Historical Perspectives

Old Man Ho
The OSS Role in Ho Chi Minh’s Rise  to Political Power
Bob Bergin

It’s a small footnote in American history, but a significant event in the history of American intelligence: the OSS relationship with Ho Chi Minh is a marker for what can happen when an aspiring and clever politician is recruited as an intelligence asset. Although Ho was a minor figure then, he was carefully handled and was given nothing considered helpful to him or his political movement. But the young men of the OSS were no match for Ho’s charm and cleverness, and his manipulative skills honed over 25 years as an agent of the Comintern. By the time the relationship ended five months after it began, the OSS intelligence operation was a success, and Ho Chi Minh was the president of the newly declared Democratic People’s Republic of Vietnam.

In ordinary times, intelligence services can identify reporting needs and seek agents to service them in a methodical fashion. In a crisis, particularly in time of war, there is often a need to move quickly when options are limited. The situation is ripe for exploitation by fabricators or opportunists seeking a relationship that will help them achieve their own political ends.

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Posted: Jul 16, 2018 03:14 PM
Last Updated: Jul 16, 2018 03:14 PM