Maybe what happened at the very end, declassified at my behest so I could write about it, will give some sense of the importance of our work. As I have reported here at length, I knew from monitoring the radio communications of the North Vietnamese invaders that they had surrounded Saigon and were about to attack. The U.S. ambassador to South Vietnam, Graham Martin, didn’t believe me, and he was able to persuade the State Department and the White House to ignore my admonitions. Only the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) accepted my evidence and forewarned of the fall of Saigon. The ensuing assault and conquest of Saigon proved once again the validity of SIGINT.
The defeat of the U.S. in Vietnam, the first time that the U.S. ever lost a war, may have persuaded commanders and elected officials to pay closer attention to the warnings from intelligence. I’m told that today, intelligence officials are consulted and listened to much often than during my day.
Let’s hope so. The survival of our country may depend on it.