Liston does here for the 1968 Pueblo incident what R.W. Johnson (Shootdown: Flight 007 and the American Connection, 1986)...


THE PUEBLO SURRENDER: A Covert Action by the National Security Agency

Liston does here for the 1968 Pueblo incident what R.W. Johnson (Shootdown: Flight 007 and the American Connection, 1986) did for the Korean Airlines tragedy--he finds it to he the result of an American spying mission. In fact, Liston concludes that the National Security Agency actually planned the capture of the Pueblo by North Korea. Relating his story with Ludlum-esque melodrama, Liston claims that, through the manipulation of coded data, the NSA planned a mission to break Soviet codes used by the North Vietnamese military. The plan was to place a rigged US code machine secretly aboard the Pueblo with the intention of inducing the North Koreans, who used the same codes, to capture and use the rigged machine. Once this was accomplished, the NSA would easily be able to break the Soviet codes. In an ironic twist kept from the public and from most elected officials of importance, the Pueblo accidentally intercepted a Soviet message involving Soviet plans to invade China; it was actually the Chinese (and not the North Koreans, as publicized) who boarded the ship in order to obtain that Soviet message, and it was actually the Soviet navy that fired on the ship--in order to stop the Chinese. And without being part of the plan, Liston argues, skipper Lloyd Bucher was induced by a complex NSA plan called ""Need to Know"" to surrender his ship without a fight. All this, Liston asserts, represented ""the greatest intelligence coup of modern times,"" allowing, among other things: the US to avoid defeat in the Vietnamese Tet offensive; the Soviet Union to abandon its military adventure in China; a rapprochement between the US and China; and the Soviet Union to enter into dÉtente with the US. A catchy but unprovable scenario; and it's likely a healthy skepticism that caused 35 editors to reject this book. Still, Liston writes well and provides some more chewy fodder for conspiracy buffs here.

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 1988


Page Count: -

Publisher: Evans

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1988