Peabody-Award winning investigative journalist and broadcaster; best-selling author; former interrogator, counter-intelligence operative and chief strategy analyst for the CIA in Vietnam; ex-CIA whistleblower; named defendant in a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling on free speech and national security; expert commentator on the Vietnam war, national security, and the First Amendment.
“Edward Snowden’s Weasel Ways”
By Frank Snepp, January 31, 2014
Granting Edward Snowden clemency, as many have urged, would send a terrible message to other potential whistle-blowers. Yes, he may have sparked an important national privacy debate, but he did so through reprehensible actions that harmed national security.
If that’s a harsh verdict, I have earned the right to it. In terms of sheer media hype, I was the Snowden of my day, a disaffected ex-spy who, in the late 1970s and early ’80s, rocked the security community by publishing a memoir about intelligence failures I’d witnessed as a CIA officer during the last years of the Vietnam War. I did so only after the agency backhanded my repeated requests for an in-house review of our mistakes and refused to help me or anyone else rescue Vietnamese allies abandoned during the evacuation of Saigon.
“Snowden and a Muzzled Free Press”
By Frank Snepp, Posted CNN.com, July 3, 2013
The conservative Republican Rep. Peter King of New York recently uncorked the genie that journalists fear most, by calling for a crackdown on anyone who gives air time to Edward Snowden and like-minded leakers. To most of my journalist colleagues, this seems to violate the most basic tenets of press freedom. But as I discovered from my own bout with the U.S. Supreme Court, the First Amendment can be a fickle friend for anyone who dares defy the guardians of “official secrecy.”
The continued hemorrhaging of some of our most closely held intelligence could make the administration an ally of King’s, particularly if Snowden keeps lobbing headline-grabbers from some hideaway abroad. Attorney General Eric Holder has already shown his colors by prosecuting more leak cases under the espionage statutes than any of his predecessors, and by making reporters’ phone and e-mail records fair game in related investigations.
“Ex-CIA Spy Dishes On Witch Hunts and Whistleblowers”
(Originally Posted: Jeff Stein’s SpyTalk – Snowden and Press June 12, 2013
Former CIA operations analyst Frank Snepp touched off a firestorm of controversy in 1977 with the publication of Decent Interval, his unauthorized, embarrassing account of how the spy agency deserted its files and friends in a hasty exit from Vietnam.
Even though Snepp concealed the true names of CIA undercover operatives and their Vietnamese assets, and most experts agreed the book had no real classified information, Democratic President Jimmy Carter’s Justice Department, abetted by a furious CIA, pursued Snepp with a vengeance worthy of a covert action operation.
In the end, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the administration’s argument that Snepp’s violation of his employment agreement (not to publish anything without the CIA’s approval) trumped his First Amendment rights.