Vietnam 1967: John Murphy, then a military intelligence adviser for the Army, CIA, and South Vietnamese intelligence services, reveals the gray areas of critical on-the-ground spy work, where trust is hard-won and easily lost.
Vietnam, 1967: Military intelligence has collapsed, Viet Cong have infiltrated the clandestine American spy network, and the U.S. can't rely on the South Vietnamese. John Murphy, then an elite adviser, analyst, and operative for the Army, CIA, and South Vietnamese intelligence services, reveals the gray areas of critical on-the-ground intelligence work, where trust is hard-won and easily lost. His challenges included: working with the local population to gather information, evaluating material and unreliable agents, dealing with the equally unreliable South Vietnamese Army, administering the controversial Phoenix Program, and confronting the 'body count' expectations of the Johnson administration's military bureaucracy. John's role was equal parts analyst, operative, and diplomat; it was confusion and misinformation from the ground level up. Using never-before-seen archival footage, documents, graphics, and photos, John analyzes why bad intelligence goes up the chain of command to ...Written by
Through his documentary, "Agents Unknown," Michael Reiter has crafted an intelligent, sensitive and thoughtful commentary on the myriad pressures created by military conflict, societal upheaval, and the self-destructiveness of manipulated statistics.
Lt. John J. Murphy recounts his service in Vietnam in 1967, when he was 22 years of age and entrusted with responsibilities that constantly required him to decide whether the "facts" presented to him were accurate and reliable--or had been "tweaked" in some direction or other to suit someone's version of the elusive "truth."
In the documentary, Murphy is careful in his judgments and reflections, but they all result in the same conclusion: it was impossible to proceed with confidence and assurance in a country where Agents sold information to whomever sought it and contempt, corruption, enemy infiltration and distrust were always to be encountered. The Power Structure in far far away in Washington, D.C. likewise declared numbers and statistics designed to counter the deafening national unrest with their inflexible commitment to this Conflict.
Director Reiter has captured this long moment in our history with a smoothly flowing narrative, distinctive graphics, and footage of the Vietnamese people that vividly portrays the daily horrors of this period.
A remarkable amount of history has been conveyed in "Agents Unknown." Worth a watch!
Reviewed by Jim Kozicki
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