US intelligence agency, the CIA, had a very good picture of the Soviet build up of forces before the invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968 and warned the then president Lyndon Johnson it was about to happen. That is the message from around 500 archive documents relating to the Warsaw Pact clampdown collected and released by the agency at a recent seminar in Austin, Texas. The papers show that the CIA warned of the build up of forces on August 2, saying an invasion could happen two weeks later. On August 20, the CIA noted that Soviet leaders had cut short their holidays for an emergency meeting. They said this was likely connected to an invasion. President Johnson rejected that interpretation. The Warsaw Pact forces rolled in that night to stamp out the liberalising moves by Czechoslovak authorities in the previous months. Some previous interpretations suggested the West was surprised by the Soviet-led invasion.
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