who has written several books on the NSA, said the agency has a ''lethargic attitude'' about revealing historic information ''that may be useful for people in the future, to help prevent mistakes.'' ... 74,00.html
Aug 19, 2003

Heres what LBJ said at the time. Funny he wasnt struck by lightning.

President Johnson's Message to U.S. Congress August 5, 1964
by Lydon B. johnson

Last night I announced to the American people that the North Vietnamese regime had conducted further deliberate attacks against U.S. naval vessels operating in international waters, and I had therefore directed air action against gunboats and supporting facilities used in these hostile operations. This air action has now been carried out with substantial damage to the boats and facilities. Two U.S. aircraft were lost in the action.

After consultation with the leaders of both parties in the Congress, I further announced a decision to ask the Congress for a resolution expressing the unity and determination of the United States in supporting freedom and in protecting peace in southeast Asia.

These latest actions of the North Vietnamese regime has given a new and grave turn to the already serious situation in southeast Asia. Our commitments in that area are well known to the Congress. They were first made in 1954 by President Eisenhower. They were further defined in the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty approved by the Senate in February 1955.

This treaty with its accompanying protocol obligates the United States and other members to act in accordance with their constitutional processes to meet Communist aggression against any of the parties or protocol states.

Our policy in southeast Asia has been consistent and unchanged since 19554. I summarized it on June 2 in four simple propositions:

1. America keeps her word. Here as elsewhere, we must and shall honor our commitments.

2. The issue is the future of southeast Asia as a whole. A threat to any nation in that region is a threat to all, and a threat to us.

3. Our purpose is peace. We have no military, political, or territorial ambitions in the area.

4. This is not just a jungle war, but a struggle for freedom on every front of human activity. Our military and economic assistance to South Vietnam and Laos in particular has the purpose of helping these countries to repel aggression and strengthen their independence.

The threat to the free nations of southeast Asia has long been clear. The North Vietnamese regime has constantly sought to take over South Vietnam and Laos. This Communist regime has violated the Geneva accords for Vietnam. It has systematically conducted a campaign of subversion, which includes the direction, training, and supply of personnel and arms for the conduct of guerrilla warfare in South Vietnamese territory. In Laos, the North Vietnamese regime has maintained military forces, used Laotian territory for infiltration into South Vietnam, and most recently carried out combat operations - all in direct violation of the Geneva Agreements of 1962.

In recent months, the actions of the North Vietnamese regime have become steadily more threatening...

As President of the United States I have concluded that I should now ask the Congress, on its part, to join in affirming the national determination that all such attacks will be met, and that the United States will continue in its basic policy of assisting the free nations of the area to defend their freedom.

As I have repeatedly made clear, the United States intends no rashness, and seeks no wider war. We must make it clear to all that the United States is united in its determination to bring about the end of Communist subversion and aggression in the area. We seek the full and effective restoration of the international agreements signed in Geneva in 1954, with respect to South Vietnam, and again in Geneva in 1962, with respect to Laos.