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
- Stanford historian uncovers the dark roots of humanitarianism
- Historian hailed for offering a history of the culture wars
- Scholars to set the West straight about "Apocalyptic Hopes, Millennial Dreams and Global Jihad"
- Why Eugene Genovese’s 2 sentences about Vietnam went viral in 1965
- Historians named to the 2015 class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences