LANGLEY, Va. — Jane Fonda, the actress labeled a traitor by the veteran community because of her activities during the Vietnam War, was actually a CIA operative who used her perceived anti-war stance as a cover that provided crucial intelligence for American forces, according to new documents declassified this week.
“She was able to get to places and discover things that nobody else could,” said Simon Grey, a freelance investigative reporter who discovered “Operation Barbarella” the official code name for Fonda’s mission to North Vietnam., through a Freedom of Information request.
During her time in country Fonda memorized the names, ranks and positions of nearly 50 NVA officers that she came in contact with as well as the coordinates for headquarters buildings and other possible targets of interest for the Department of Defense, the documents reveal.
“Her mental capabilities remain legendary around Langley,” said one CIA official who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to speak on behalf of the agency. “You know that photo of her sitting on that anti-aircraft gun and smiling? She provided a solid grid to our boys and that gun was sent to the stone age by B-52s the next day.”
Fonda also saw to the well-being of American POWs while visiting Hoa Lo Prison in Hanoi, secretly slipping them letters from loved ones and using her star power to convince the captors to treat the prisoners humanely.
“Things got much better after she visited,” said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who spent nearly six years in Hanoi after being shot down during a bombing mission in 1967. “I’m happy the truth can finally be told about this wonderful lady and patriot.”
According to Grey’s story, Fonda remained a CIA operative for years after the Vietnam War. He also writes that her workout series was actually a classified government program designed to keep homemakers out of domestic terrorism. “Nothing more dangerous than a group of cougars with nothing but time on their hands,” CIA director William Casey said at the time he launched the program in the early 1980s.
“Few things in American history have been as wrong as Jane Fonda’s reputation,” Grey said. “Turns out ‘Hanoi Jane’ is actually ‘Hero Jane.’”