Worst intelligence failure/covert action in US history?

Greatest US intelligence/covert action failure?

  • Pearl Harbour

    Votes: 14 29.2%
  • Battle of the Bulge

    Votes: 1 2.1%
  • Atomic Spies

    Votes: 5 10.4%
  • Chinese intervention in Korea

    Votes: 6 12.5%
  • The Bay of Pigs

    Votes: 9 18.8%
  • Tet Offensive

    Votes: 4 8.3%
  • U2

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • USS Peublo

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Iranian revolution

    Votes: 4 8.3%
  • Eagle Claw

    Votes: 1 2.1%
  • Iran/Contra

    Votes: 1 2.1%
  • Other?

    Votes: 3 6.3%

  • Total voters
    48

Kevinmeath

Ad Honoris
May 2011
14,080
Navan, Ireland
So few know about this and yet the ramifications of it were astounding.

I have read on here how the 'British' should have done so much better because of 'Ultra' yet for a considerable time the Italians/Germans had just a good source.

I don't want to be a cynic or seem 'anti-American' but I can not help thinking that if it had been a British officer giving away American operations (with many dead) it would be much better known to say the least.

To be fair to Fellers I used to think he was an incompetent who was promoted afterwards simply to save American face-- but I have read accounts (how accurate I don't know) that he actually suspected his reports were being intercepted and asked to use a different code but Washington refused on the ground their codes could not be broken.
 
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aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,813
USA
I have read on here how the 'British' should have done so much better because of 'Ultra' yet for a considerable time the Italians/Germans had just a good source.

I don't want to be a cynic or seem 'anti-American' but I can not help thinking that if it had been a British officer giving away American operations (with many dead) it would be much better known to say the least.

To be fair to Fellers I used to think he was an incompetent who was promoted afterwards simply to have American face-- but I have read accounts (how accurate I don't know) that he actually suspected his reports were being intercepted and asked to use a different code but Washington refused on the ground their codes could not be broken.
From my understanding it was hinted that the black code was likely compromised but his excuse was that he had no other option. His orders were, as the military attache, to use the State Dept code, so that's what was used. It were me, I'd have rebelled and straight out refused that order, used a different code. But that was really in his character, he was a quintessential Regular Army officer, who did his duty by obeying superiors.

What the US Army did to cover it all up, giving him a DSM and promoting him to BGen, that was simply absurd. Its as if they completely ignored the damage he did to the British war effort, that he single handedly handed the Germans their greatest source of intelligence in the early stages of the North African command. He caused the entirety of the debacle up to El Alamein.

Reading any history about the Afrika Corps, and Rommel's brilliance, with no regard for Fellers' role in it is like reading a history of Midway without revealing MAGIC.

I'm glad you brought this up. This is one piece of history that really needs to be spread because so few know about it.
 

Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
5,591
Netherlands
I miss the Cuban revolution on the list. There were warnings enough about Castro and I think Cuba is even closer than Hawaii to the mainland.
 
Oct 2011
839
Bay of pigs
They had the intel on many of the listed just didn't read it or act. Bay of pigs was a comedy of idiots.
 
Sep 2014
1,222
Queens, NYC
Lord Fairfax, page 1, post 10:

Although FDR had been warned about the danger of an attack against Hawaii.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I don't recall reading or otherwise being informed of any possibility of attack on Hawaii. I recall that the military was mainly worried about attacks against the Phillipines and extended reasons.


Aggienation page 3:

From my understanding it was hinted that the black code was likely compromised but his excuse was that he had no other option. His orders were, as the military attache, to use the State Dept code, so that's what was used. It were me, I'd have rebelled and straight out refused that order, used a different code.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Really? Rather bold, especially since a person in Feller's position may not have had other codes.
 

Lord Fairfax

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,449
Sea of Fate
Yes but thought it was a flight of B17s returning from CONUS. Much like 9/11 it was a case of the boy who cried wolf, the agencies had warned so often people no longer took them seriously.
The Japanese strike seen on radar was much larger than the dozen or so B-17s expected, and was coming from the wrong direction.
Any way you look at it, a major screw up.

I think a classic example of those new to battle vs those who'd been fighting it for 3 years.
And yet the British weren't caught flat footed, prior to war breaking out they were fully expecting a U-boat onslaught, and laid down literally hundreds of ASW sloops, corvettes and trawlers. :think:
 

Lord Fairfax

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,449
Sea of Fate
Lord Fairfax, page 1, post 10:

Although FDR had been warned about the danger of an attack against Hawaii.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I don't recall reading or otherwise being informed of any possibility of attack on Hawaii. I recall that the military was mainly worried about attacks against the Phillipines and extended reasons.
The warning was from Admiral Richardson, who was replaced as Pacific fleet commander in Feb 1941 - by Kimmel
He felt that the US Pacific fleet in Hawaii was vulnerable to a Japanese attack, but his warnings were ignored, and he was relieved of his command.

Richardson, a Texas native, had ample experience with the naval base at Pearl Harbor. In his time there, Richardson noted a weakness in the Navy’s defenses and, as an expert in Japanese military tactics, feared that these vulnerabilities would leave the Pacific Fleet open to attack.

Though he wasn’t explicitly predicting an attack by the end of 1941, his tactical knowledge led him to think one was completely plausible and, if it did happen, the naval base would suffer great damage.
Pearl Harbor: An Admiral’s Warning
 
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Sep 2014
1,222
Queens, NYC
^^ But there's no direct statement that Richardson told Roosevelt of a fear of an attack on Pearl Harbor; or that any such concerns were communicated by anybody else to Roosevelt.
 

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,766
San Antonio, Tx
Dick Cheney lying about WMD in Iraq, and, he knew it was a lie. Starting a war for Cheney’s personal gain is contemptible and lower than the belly of a snake.
 
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