AUTHORLaird, Thomas
TITLEInto Tibet: The CIA's First Atomic Spy and His Secret Expedition to Lhasa
PUBLISHERGrove Press, Inc.
CITYNew York, NY
DATE PUBLISHED2002
ISBN0-8021-1714-7


Written by an American who has spent his adult life in the Himalayas, this book tells the story of a covert 1949 U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) mission into Tibet that remained secret for 50 years. The mission involved the first CIA operative killed in the line of duty, Douglas Mackiernan, and the book attempts to better understand the circumstances of his death. Relying on declassified U.S. State Department documents and interviews with Americans and Tibetans who were involved in the operation, the author attempts to solve some of its mysteries: the reasons for its authorization, who was involved, why the U.S. government vehemently denied any U.S. presence in Tibet, potential atomic spying, and the CIA work that may have led to the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950. The book explores the possibility that the reason the U.S. entered Tibet was to gain access to Soviet atomic information and use Tibet as a spying center while the CIA attempted to negotiate a covert arms deal with Tibet. Much of the expedition’s details are still classified, but the book sheds light on clandestine U.S. involvement in Tibet prior to the Chinese invasion.


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