181. Memorandum From the Special Assistant for Vietnamese Affairs, Central Intelligence Agency (Carver) to Richard T. Kennedy of the National Security Council Staff1


  • Follow-Up Report on Covert Disinformation Program Designed to Convince the Hanoi Leadership that the U.S. Government is in Clandestine Communication with Dissident Elements in North Vietnam
Our project to convince the Hanoi leadership that the U.S. Government is in clandestine communication with a high-level dissident faction within North Vietnam hit a snag when our double agent asset [less than 1 line not declassified] muffed his lines in a 22 May session with the North Vietnamese intelligence officer with whom he has been in contact. Unfortunately, at the point in the conversation where the agent was to allude to information about American contact with dissidents allegedly provided by the agent’s notional “American friend” (the purported source of the earlier data on mining), the agent strayed from his prepared script and the North Vietnamese did not pick up the point or pursue it.
Although we are disappointed in this setback, we had a stroke of luck the following day (23 May) when the press carried remarks by General Haig to the effect that there is “no solidarity of views among the northern leadership” over the current invasion of the south and that moderates (in North Vietnam) want to “scale down the ambitions of the regime” and “draw back from the blood-letting in the south.”2 We plan to use these published comments of General Haig to get our disinformation program back on the rails. In their 22 May session, the North Vietnamese intelligence officer did ask our asset to find out how far the Americans are likely to go in applying pressure on North Vietnam and whether the U.S. will invade North Vietnam with American troops. Within the next few days, our asset will re-contact the North Vietnamese intelligence officer, report some filler-type generalizations on the troop and invasion issue (suitably slanted) and then re-broach the thought that the Americans are being advised by the high-level North Vietnamese dissidents with whom the U.S. is in contact, alluding to General Haig’s remarks to buttress the fictional specifics provided by our asset’s notional “American contact.”
We are also setting up (probably from Takhli3 a series of one-way voice radio messages to North Vietnam which will provide further evidence of covert communication between the U.S. Government and a dissident faction within the DRV.
The above activities are being reinforced by the establishment of a second double agent operation [less than 1 line not declassified] which will be used to feed corroborative material back to the North Vietnamese.
As you recognize, structuring this kind of disinformation in a manner that whets the target’s appetite and remains plausible is a tricky proposition which cannot be rushed and which is always subject to the vagaries of chance and human nature. We will keep you advised of progress as it occurs.
George A. Carver, Jr. 4
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Files of the Deputy Director for Intelligence, Job 80–R01720R, Box 7, GAC [George A. Carver] Chronology, May–June 1972. Secret; Sensitive. The memorandum was dictated by Carver and revised in VNO/NVN.
  2. The New York Times, May 23, 1972, p. 14.
  3. Location of Royal Thai Air Force Base used by the United States Air Force to conduct missions over Vietnam during the Easter Offensive.)
  4. Printed from a copy with this typed signature.