In vibrant, engaging prose, this memoir from inside the belly of US intelligence operations reveals what fundamentally went wrong for the US and its allies, and why the Vietnam War was never "winnable." A cautionary tale about the perils of politicizing and manipulating honest intelligence.
For political reasons, the Johnson and Nixon administrations wanted to control the narrative about US prospects in Vietnam. In 1965, low level CIA analyst Sam Adams was transferred from the Congo desk to Southeast Asia, where he was charged with assessing enemy morale and counting their ranks. Only the enemy strength estimate he came up with as the CIA's official head counter varied wildly from the official estimates being produced by military intelligence and released by the White House for consumption by Congress, the media, troops in the field and the American electorate. Adams' findings pointed to the conclusion that the war was unwinnable, but when politicians and military leaders failed to release let alone acknowledge his findings, he knew the intelligence was being politicized and embarked on a one man crusade to hold those in power accountable and expose the truth.