Skip to comments.'Perfect Spy' tells an incredible tale [spy was a journalist, and helped kill U.S. troops]
Posted on 06/02/2007 9:56:42 AM PDT by 68skylark
SACRAMENTO -- Larry Berman, a political science professor at the University of California at Davis, is in the middle of a hectic publicity schedule for the launch of his new book, "Perfect Spy: The Incredible Double Life of Pham Xuan An."
An, who died in 2006, was a longtime spy for the Communist Party in Vietnam and is credited with playing a major role in Vietnam's victory over the United States. A gifted conversationalist, An worked for Time magazine in Vietnam, befriending many of the era's leading journalists. But before that, he went to college in California and had a brief internship at The Sacramento Bee where, among other stories, he wrote a first-person account of his purported crusade against Communist propaganda. The piece made him a local celebrity and solidified his cover for years to come.
Berman, 56, sat down recently to talk about the book.
Question: How did Pham Xuan An become so successful as a spy?
Answer: He spent a lot of time developing his cover. All the people I interviewed for the book said they liked him because he could fit in. He could joke with people. He spoke English. He liked to joke. He really went to school studying the Americans. He studied how the CIA interacted with people, how college coeds interacted in Orange County.
He came to California to go to college in the late 1950s on assignment? He was developing as a spy?
He had no choice. He did not want to go, but his party ordered him to do it. This is what is the most interesting thing to me historically about his whole life, the foresight of the Communist Vietnamese. In 1955, to recognize that the United States was slowly but surely coming ... the Vietnamese would not be allowed to determine their future.
(Excerpt) Read more at fresnobee.com ...
I'm suprised that his former co-workers continued to admire him and keep on friendly terms even after they learned he was spying for the North, and that his information helped kill Americans.
Honestly, for all the complaints here about the MSM, I don't enjoy seeing them as the "enemy" of the U.S. and U.S. military. Unfortunately, they sometimes seem determined to take on that role.
Gee, I’m shocked.
A New Yorker Kind of Guy
By Ben Stein
Published 6/9/2005 12:09:02 AM
If you wanted to see the perfect example of the ethical and moral collapse of the Mainstream Media, you could not do better than a long article in the New Yorker of May 23, 2005. The article is entitled, "The Spy Who Loved Us." Written by a teacher at the University of Albany, named Thomas Bass, it's about a man named Pham Xuan An. Now very old, An was -- among many other things -- a correspondent in Saigon during the Vietnam War for Time magazine. He was apparently considered a particularly brilliant and well-informed correspondent and very well liked by his colleagues in the Western press corps during the war.
He was also a Communist spy, working for the North Vietnamese, informing them of what he knew about American military plans, troop movements, political agendas.
He even helped the Communists win large battles by directing Vietcong and North Vietnamese troops against American and South Vietnamese forces. He helped plan the Tet Offensive of 1968, including helping the man who planned the attack on the U.S. Embassy. This was the offensive where thousands of innocent civilians were massacred by the Communists.
When the war ended, An offered to go to the U.S. and continue spying for the Communists there. The offer was denied and he lives quietly in Ho Chi Minh City, where, among other pets, he keeps fighting cocks -- a practice generally considered barbaric in the circles of New Yorker readers, but another sign of his cuteness to Professor Bass. In fact, the whole article is about how cute and smart and clever and brave a guy An is. A lovable, brilliant, brave man who sent Americans and innocent civilians to their deaths. Bass even explains that almost all of An's former colleagues in the Western press still love the guy after learning he was a spy for America's enemy in the Vietnam War. They even gave money to bring him here for an auld lang syne visit not long ago.
In this article, which I would guess to be about 8,000 words or more, there is not one hint, not one whisper, of sympathy for the American soldiers who fought and died or were maimed in Vietnam. Not one sliver of anger at a man who took American money and helped kill Americans. Not a word about the mass murder of civilians during Tet.
Prof. Bass, the perfect modern academic, obviously greatly admires this man, spent days with him, and has not one bad word to say about An's bosses, who, again, killed civilians without remorse by the thousands, who even sent An to be "re-educated" after the war because he had so much contact with Western ideas.
I am not sure how many mothers or fathers or children or widows of Vietnam war casualties read the New Yorker. I am not sure if anyone who edited the piece -- and it is edited well, although utterly without moral input -- had friends or family who fought there (such as my late father in law, Col. Dale Denman, Jr.). But how insulting, how insulting must an article like this be to them. How insulting it is to us all: to lavish praise on a man who helped kill our fellow Americans, to describe him in endearing terms, to try to make him seem like a kindly uncle.
If the New Yorker is one of the flagships of the Mainstream Media fleet, they are sailing in maddeningly disloyal, contemptuous waters and obviously have been for a while. Small wonder the media gloried in Mark Felt and Watergate last week. In those days, Americans actually trusted the Mainstream Media. The New Yorker piece by Prof. Bass makes it clear how wrong we were. He's a fine writer but a man whose piece lacks any moral compass at all. And what of the fellow journalists in Saigon cheering him on? Now we know a bit more about why the war turned out as it did.
This is beyond appalling. First of all that a man who helped kill U.S troops is allowed to become an American citizen without even serving jail time, and that his colleagues in the press and academia still dmire him.
This says more about the MSM and academia than it does about him.
Did John Kerry write the forward???
Silly me. You mean there was only one? And here I thought every “journalist” working the Vietnam beat during the war was a commie.
One of hundreds, if not thousands, since the WWII era. Of course the useful idiots love them.
There sure are more then one working in Iraq.
I consider him to be one of the great spies of the 20th century.
He didn’t spy for money or glory. He spied just for his country.
Whether he was an enemy or not, I consider that a noble thing.
Pretending to be s journalist and getting AMERICANS killed is a “NOBLE THING”?
This author probably considers terrorist “noble” since they are doing the SAME THING now.
>>An, who died in 2006, was a longtime spy for the Communist Party in Vietnam and is credited with playing a major role in Vietnam’s victory over the United States.<<
Vietnam’s “victory” over the United States was made possible solely by the Democrat-controlled Congress. The Dems were traitors then and traitors now.
That aside, word that a commie spy was in the employ of Time magazine surely set Clarie Booth Luce spinnin’ in her grave.
but, but, but only American journalist are spys.
“his former co-workers continued to admire him and keep on friendly terms even after they learned he was spying’
I can’t find that in the article even after reading it twice. Would you please quote that datum?
Let me answer that one. He was successful because the journalists were on his side. Even if they had KNOWN he was a spy, most of them would have been delighted to help, by the time the war was winding down, because they were--and still are--on the same side.
it's o.k. to be around a slime murderer but a smoker! this is to be condemned!
Ah, ok. I see it in Stein’s column.
I wonder how many more Pham Xuan Ans there are in the so-called mainstream media right now, feeding information directly to our enemies.
at that time, weren’t they coming out from Henry Luce? There were probably still some conservatives, or at least pro-Americans.