David H. Hackworth
May 24, 1994


In my lifetime -- from Pearl Harbor in 1941 when a Japanese surprise attack sank our fleet, to the recent disaster in Somalia, where intelligence reported that Gen. Mohammed Aidid had 1,000 soldiers just before he struck with 25,000 -- the United States has had a lousy spy apparatus, for which our warriors have always paid a high price.

A few weeks ago, CIA turncoat Aldrich Ames took a shot at America's espionage agencies just before the steel door slammed shut on Moscow's pet mole. Ames, who spent his adult life with the CIA, said the intelligence community is "a self-serving sham, carried out by careerist bureaucrats who have managed to deceive several generations of American policy -makers and the public" concerning their effectiveness.

He said, "There is no rational need for thousands of case officers and tens of thousands of agents working around the world, primarily in and against friendly countries."

Ames added that our spy agencies were "a self-serving interest group, immeasurably aided by secrecy."

Out of the mouth of a traitor came truths I've witnessed first-hand all over the globe concerning our multi-layered, law unto themselves, $30-billion-a-year spy gang.

I have known CIA spooks in Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam who were busy executing dirty tricks against America's friends, whose sons were dying at our request in Vietnam. These evil deeds, such as killing or otherwise dismissing foreign heads of state who wouldn't go along with U.S. policy, made a mockery out of what America stands for.

In a new book, "War of Numbers: An Intelligence Memoir" (Steerforth Press;, written by the late Sam Adams, a CIA operator blows the whistle from the grave, showing how U.S. intelligence is manipulated by politicians. Adams, who tried from within the system to show the true enemy picture in Vietnam so our soldiers would know what they were up against, reinforces in riveting detail what spy Ames briefly told a federal judge last week.

Mike Wallace of "60 Minutes" wrote that, Adams' book is "the graphic truth about how we Americans were led down the garden path" during the Vietnam War. It tells how the books were juggled to justify the propaganda gushing out of the White House, the Pentagon, the CIA and Gen. William Westmoreland's Saigon headquarters to present the false picture that we were winning the war.

Adams shows how the truth was twisted and how intelligence was given a light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel spin by CIA and military brass who put their careers over truth, country and our warriors. He tells how the brass stacked the deck, how by 1967 the enemy had us so out-numbered there was no way to win even if our military commitment had been tripled.

Had the real enemy strength gotten to our duped Congress, the public and our warriors down on the ground, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial would have but a fraction of the names on it. Yet, when it was obvious the war was not winnable, our leaders continued to feed young men into a death machine that ground them up and spit out white crosses and mangled bodies and emotions.

I've seen too many soldiers pay with their lives and limbs because of corrupted, bungled intelligence. I was so moved by the manuscript -- which no big publishers would touch because Adams wasn't around to bear witness -- that I wrote the introduction.

No American military involvement has had more walking wounded than the Vietnam War. I'm not talking just about people who were blown apart on the battlefield, but also about those who served in Vietnam and cannot let the war go. Many feel it was their fault that, unlike their dads' war, they lost.

The book should be read by every Vietnam vet and by our lawmakers. Let's hope it will help the vets deep-six the war(because they didn't blow it) and cause Congress to disband the CIA (because they did blow it) and transfer CIA functions to the Pentagon, State Department and the unemployment line.

It's ironic how a most honorable man like Sam Adams, and a most dishonorable man such as Rich Ames, came to the same conclusion: that the U.S. intelligence system is right out of a corrupt "Alice in Wonderland."