Edward C. Brady. An army officer who served his first tour in Vietnam in 1965 as an adviser to the a Vietnamese Ranger Battalion in Pleiku, Brady volunteered for another tour and was assigned as a Regional and Popular Forces adviser in Da Lat, where he learned about the connection between politics and the black market in Vietnam. “It was sort of what Geneva was like in World War Two."'
In Da Lat Brady worked with the CIA Province Officer. He learned Vietnamese and began to socialize with them. Eventually he was loaned to Australian CIA contractor Ted Serong, who was forming the CIA’s PRU team in Tuyen Duc Province. Suborned by the CIA, enticed by the Vietnamese, and excommunicated by the Army, Brady - whose family was connected to a powerful U.S. senator and the III Corps commander - was reassigned to the Vietnamese Joint General Staff’s Combat Operations Center.
When Brady's tour at the JGS ended, the CIA station asked him to capitalize on his well-placed connections. Brady agreed and was assigned to the Phoenix Directorate as a cover for his espionage activities. "So I went over there and spent a couple hours talking to Evan Parker. He said, We're interested in targeted operations against the civilian part of the Communist party.' And I was ready for that - psychologically and emotionally.
Brady, however, discovered that the Vietnamese approach to Phoenix was at odds with the one pressed by Evan Parker and the CIA: "If you really want to get down to cases, no Vietnamese of any significance in the military or in the police didn't know who the truly high-level VCI were - the district chiefs and the province chiefs.” But as one top officer said to him, “You don't understand. You don't have any family here. You're going to go home when this operation is over with. But I have a home and a family and kids that go to school. I have a wife that has to go to market. And you want me to set a trap for (the local VCI boss) and kill him when he comes in to see his wife? If we do that, what are they going to do to our wives?'
As Brady observes, "To conduct these clandestine police operations and really get at the heart of things, that was kind of immoral to them. That was not cricket, and the Vietnamese were very, very leery of upsetting that."
Brady offers an insider’s overview of Phoenix operational and organizational flaws and strengths.
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