In this fascinating, exhaustively researched reexamination of the `Pueblo Incident,' Robert Liston comes to a remarkable conclusion: the Pueblo was purposely surrendered in a secret mission planned by the National Security Agency. The operation was the subject of a total cover-up-from the White House, the Pentagon, Congress, and the American public. Liston states that: The Pueblo was controlled by NSA operatives planted aboard the ship without the knowledge of the Navy; and the Chinese and the Soviets were after information they were led to believe was on board the Pueblo-information that was vital to both for intelligence purposes
But what was this deadly information? It was part of an NSA operation, in which a rigged U.S. code machine was secretly planted aboard the Pueblo to induce the North Koreans to capture and use the rigged code machine, thus permitting the U.S. to break the Soviet system of codes. The North Koreans used the machine to radio Vladivostok for instructions. The Soviet codes were broken almost immediately.
Liston maintains the Pueblo surrender was the greatest intelligence coup of modern times, preventing a major U.S. defeat in the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, foiling Soviet plans to invade China in a potentially nuclear conflict, and leading directly to the rapprochement between China and the U.S. Because the Soviets knew their codes were broken, the KGB began a massive overhaul of their entire intelligence operation. To gain time for that, the Kremlin launched its policy of detente with the West.
Liston masterfully organizes his material to expose the many inconsistencies in all previous accounts of the surrender, and carefully details the roles of the major players. Drawing on published accounts and interviews with crewmen and informants, Liston logically compiles the facts and details to reach a devastating conclusion. What emerges is not only an eye-opening revelation of the risks taken by the NSA in the power play of espionage, but a chilling portrait of an unimpeachable intelligence apparatus that threatens the very foundations of American democracy.