July 13, 1998
The Honorable Senator, Theodore Kennedy
US Senate, Washington, DC
Subject : Request for Congressional Hearing - CNN's
broadcast - "Operation
As a veteran of the Army and Special Forces during the
Vietnam Conflict and
native of Massachusetts, I ask for your help in petitioning
Congress for a
hearing on the CNN broadcast of their "story" called "Operation
The damage to the reputation of the United States, and its
Foreign Governments caused by CNN's broadcast, aired on Newstand,
have far reaching impact on our Country and its servicemen and women.
As Massachusetts native, I have watched the careers of your
appreciation and interest. I respect the fact that it would
have been easier
for you and your brothers to simply enjoy your fathers money, but
each one of you devoted his life to public service.
While I was too young to vote for your brother Jack, I still
Camelot with pride, while I was at Northeastern University
As his and Bobby's lives were brought short by extreme elements
society, we need to prevent another travesty being perpetrated on
and its servicemen by CNN.
This travesty was initiated by CNN with its story on "Operation
secret mission comprised of Special Forces soldiers and native montagards
in Laos in 1970. As a veteran, I'm sure that Jack would
not idly sit by
while a immoral TV newsgroup foisted a series of astounding revelations
viewing public, just to get a shocking premier of CNN's Newstand.
While an apology and retraction were eventually issued, it
was not before a
second show was aired a week later. The apology was issued
by their CEO, Tom
Johnson through First Amendment lawyer, Floyd Abrams.
The apology was worded such that it inferred the facts, while
were essentially an honest reflection of the story uncovered by
Numerous articles have been written by other newspapers, veterans
news services such as AP and Reuters damning this broadcast and
retraction / apology on July 2, 1998.
It was noted that over two hundred interviews were taken over
a period of
eight months, CNN producer April Oliver stated. But,
none of the "sources"
were named. Ms. April Oliver, one of the producers fired
as a result of the
Abrams investigation, indicated that they were "confidential " to
In the past three weeks, I have researched numerous articles
found in the a
National Archives, and found evidence that MS OLiver and her co-
Mr. Jack Smith are now trying to cover up a blatant misrepresentation
Review of the declassified records of the Special Observations
this operation, originally classified TOP Secret - LIMBIS indicate
different story than the one purported by Ms. Oliver and Mr. Jack
Smith indicated that "No documentation of this operation exists!"
AS FAR AS THE MAJORITY OF SPECIAL FORCES VETERANS ARE CONCERNED,
AND HER CO- PRODUCER MR. SMITH, ARE LYING THROUGH THEIR TEETH.
SO CONVINCED WITH THEIR PREMISE OF THE SHOCKING STORYTHAT
WAS TO BE BROADCAST
ON THE PREMIER OF NEWSTAND, THE PRODUCERS EDITED OUT SECTIONS
THAT WOULD HAVE
REFUTED THE FACTS THAT WERE AIRED!
It reflects a total lack of ethics and moral judgement on
the part of the
shows producers and its network management. The hypocrisy
of ignoring the
facts and selective editing to confirm their ill-founded hypothesis
At least the Japanese gave us some hints of war prior to their
Pearl Harbor in 1941. Your brothers fought well in WW
II and one of them
returned to an illustrious career in politics; however, such is
not the case
with many Vietnam veterans
Unfortunately, thanks to one of the individuals that "read"
the script ON-
Air, Mr. Peter Arnett, a lot of us weren't as lucky! His memoirs
interesting "slant" on his war stories during Vietnam. It
is obvious that he,
Ms. Oliver and Mr. Smith had something in mind when they pushed
to air this
I don't know about you, but I think that "story" would be
a true blockbuster!
All that veterans want, is to regain the small appreciation
for our service
during this hated war, which was so recently regained . We
served our Country
when it needed us. Now the country and its veterans are maligned
by a story
that is so far-fetched it could be on the X-Files series as another
government plot hidden from the public.
Both the country and its servicemen have been done a hateful
We want the truth to be brought in a public hearing that is
throughout the world, putting the rogue countries on notice that
not commit heinous crimes against humanity and will not tolerate
Is that too much to ask?
Walter F Emerson
CPT, CE USAR (ret) (Honorably Discharged -1979)
539th Engr Det, 1st SFG (abn), Okinawa et al
2nd Engr Bn, 2nd INF Div. Korea
Co D 19th SFG (abn)
Co C 20th SFG(abn)
Paul F. Campbell, Special Forces, Retired
Raleigh, North Carolina
James G. Ringland, Special Forces Retired