Worst intelligence failure/covert action in US history?

Greatest US intelligence/covert action failure?

  • Pearl Harbour

    Votes: 12 26.7%
  • Battle of the Bulge

    Votes: 1 2.2%
  • Atomic Spies

    Votes: 5 11.1%
  • Chinese intervention in Korea

    Votes: 6 13.3%
  • The Bay of Pigs

    Votes: 9 20.0%
  • Tet Offensive

    Votes: 4 8.9%
  • U2

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • USS Peublo

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Iranian revolution

    Votes: 3 6.7%
  • Eagle Claw

    Votes: 1 2.2%
  • Iran/Contra

    Votes: 1 2.2%
  • Other?

    Votes: 3 6.7%

  • Total voters
Jan 2015
Rupert's Land ;)
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.
Careful sir, that administration would be in the Out of Bounds zone... :sad:
We're not going to be able to muse about Third millennium train wrecks just yet...
Jan 2015
Rupert's Land ;)
^^ 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.
Yes actually there was, he opposed moving the fleet west to Pearl in early 1941, as he thought that Hawaii was vulnerable to Japanese attack.

He was commenting on the danger of attack specifically at Pearl, not at Norfolk or Bremerton or Corronado.


Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
I would suggest the fall of Hanoi, where the CIA was too incompetent to even destroy their paperwork, leaving all their helpers/informers at the mercy of the communists.
Jan 2018
San Antonio
What about Bonner Frank Fellers the US military attaché in Egypt whom the British granted almost full access to their plans which he reported in detail to Washington-- unfortunately the Italians had stolen these 'Black Codes' and the Americans hadn't noticed. Rommel et al had the information before Washington did.
That certainly comes to mind.
Sep 2012
Las Cruces, NM
Easily the worst intel failure was regarding how soon the Russians would develop nuclear bombs. The USA thought the Russians wouldn't have the bomb until 1953-1954, but the Russians had nukes by 1949. So going with "Atomic Spies", since the USA failed to sniff out Claus Fuchs and other traitors feeding tech to the Russians.

Probably the next would be the incompetent intel preceding the 2nd invasion of Iraq. Frankly I think the government KNEW better, and lied to the citizenry. But assuming they weren't lying, this would be the 2nd worst intel failure.
Last edited:

Similar History Discussions