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Agents Unknown (2019)

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.


Michael Reiter


Michael Reiter


John Murphy

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Credited cast:
John Murphy John Murphy


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 Michael Reiter

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"We didn't know who to trust."









Release Date:

1 January 2019 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Province: An Intelligence Officer in Vietnam See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Lt. Murphy Film See more »
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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

16 : 9
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User Reviews

Stuck in the Middle
8 March 2019 | by ryannahigianSee all my reviews

Agents Unknown smartly delves into the Vietnam War from the point of view of a Lieutenant at the province level (Lt. John J. Murphy) who does a superb job of recreating in the viewers' mind the ambiguous atmosphere that existed on the front-lines of the War. Through Murphy's insightful account, we experience firsthand how muddled information that flowed through the lines of communication throughout the armed services ultimately served to reshape the overall strategies and outcomes of events that took place as the War progressed. "Juking the stats" can be found just about anywhere information exists. In that light, the manipulation of any form of information can cause myriad ripple effects, with far-reaching consequences. Whether we are talking about the economy, crime, education, or war, compiling and utilizing clean information versus compiling and utilizing corrupt information can have a huge impact on strategy, the eventual outcome of events, and overall public perception. This film is an honest account that contains no fluff or highly-charged rhetoric aimed at molding the viewers' opinion. This is a sharp well-directed piece that belongs in any historians' library of documentaries.

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