The Seizing of the USS Pueblo by NK - 22 Jan 1968


Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Jan 31, 2009
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The Seizing of the USS Pueblo by NK
22 Jan 1968

In January 1968, the US Navy electronic surveillance ship USS Pueblo was quietly lurking off the east coast of North Korea, its assorted antennae pricked to absorb any kind of interesting electronic transmissions. There was little doubt that the North Koreans would cease any intelligence-worthy communications if they learned that the “environmental research” ship was eavesdropping, so the Pueblo’s crew operated under radio silence to avoid detection. Nevertheless, there was surprisingly little for the sophisticated electronics to observe; in terms of signals, Soviet-friendly Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) was uncharacteristically quiet. With so little information to pore over, the only interruption in the monotony was the occasional task of chipping the thick frosting of ice from the deck.

But on 22 January, something out of the ordinary happened. Two gray fishing trawlers spotted the Pueblo and circled her for a time, clearly agitated despite the fact that the US Navy ship was in international waters. There seemed to be little cause for concern, however, since such encounters were not unheard of. The trawlers departed without incident, so Commander Lloyd Bucher reported the episode and continued with his mission. Had the shore-side Navy personnel informed the Commander of the goings-on in Korea in the hours leading up to the event, he may have reconsidered his decision to remain so close to the edge of Korean territorial waters.

The previous evening, thirty-one North Korean operatives had secretly crossed the the demilitarized zone (DMZ) into South Korea. Clad in South Korean military uniforms, the commandos were within a block of their target— the Presidential Palace— before being detected. In the ensuing gunfight, twenty-nine of the would-be assassins were killed and one committed suicide. The single surviving prisoner was questioned, where he revealed that his mission had been to murder President Park and other senior government officials.


Though at the time the US downplayed the intelligence loss suffered, it is generally believed that the Pueblo’s secrets were of significant value to the Soviets. There are some indications that the Russian government had urged the North Korean military to seize a US spy vessel in order to provide them with American secrets. They had been lagging 3-5 years behind in communications technology, but after reverse-engineering the US equipment and code books the Soviets made dramatic improvements to their systems.


The above article doesn't make the obvious connection that via the seizure of the Pueblo, the NKs supplied the Soviets with the HARDWARE to mate with the many crypto keys supplied to them by this scumbag:

John Anthony Walker

John Anthony Walker Jr. (July 28, 1937 – August 28, 2014) was a United States Navy chief warrant officer and communications specialist convicted of spying for the Soviet Union from 1968 to 1985.

In the June 2010 issue of Naval History Magazine, John Prados, a senior fellow with the National Security Archive in Washington, D.C., pointed out that after Walker introduced himself to Soviet officials, North Korean forces seized USS Pueblo in order to make better use of Walker's spying. Prados added that North Korea subsequently shared information gleaned from the spy ship with the Soviets, enabling them to build replicas and gain access to the U.S. naval communications system, which continued until the system was completely revamped in the late 1980s.

Excellent TV miniseries about the Walkers: