Tuesday, November 01, 2005
"Honest Mistakes" (or, another "coverup of a non-crime")
By KATHERINE SHRADER, Associated Press Writer Mon Oct 31, 6:25 PM ET
WASHINGTON - 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."
. . . . . . . .
As Howard Zinn has observed, the more important question that is seldom asked is, "What were our ships doing there??"