Oh. The intelligence officers initially found it very confusing to interpret exactly what was happening on the night of the second incident. The reason was that many intercepted messages were being picked up in the Tonkin Gulf
by different listening posts and passed to the United States for receipt in Washington
These messages were being read in the White House, the Defense Department, and in the CIA. The intelligence officers kept trying to put the messages in proper time sequence and discover what their content was. Unfortunately, some of the messages received on the day after the second incident related to events that took place in the first incident two days before.
It was impossible, dealing with the first reporting of these events, to sort them out carefully and decide the exact sequence of events. That was the source of the confusion, and the confusion was compounded, of course, because as is normal the intelligence process goes on systematically and separately from the policy deliberation process.
So the intelligence officers were having trouble getting unconfused, the policy officers were getting the preliminary reports and preliminary indications of what was happening because it was a critical situation and they acted on the basis of the first reports which hit their desk.