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Frank Warren Snepp (born 3 May 1943, Kinston, North Carolina) is a journalist and former chief analyst of North Vietnamese strategy for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Saigon during the Vietnam War. Five out of eight years in the CIA, he worked as interrogator, agent debriefer, and chief CIA strategy analyst in the US Embassy, Saigon. He is currently a producer for KNBC-TV.



Snepp, in his capacity as a CIA analyst, was on hand for the Fall of Saigon and was one of the last Americans to leave the US Embassy, Saigon before the city fell to the North Vietnamese on 30 April 1975. Snepp was evacuated with other American personnel in Operation Frequent Wind. He wrote a memoir of the event, Decent Interval, in 1977, at great risk to his career. The book excoriates the tardy, improvised nature of the evacuation and laments the many Vietnamese nationals working for the Americans that were left behind.

The CIA attempted to stop Snepp from publishing his book. He accused the CIA of ruining his career and violating his First Amendment rights. The CIA, in return, claimed Snepp had violated his employment agreement by speaking out. He enlisted the help of the American Civil Liberties Union in his defense. In the end, the CIA won a court verdict against Snepp and attached the royalties from Decent Interval. He wrote a second book, Irreparable Harm, about his court battle with the CIA.

During the late 1980s, he taught a Journalism and the Law course at California State University, Long Beach.

He currently works as a producer for KNBC-TV in Los Angeles. In 2006 he won a Peabody Award for his KNBC investigative story "Burning Questions".

He was a technical consultant for the comedy film Spies Like Us.[1]


"Disinformation is most effective in a very narrow context."

Christian Science Monitor, February 26, 1985

"We always leave the last war thinking we have all the answers, but we end up having more questions."

University of California, Irvine, May 12, 2005


  • 1977: Decent Interval: An Insider's Account of Saigon's Indecent End Told by the Cia's Chief Strategy Analyst in Vietnam by Frank Snepp, Gloria Emerson ISBN 0-7006-1213-0
  • 1999: Irreparable Harm: A Firsthand Account of How One Agent Took on the CIA in an Epic Battle Over Free Speech by Frank Snepp, Anthony Lewis ISBN 0-7006-1091-X

See also

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