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machine, notified Kamiseya. "Destruction of publications has been
ineffective," he wrote. "Suspect several will be compromised." Kamiseya
then requested a list of what had not been destroyed.
Back on deck, Bucher passed the word to lay aft and assist the
boarding party. The carbine normally kept on the bridge was thrown
overboard. At someone's suggestion, he then notified everyone that the
only information they were required to give was name, rank, and serial
number.
Realizing that he did not have on his officer's cap, Bucher then left the
bridge, went to his cabin, where he wrapped his wounded ankle with a



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sock, put on his cap, and returned to the bridge. It would be a dignified
surrender. No small arms would be broken out, no machine guns
manned, no attempt made to scuttle the ship or destroy the engines. The
tarps would never even be removed from the 50mm machine guns, a
process that would have taken about three minutes.
At 2:32, officers from the North Korean People's Army (KPA), in charge
of the attack boats, boarded the Pueblo. "We have been directed to come
to all stop," Bailey notified Kamiseya, "and are being boarded at this
time." A minute later, he transmitted his last message. "Got four men
injured and one critically and going off the air now and destroy this gear.
Over." Kamiseya answered, "Go ahead," and then asked the ship to
transmit in the clear. But there would be no more messages from the
Pueblo.
Met by Bucher, the boarding party came aboard without resistance. It
consisted of two officers and eight to ten enlisted men. All were armed
and none spoke English. Accompanied by Bucher, they went to the
pilothouse and the bridge, where crewmembers were ordered to the
fantail. All hands below decks, said Bucher, were to immediately lay up
to the forward well area. The helmsman was then brought back to the
wheelhouse to take the helm. "Each time the mike was keyed there was a
very audible click which preceded whatever was being said," recalled Stu
Russell. "Each time that thing was clicked, I was sure that they were
giving the order to fire into us. It was possible that no one in the free
world, no one in the U.S. military knew we had been captured and that
the Koreans might as well kill us then and there and cover the whole
thing up."
For the first time since 1807, when Commodore James Barron gave
up the USS Chesapeake after it was bombarded and boarded by the crew
of the HMS Leopard off Cape Henry, Virginia, an American naval
commander had surrendered his ship in peacetime.
Back at Kamiseya, intercept operators kept close track of the Pueblo
by eavesdropping on the SC-35 and the other escorts as they radioed
their positions, about every five minutes, to their shore command in
North Korea.
About 4:00 P.M., a second boarding party arrived with a senior North
Korean colonel and a civilian pilot. The pilot relieved the Pueblo's
helmsman, who was taken to the forward berthing compartment.
Together with Bucher, the colonel inspected the ship. White canvas
ditching bags, bursting at the seams with highly classified documents
and equipment, still lined the passageway; only one had ever been
thrown overboard.
When Bucher and the North Korean colonel entered the cipher-locked
Sigint spaces, a bulging white laundry bag stuffed with documents sat in


225
the middle of the floor. The WLR-1 intercept receivers were still in their
racks; only the faces had been damaged. Also undamaged was perhaps
the most secret Sigint document on the ship: NSA's Electronic Order of
Battle for the Far East. The EOB was a detailed overlay map showing all
known Russian, Chinese, and Korean radar sites and transmitters as
well as their frequencies and other key details. The information was
critical in case of war. Knowing where the radar systems were located
and on what frequencies they operated would allow U.S. bombers and
fighters to evade, jam, or deceive them through electronic
countermeasures. Knowing that the United States possessed that
information, the various countries might now change the frequencies and
other technical parameters, thereby sending the NSA back to square one.
Within days the document would be on a North Korean desk. "That's
guys' lives. That's pilots' lives," said Ralph McClintock, one of the
Pueblo's cryptologic technicians, years later.
Following the inspection, about 4:30 P.M., Bucher was ordered to sit
on the deck outside his cabin. At that moment, U.S. Air Force officials
were notified by Kamiseya that the Pueblo was now within North Korean
waters. All help was called off. The F-4s in South Korea had not finished
converting to conventional weapons, and the F-105s from Okinawa were
still an hour away from their refueling base in South Korea. They were
ordered to refuel as scheduled but not to attack. The United States had
given up on Bucher and his crew.
"They were on their own," said NSA's Gene Sheck. "They were literally
one hundred percent on their own."
At about 8:30 P.M., the Pueblo arrived in the Democratic People's
Republic of Korea (DPRK) and was tied up at a pier about ten miles
northwest of Wonsan. Several high-ranking officers from the KPA then
came on board to interview Bucher in his cabin. Afterward the
crewmembers were blindfolded, had their hands bound, and were led off
the ship. A crowd of people who had gathered near the pier shouted and
spat at them and then tried to grab them, only to be restrained by guards
using rifle butts. They were then put on a bus for the start of the long
journey to Pyongyang. "We were, it seemed, being guided to the crowd,"
said Stu Russell. "I was amazed that only a few minutes before, I thought
I was scared as much as I could possibly be. I was beyond scared. No,
now I was beyond that feeling and entering into emotional arenas that I
didn't know existed. My feet and legs were no longer part of my body,
they were part of a mechanical system over which I had no control."

We sailed quiet free until Jan. 23,
When out of nowhere there came
Six boats from the west,
The KPA's best


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Six hunters, and Pueblo fair game.

What a sensation we caused in this nation,
When caught red-handed that day.
A slight irritation, quite advanced inflammation,
In the rectum of the DPRK.


As the North Koreans were tying the spy ship to the pier in Wonsan,
Lieutenant General Marshall Carter was walking to his corner office on
the ninth floor of NSA's Headquarters Building. Eight-thirty P.M. in
Korea on January 23 was 6:30 A.M. in Washington on that same day,
fourteen hours earlier. There to greet Carter was Air Force Major General
John Morrison, his operations chief. He had been at work for hours
attempting to make sense of events. Others soon arrived at the director's
office for a briefing. Among those standing in front of his mahogany desk,
near an oversize globe, were Gene Sheck of K Group; Milt Zaslow, chief of
B Group; and Louis Tordella.
Because the Pueblo was a joint NSA-Navy operation, Carter knew he
was going to have a great deal of explaining to do, particularly about why
such a risky mission was launched in the first place. Then Milt Zaslow,
who was responsible for analysis of Sigint from Communist Asia, handed
Carter a copy of the earlier warning message that NSA had sent out for
action. By now most, including Carter, had forgotten about it. "General
Carter read it, and then he got up and [took] what I thought was the
greatest political position anybody could take," recalled Sheck. "He said,
'I don't want anybody in this room to call or to bring to anybody's
attention the existence of this message. They will find out themselves,
and when they do they will be sufficiently embarrassed about the whole
situation that I don't have to worry about that and you don't have to
worry about that, but I consider that message as kind of saving our ass."
Following the briefing, NSA officials began planning what to do next.
Zaslow argued that they should immediately bring the Banner up from
Japan to take the Pueblo's place, only with a destroyer or two for
protection. The operation could be accomplished within fifty-seven hours,
he said. Sigint flights would also be increased south of the demilitarized
zone and unmanned drones would be used over North Korea. In addition,
President Johnson personally approved the use of the superfast, ultra-
high-flying SR-71 reconnaissance plane to overfly North Korea in an
attempt to precisely locate the ship and its crew. Another top priority was
recovering any highly secret material jettisoned from the Pueblo.
However, Gene Sheck was totally opposed to now putting the Banner
in harm's way after what had happened to the Pueblo. "Our reaction
was," he said, "you ought to be careful, Mr. Zaslow, because you know, if



227
they've done that to the Pueblo . . . We would say, 'That's kind of a dumb
thing to do.' . . . and there was a lot of argument in the building whether
that made sense or not." Eventually it was decided to position the Banner
within the safety of a naval task force south of the 38th Parallel.


Twenty-five miles south of NSA, at the White House, President Lyndon
Johnson was secretly planning for war. Within hours of the incident,
Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara and his generals were leaning
over curled maps, revising America's war plan for North Korea. At 10:00
A.M. on the day following the attack, McNamara called a war council to
discuss preparations for combat with North Korea. It was to be an
enormously secret deliberation. "No word of the discussion in the
meeting should go beyond this room," everyone was warned. "Our
primary objective is to get the men of the Pueblo back," said McNamara.
"Return of the ship is a secondary objective."
There would be a limited call-up of the reserves. Upwards of 15,000
tons of bombs were to be diverted to the area from the war in Vietnam.
"There are about 4,100 tons of aircraft ordnance in Korea now," said
General Earle G. Wheeler, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, "with
about 10,000 more on the way. We need Strike, Bullpup, Walleye,
Falcon, Sparrow, and Sidewinder missiles."
Admiral Moorer said that he could maintain two aircraft carriers off
Korea for about six weeks without affecting the war in Vietnam. A plan to
mine Wonsan harbor would also be drawn up and nine
surveillance/attack submarines would be sent into the area. "This could
be done completely covertly, and within a week," said Moorer. More naval
gunfire support”cruisers and destroyers”could be brought in. A
blockade of selected harbors was also a possibility, as were "reprisal"
actions against North Korean ships on the high seas.
The Joint Chiefs recommended moving fifteen B-52 bombers to
Okinawa and eleven more to Guam. "We had F-4s lined up wingtip to
wingtip," said General Charles Bonesteel, in charge of U.S. and UN forces
in Korea, "and if the North Koreans had wished to run the risks and
indulge in a five-day war of their own, they could have really provided
Time-Life Incorporated with some ghastly sights."
Known as Operation Combat Fox, what followed became the largest
strategic airlift in U.S. Air Force history. More than 8,000 airmen,
hundreds of combat-ready aircraft, and millions of pounds of bombs,
rockets, ammo, and supplies were flown in. Among the options were
selective air strikes against North Korea. "Our first action, should we
become involved," said the Air Force Chief of Staff, "should be to take out
the North Korean air capability."
At the same time, according to NSA documents obtained for Body of


228
Secrets, the Pentagon began planning still another trumped-up "pretext"
war, this time using the Banner to spark a full-scale conflict with Korea.
"They wanted to provoke the North Koreans into doing something so they
could get back at them," said NSA's Sheck. Manned by only a crew of
two”a captain and an engineman”the Banner would be sent to the
same location the Pueblo was at when it was fired on. Then it would just
wait for the torpedo boats to attack. "They were going to do that with
carriers over the horizon, out of radar range," said Sheck, "and having air
cover . . . out of range. And the minute the ship indicated the North
Koreans were coming after them, they would then [send an alert]. That
was the signal to launch all the fighters."
But, said Sheck, the logistics and the risk to the American prisoners
made the idea unfeasible. "It took some time to get the carriers over
there," he said. "It took time to get the Banner ready for sea, and by then,
the reaction of the United States was, Let's cool it, because we don't want
to lose the eighty guys and all that sort of thing. So they didn't do that."
Another proposal, said Sheck, came from the four-star admiral in
charge of U.S. forces in the Pacific. "CINCPAC [Commander-in-Chief,
Pacific] wanted to go in and tie a lasso on it and pull it out of Wonsan
harbor. Literally! He said he'd propose a message that said, 'I will send a
fleet of destroyers in with appropriate air cover. I will tie a rope on the
goddamn tub and I'll pull it back out.' But some cooler heads at the
Pentagon said, 'No, forget that.' "


On January 26, three days after the Pueblo's capture, an aircraft as
black as a moonless night slowly emerged from its steel hangar at
Kadena Air Base on Okinawa. With stiletto-sharp edges, windscreens like
menacing eyes, a skin of rare titanium, and engines pointed like shotgun
barrels, the CIA's secret A-12 was at once threatening and otherworldly.
Beneath the cockpit canopy, dressed in moon boots and space helmet,
Frank Murray pushed forward the throttles to the mid-afterburner
position. Fuel shot into the engines at the rate of 80,000 pounds per
hour and fireballs exploded from the rear of the shotgun barrels. In the
distance, a flock of birds flapped for safety. Looking at his control panel,
Murray saw that he had reached decision speed and all was go. Ten
seconds later he pulled gently back on the stick and the A-12's long nose
rose ten degrees above the horizon. Murray was on his way to find the
Pueblo.
By January 1968, CIA pilot Frank Murray was a veteran of numerous
overflights of North Vietnam. But following the capture of the Pueblo, he
was ordered to make the first A-12 overflight of North Korea. An attempt
had been made the day before but a malfunction on the aircraft had
forced him to abort shortly after takeoff. Following takeoff on January 25,



229
Murray air-refueled over the Sea of Japan and then pointed the plane's
sharp titanium nose at the North Korean coast.
"My first pass started off near Vladivostok," he recalled. "Then with
the camera on I flew down the east coast of North Korea where we
thought the boat was. As I approached Wonsan I could see the Pueblo
through my view sight. The harbor was all iced up except at the very
entrance and there she was, sitting off to the right of the main entrance. I
continued to the border with South Korea, completed a 180-degree turn,
and flew back over North Korea. I made four passes, photographing the
whole of North Korea from the DMZ to the Yalu border. As far as I knew,
I was undetected throughout the flight." (Actually, NSA Sigint reports
indicated that Chinese radar did detect the A-12 and passed the
intelligence to North Korea. No action was taken, no doubt because of the
plane's speed, over Mach 3, and its altitude, 80,000 feet.)2
Murray's film was quickly flown to Yokota Air Base in Japan, where
analysts determined that North Korea was not building up its forces for
any further attacks.
Shortly after the January 26 A-12 mission, another set of spies made
preparations for the waters off North Korea. They would travel via the
opposite route: under the sea. Navy Chief Warrant Officer Harry O.

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