#TetDeclassified Series
Tet Declassified

The Tet Declassified Series is a new transparency effort to share historical information of current relevance.


The IC Perspective

The Tet Offensive comprised a series of attacks carried out over several weeks by North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces across South Vietnam, beginning shortly after midnight on January 30, 1968. The Vietnamese were celebrating the Lunar New Year, or Tet holiday, at that time, from which the offensive gets its name. Military forces from the U.S., South Vietnam, and their allies repelled the attacks but at a high cost. Tens of thousands were killed and wounded on both sides. The Tet Offensive became a turning point in the war, as the American people realized the war was far from over and withdrew their support.

North Vietnamese & Viet Cong

70,000 - 80,000

  • Targets
  • 100+
    Towns & Cities
  • 33 of 34
    Provical Capitals
  • 5 of 6
    Autonomous Cities
  • Saigon
    Southern Capital
  • Military
    & Installations
  • U.S. Embassy
  • Primary Attacks
Jan 30 to end of Feb 1968
Additional phases in May and August 1968
The Tet Offensive was a military victory for U.S. and South Vietnamese forces, who pushed the attackers out of all of the cities and inflicted between 30,000-50,000 casualties on the enemy. However, Tet was a strategic political defeat for the United States, when the American public realized that the enemy was capable of mounting such an offensive and that U.S. was far from winning the war.”

— IC Senior Historians Panel

Historical Declassification

The Tet Offensive, like almost all events in U.S. foreign affairs history, had a complex intelligence angle. To properly and fully understand intelligence supplied to political leaders and military commanders—including how, when and why leaders made decisions—students, authors of popular history, and professors alike must turn to declassified primary source intelligence records. The history of political and military decisions in 20th and 21st century events is incomplete without examining intelligence input to the policymaking process.

In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Tet Offensive, intelligence agencies are reviewing their holdings to identify Tet-related documents for declassification and release. This is part of a broader IC effort to enhance public understanding of IC activities. The declassified documents will be released over a period of 15 months, in three installments, beginning in July 2018. Subsequent releases will take place in January and April 2019.