The United States Intelligence Community was, infamously, heavily involved in the Cold War. The tensions between the United States and the USSR dominated world affairs between 1945–1991, periodically erupting into “hot” conflicts beyond the two powers’ borders.
Perhaps the most destructive of these conflicts was the Vietnam War, which extended from 1955–1975. In Vietnam, the CIA organized projects, such as the Census Grievance program and training of People’s Action Teams (PATs), to address the political facets of the conflict in addition to security concerns.
Thomas Donohue worked as a CIA case officer from 1951–1954. He joined the Foreign Service in 1954, working predominantly in Southeast Asia for the next two decades, finally joining the U.S. Department of Commerce as a consultant in 1976. In the following excerpt, he discusses the structure and intent of these programs, including his own involvement in their facilitation, while he was posted in Saigon, Vietnam, from 1965–1966.