Snepp, Frank. Decent Interval: An Insider's Account of Saigon's Indecent End. New York: Random House, 1977. New York: Vintage Books, 1978. [pb] London: Allen Lane, 1980. Decent Interval: An Insider's Account of Saigon's Indecent End Told by the CIA's Chief Strategy Analyst in Vietnam. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press, 2002.
Clark comment: Frank Snepp is a former CIA intelligence analyst who served in Saigon at the end of the Vietnam war. Snepp's outrage and pain at the mishandling of the preevacuation and evacuation periods seem real. Nevertheless, his criticisms bear the mark of someone neither in a command position nor high enough up in the decisionmaking chain to know (nor in the final analysis to understand) the basis on which decisions were being made in Saigon and Washington.
Snepp's decision to publish his book without submitting the manuscript to the CIA for security review, as he was required by his employment agreement to do, brought about litigation that went all the way to the Supreme Court. The government's secrecy agreement was upheld and all profits from Decent Interval have gone to the government. As far as I can determine, the 1978 injunction that requires Snepp to submit all future writings for prepublication review remains in effect.
Decent Interval would be best read today with the following article, written by the CIA's Saigon Base Chief when Saigon fell in 1975, in hand: William R. Johnson, "Recalling Snepp's Indecent Breach of Trust," International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 9, no. 4 (Winter 1996/97): 473- 481. Johnson details what he calls "the inaccuracies and venal mendacities of Snepp's book."
Constantinides comments that the criticisms directed against Decent Interval "still leave much of Snepp's story ... intact." Nonetheless, it remains "one man's view." Pforzheimer notes that Snepp blames the CIA Chief of Station, the U.S. Ambassador, the Secretary of State, and the President for "the last disorderly days of the war and failure to evacuate many Vietnamese collaborators of the U.S." With regard to blame, Minnick, NameBase, says that Snepp's "negative portrayal of Saigon [Vietnam] station chief Thomas Polgar seems unfair given the complexity of the events." Otherwise, his "descriptions of the CIA's performance in Vietnam, particularly during the fall of Saigon, are stunning."
Commenting on the 25th anniversary edition, Berger, I&NS 20.2 (Jun. 2005), says that Snepp's account "remains one of the more important first-hand accounts of the internal workings of the US intelligence, military and political operations in Saigon and the eventual retreat in 1975."
Snepp has also published a book concerning his travails associated with publishing the first one: see Snepp, Irreparable Harm (1999).
Snepp, Frank. Irreparable Harm: A Firsthand Account of How One Agent Took on the CIA in an Epic Battle Over Secrecy and Free Speech. New York: Random House, 1999.
Although inclined to be sympathetic to Snepp, Whitten, Washington Post, 1 Aug. 1999, still comments that "for most ... book readers, the legal skirmishing, the testimony that could be summarized in a paragraph, the thick unleavened judicial opinions may induce sleep." The author "is not a sympathetic hero. At times his compulsiveness, his inconsistency, his untidy personal life, his melodramatic writing (though it sometimes rises to real drama), and his self-importance come close to making the reader sympathize with the windbags and sneaks who brought him down." On the other hand, Bamford, NYTBR, 18 Jul. 1999, calls the book "well-written" and "candid."
Hedley, IJI&C 13.1, notes that Snepp "wants us to feel sorry for him. Unfortunately, he feels too sorry for himself.... [W]hat he portrays as an 'epic battle over free speech' was in fact a cut-and-dried tort case over a simple violation of contract.... Irreparable Harm is a sad book to read, largely because its author is such a troubled soul after all these years." For background on Snepp and the writing of Irreparable Harm, see Vernon Loeb, "The Spy Who Was Left Out In the Cold: When Saigon Fell, CIA Agent Frank Snepp's Battle Had Just Begun," Washington Post, 12 Oct. 1999, C1.
Snider, L. Britt.
Sniffen, Michael J. "FBI Intelligence Efforts Have Risen Sharply." Washington Post, 28 Aug. 2000, A2. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]
According to a report from Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) on 27 August 2000, "[t]he number of FBI intelligence officers has grown almost fivefold during the Clinton administration.... Citing federal employment data, [TRAC] said the total of FBI intelligence officers increased from 224 in 1992 to 1,025 in 1999, but their exact duties are not known."
Sniffen, Michael J. "Obama Orders Review of Government Classification." Associated Press, 29 May 2009. [http://www.ap.com]
On 27 May 2009, President Barack Obama "ordered national security adviser James L. Jones to consult relevant agencies and recommend revisions in the existing presidential order on national security classification that lays out the rules under which agencies can stamp documents 'confidential,' 'secret' or 'top secret.'" The president also "ordered Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to set up a government-wide task force on standardizing so-called controlled but unclassified information."
Snow, Donald M. Distant Thunder: Third World Conflict and the New International Order. New York: St. Martin's, 1993.
Snow, Donald M. National Security for a New Era. 2d ed. New York: Longman, 2006. [pb]
From publisher: This work offers "a comprehensive examination of American national security policy since the events of 9/11 galvanized change. It starts from the premise that there have been two fundamental 'fault lines' in national security policy during the last two decades: the end of the Cold War and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Each transformed security policy."
Clark comment: Snow is a prolific writer and updater of texts dealing with national and international security. I used his earlier work, National Security: Enduring Problems in a Changing Defense Environment, 2d ed. (New York: St. Martin's, 1991), as a text in the POLS 320 National Security Issues course I taught at Muskingum University.
Snow, Donald M., and D. Eugene Brown. Puzzle Palaces and Foggy Bottom: U.S. Foreign and Defense Policy-Making in the 1990s. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994.
Snow, John Howard. The Case of Tyler Kent. New York: Domestic & Foreign Affairs & Citizens Press, 1946.
Constantinides calls this book "a rambling, incoherent, and disconnected political tract that adds nothing relevant to our knowledge."
Snyder, Alvin A. Warriors of Disinformation: American Propaganda, Soviet Lies, and the Winning of the Cold War -- An Insider's Account. New York: Arcade, 1995.
According to Surveillant 4.4/5, the author tells the story of Charles Z. Wick's USIA and that organization's role in U.S. foreign policy in the last decade of the Cold War.
Snyder, Lynda [CAPT/USA], and David P. Warshaw [CAPT/USA]. "Force Protection: Integrating Civil Affairs and Intelligence." Military Intelligence 21, no. 4 (Oct.-Dec. 1995): 26-28.
During Operation UPHOLD DEMOCRACY in Haiti.
Sobel, Lester A., ed.
1. Political Terrorism. Vol. I. New York: Facts on File, 1975.
Wilcox: "Record of terrorism in chronological order of events for the mid-60s forward."
2. Political Terrorism. Vol. II. New York: Facts on File, 1978.
Wilcox: "Collection of facts, chronology of events, statistics and other information."
3. Politics of Terrorism. New York: Marcel Dekker, 1979.
Wilcox: "Collection of articles on terrorism, particularly Middle East."
Sobolyeva, Tatyana A. Tr., Thomas R. Hammant. "Some Incidents in the 1930's." Cryptologia 25, no. 1 (Jan. 2001): 61-63.
Abstract: "Soviet comint personnel were active participants in at least Spain, China, and Mongolia during the 1930's. Special Operations Groups of cryptanalysts and comint intercept operators provided assistance to the host governments fighting German, Italian, and Japanese military forces in those countries." [This article consists of translated excerpts from Sobolyeva's Tainopis v Vistorii Rossii (1994).]
[Russia/Interwar & Sigint]
Sobolyeva, Tatyana A. Tainopis v Vistorii Rossii [Cryptology in Russia's History]. Moscow: Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniia, 1994.
Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, Cryptologia 21.1, finds this "a creditable attempt at chronicling Russian code-making and -breaking from the Middle Ages until the start of the Second World War." Nonetheless, the author's "treatment of the 1920s and 1930s is weaker tham the earlier sections of the book.... The main irritant ... is her repeated ... tak[ing] issue with every criticism [David Kahn] makes of the Russians.... [Yet,] she ultimately agrees with most of his points."
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