Soldier, Journalist, Spy: Pham Xuan An 1927-2006

Soldier, Journalist, Spy: Pham Xuan An 1927-2006

With the obituaries written the analysis can start. The perfect spy and self-effacing journalist Pham Xuan An stood among the most controversial media figures of the 20th century for his dual roles played out during the tumultuous years of the Vietnam War.

An was a highly decorated journalist for some of the most prominent American news magazines. But in secret, he was also a senior officer and espionage agent for the Vietnamese Communists and his undercover work was vital to their war strategy.

He died Sept. 20 after a long battle with emphysema in the former Saigon at the age of 79. A hopeless chain smoker, Lucky Strike when possible, An adopted the habit as a young man by emulating his earliest hero, Ho Chi Minh.

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