When history is intentionally murky: Was Air America the CIA?
"They said they wanted pilots," he recalled. "They didn't say anything about where the flying would be."...
In 14 years working for Air America, Jordan was never formally told who was footing the bill for his often-harrowing flights. But he and the other Air America pilots knew. They called their mystery client "the customer," Jordan said.
"And the CIA was always the customer."
Few Americans know it, but Air America is embedded in some of the most iconic images of the Vietnam War. In the famous photo of the evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, the helicopters lifting stranded diplomats off the rooftop belonged not to the military but to Air America.
The company was shut down after the fall of Saigon in 1975, and the U.S. government subsequently acknowledged that Air America was a wholly owned subsidiary of the CIA.
But more than 30 years later, the government is still grappling with where that leaves Air America's former employees. They worked for Air America, but does that mean they worked for the CIA?
comments powered by Disqus
- The Forgotten Story of the Men Who Broke the NFL’s Color Barrier
- The Mysterious Case of the 113-Year-Old Light Bulb
- Found: The Oldest Bar In Every State
- John Kerry says the destruction of heritage sites in Iraq and Syria is the worst in his lifetime
- The Capture of the Lindbergh Baby Kidnapper, 80 Years Ago
- Hugh Trevor-Roper: the spy as historian, the historian as spy
- After Ferguson, some black history grad students wonder: Does Pursuing a Ph.D. Matter?
- Historian David Kaiser rallying alums who say Harvard's paying its endowment traders too much
- Colorado students protest proposed "censorship" of history curriculum
- Director's using Kickstarter to raise money for a film about the Kansas governor who implanted goat testicles in humans