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Microdots: The CIA's Tiny Secret-Message Holders

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Microdots: The CIA's Tiny Secret-Message Holders

Short | 02:20

In 1971, the CIA sent coded messages to the Hanoi Hilton's prisoners of war through powdered-drink packages. How they hid these cryptic messages was quite ingenious.


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In 1973, 591 American POWs returned home from the Vietnam War, bringing with them harrowing tales of survival. But there was an even more remarkable -- and secret -- story to tell: a feat of incredible spycraft that remained classified for decades...until now. This is the unbelievable story of James Stockdale and his fellow prisoners at the notorious "Hanoi Hilton." Their clandestine communications with U.S. intelligence alerted the CIA and Pentagon to the horrors of the Vietnamese POW camps and prompted a daring, top-secret rescue mission.


  • Moki Martin
  • Dr. James B. Stockdale II
  • Danny E. Glenn
  • Sybil Stockdale
  • James Bond Stockdale
  • Red McDaniel
  • Spence Dry
  • Robert W. Wallace
  • Michael Mullen
  • Moki Martin

    Moki Martin

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    Lieutenant Philip "Moki" Martin, is a former U.S. Navy SEAL and one of the men involved in the highly classified Operation Thunderhead, a 1972 mission to rescue U.S. POWs attempting to escape a North Vietnamese prison.

    While the mission did not fulfill its objectives, Martin distinguished himself during the course of the operation but was not immediately recognized for his actions due to its clandestine nature.

    Three decades later, the mission was declassified and Martin was finally awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medal with a "V" for valor.

    He now lives in the San Diego area with his wife, Judy.

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