COLD WAR SPYING:1951
January 4, 1951: Bedell Smith appoints Allen Dulles as the CIA’s Deputy Director of Plans. The title is a cover for his real job: Chief of Covert Operations. The two men are not a good match.
Bedell Smith’s second in command, the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence Bill Jackson resigns in frustration. Bedell Smith has no choice but to promote Dulles to Deputy Director and Frank Wisner to Chief of Covert Operations. The two men propose a budget of $587 million, an 11 fold increas from 1948. More than $400 million is for Wisner’s covert operations — 3 times the cost of espionage and analysts combined.
Bedell Smith sees the budget proposal as “a distinct danger to CIA as an intelligence agency.” He goes on to say: “The operational tail will wag the intelligence dog.” He warned: “The top people will be forced to take up all their time in the direction of operations and will necessarily neglect intelligence.”
1951: The CIA opens a second front in the Korean War. The officers on the agency’s China operations desk convince themselves that as many as one million Kuomintang Nationalist guerillas are waiting inside Red China for the CIA’s help.
Dulles and Wisner try to enlist Americans to parachute into communist China. Lacking American volunteers, the CIA drops hundreds of recruited Chinese agents into the mainland. Their orders are to find their way to a village. When they go missing, they’re written off as a cost of covert warfare.
The CIA also thinks it can undermine Mao with Muslim horsemen, the Hui clans of China’s far northwest, who have political connections with the Chinese nationalists.
The CIA drops tons of weapons and ammunition and radios and scores of Chinese agents into western China, then tries to find Americans to follow them.
A CIA front based in Taiwan, Western Enterprises, is created to subvert Mao’s China.
Early 1951: The Chinese Communists chase General MacArthur’s troops out. The Pentagon decides to open a second front using about 1,500 followers of Li Mi, a Nationalist general. The CIA begins flying Chinese Nationalist soldiers into Thailand, training them, equipping them, and dropping them along with pallets of guns and ammunition into northern Burma.
When Li Mi’s soldiers cross over into China, Mao’s forces shoot them.
The CIA discovers that Li Mi’s radioman in Bangkok is a Chinese communist agent.
Li Mi’s soldiers retreat and regroup, but they refuse to fight. They settle into the mountains known as the Golden Triangle and harvest opium poppies. Twenty years later the CIA starts another small war in Burma to wipe out the heroin labs.
February, March, April 1951: More than 1,200 North Korean exiles are gathered on Yong-do Island in Pusan Harbor under the command of operations chief, Hans Tofte.
Tofte forms 3 brigades — White Tiger, Yellow Dragon, and Blue Dragon — with 44 guerilla teams. Their mission is 3-fold:
- serve as intelligence gathering infiltrators
- serve as guerilla warfare squads
- serve as escape and evasion crews to rescue downed American pilots and crews.
End of April 1951: White Tiger goes ashore in North Korea with 104 men, reinforced by 36 more agents dropped by parachute. By November 1951 most of the White Tiger guerillas are killed captured or missing.
Blue Dragon and Yellow Dragon meet similar fates.
The few infiltration teams that survive are captured and forced to deceive their American officers with phony radio messages. None of the guerillas make it out alive.
April 1951 – end of 1952: Hedging its bets on the Nationalist Chinese, the CIA decides there has to be a “Third Force” in China. The agency spends roughly $100 million, buying enough arms and ammunition for 200,000 guerillas, but it doesn’t find the Third Force. About half the money and guns go to a group of Chinese refugees based on Okinawa. Their group is a scam.