CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

Laos

M - Se

Magagnini, Stephen. "An Inside Look at a CIA Secret War." Capitol Hill Blue, 31 Aug. 2000. [http://capitolhillblue.com]

Tony Poe talks (minimally) about the war in Laos. See also, Dick Gay, "Tony This and Tony That," CIRA Newsletter 28, no. 2 (Summer 2003): 30-35.

McCann, Frederic. "Learning Quickly on the Job: Gathering Intelligence in Laos in 1968." Studies in Intelligence 49, no. 1 (2005), 27-31.

Personal memories: "In 1968, I was sent from Tokyo to Laos to interview refugees and ralliers from the communist Pathet Lao guerrillas who had fled to the protection of royalist Gen. Vang Pao's army of Meo hill tribe 'irregulars.'"

Morello, Carol. "Undercover Warrior Finally Honored." Washington Post, 26 Jun. 2003, B1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

The remains of Charles G. Herrick were buried at Arlington National Cemetery on 25 June 2003. Herrick was shot down over Laos in 1963, while flying for Air America. "The return of the remains of Herrick and [Joseph] Cheney [pilot of the Air America plane on which Herrick was co-pilot] is the latest success story in a U.S. government effort to locate the remains of 1,874 Americans missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War era."

Morrison, Gayle L. Hog's Exit: Jerry Daniels, the Hmong, and the CIA. Lubbock, TX: Texas Tech University Press, 2013.

Peake, Studies 58.1 (Mar. 2014), finds that the author's style "detracts from this extraordinary tribute to a gallant officer. While she considers her interviews primary source material, most are not dated or adequately identified, and she doesn't provide any connecting, contextual detail between interviews. Nor is there any transitional material from chapter to chapter. Each one discusses some aspect of Daniels's life and death, but there is no apparent reason why any chapter appears when it does. The result is an oral mosaic that leaves the reader trying to make sense of disjointed, sometimes imprecise data on an unfamiliar subject."

Morrison, Gayle L. Sky Is Falling: An Oral History of the CIA's Evacuation of the Hmong from Laos. Jefferson NC: McFarland, 2007. [pb]

Murfett, Malcolm H., ed. Cold War Southeast Asia. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2012.

Castle, Studies 58.3 (Sep. 2014), comments that readers "in the hunt for the lessons of history will find this collection of 12 wide-ranging Cold War-related essays most rewarding.... [T]he authors bring forth new information and thoughtfully crafted insights on the Cold War's impact on the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the establishment of Singapore.... [T]he volume includes an in-depth recounting of the origins of Thai-U.S. involvement in the Laotian 'secret war.'"

Nalty, Bernard C. The War against Trucks: Aerial Interdiction in Southern Laos, 1968-1972. Washington, DC: Air Force History and Museums Program, United States Air Force, n.d. [http://www.spectre-association.org/pdfs/WarAgainstTrucks.pdf]

From "Preface": "This history recounts an ambitious attempt by the Air Force to interdict traffic on the Ho Chi Minh Trail of southern Laos, as part of a plan to support the war in South Vietnam by impeding the flow of North Vietnamese troops and military supplies into South Vietnam.... Although aircraft of the other services participated in this extended campaign of aerial interdiction, the Air Force assumed the greatest responsibility for both equipment and execution."

Osornprasop, Sutayut. "Amidst the Heat of the Cold War in Asia: Thailand and the American Secret War in Indochina (1960-74)." Cold War History 7, no. 3 (Aug. 2007): 349-371.

From abstract: This article presents "new findings on covert Thai intervention in Laos, in association with the United States, during the Vietnam War." It is "[b]ased on the new release of declassified US official documents and recent interviews with former diplomatic, intelligence and military officers from Laos, Thailand and the United States who were directly involved in the conflicts."

Parker, James E., Jr. Codename Mule: Fighting the Secret War in Laos for the CIA. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1995. Covert Ops: The CIA's Secret War In Laos. New York: St. Martin's, 1997. [pb]

Chambers calls this a "very straight and narrowly focused telling of Parker's role in the later stages of the Laotian campaign." Bates, NIPQ 12.2, finds that the "Foreword" by William A. Leary, a history professor at the University of Georgia, is "an excellent history of Laos from the mid 1950s to the date Parker arrived.... Parker's story is written in an entertaining first person format and reads like a novel." On the other hand, Reske, NIPQ 12.3, learned little from Parker's book: "It was mostly a series of episodic 'I was there, I did that, I saw that' war stories that never quite connect."

For Warren, Surveillant 4.4/5, Parker "provides insights into the Agency's extensive covert operations in Laos and the men who conducted them." Bode, WIR 15.5, says that Parker "tells his story simply, with minimal commentary, and allows the reader to reach his own conclusions." Although the author's experiences cover only a "relatively narrow period" (from late 1971 to early 1975), he is "a keen observer" and "a fine story-teller." See also the review by Col. Donald F. Lunday at http://www.thehistorynet.com/ reviews.

Petchell, Robert A. [pseud.] "Cash on Delivery: How to Obtain North Vietnamese Soldiers for Intelligence in Laos." Studies in Intelligence 17, no. 3 (Fall 1973): 1-7.

The author discusses the "Cash on Delivery" program in Laos from November 1970 through January 1972. The program used irregular guerrilla intelligence collection teams, called Paramilitary Team Operations, a program similar to the Hmong irregular battalions of Vang Pao. Selected guerrilla teams were told that for each North Vietnamese defector or abductee they would share $1,000 for an NVA officer, $400 for an NCO, and $200 for a private.

[Prados, John.] Fighting the War in Southeast Asia, 1961-1973. National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 248. [http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB248/index.htm]

"Previously secret U.S. Air Force official histories of the Vietnam war published [on 9 April 2008] by the National Security Archive ... include the Air Force's detailed official history of the war in northern Laos.... Also declassified were Air Force historical studies on specific years of the Vietnam War, documenting in great detail the Air Force's role in planning and implementing the air war in North and South Vietnam. Among other significant disclosures in these histories are:

"* Air Force interest in nuclear options during at least two flash points in the Southeast Asian conflict: Laos in 1959 and in 1968 during the battle of Khe Sanh.

"* CIA operational commitments for the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion hampered the Agency's ability to carry out Kennedy administration policy in Laos.

"* CIA proprietary Air America directed search and rescue missions in Laos in addition to its role in combat operations.

"* The U.S. ambassador in Laos served as the field commander of the so-called 'secret war' there, a role that has been largely undocumented."

Robbins, Christopher.

1. Air America: The Story of the CIA's Secret Airlines. New York: Putnam's, 1979. The Invisible Air Force: The Story of the CIA's Secret Airline. London: Macmillan, 1979. New York: Corgi, 1979. [pb] New York: Avon Books, 1985. [pb]

NameBase pontificates that "Air America ... is known for ferrying opium to market in exchange for Meo support of the CIA's military strategy in Laos. Robbins has one chapter on the opium question, but concentrates more on material he collected from 'personal interviews with pilots, copilots, kickers, ground personnel, administrative workers, CIA men, journalists, and people on the fringe of the strange world of the Agency's air proprietaries.'"

For Constantinides, the book contains "errors, both large and small," including the author's insistence that CIA operations in Laos were hidden from Congress. In addition, the writing style is more appropriate "for a series in an adventure magazine."

2. The Ravens: The Men Who Flew in America's Secret War in Laos. New York: Crown, 1987.

Tovar, IJI&C 8.3, calls the book "an interesting anecdotal account of the operations of the Ravens." Kross, IJI&C 3.2, says that Robbins "weaves an intricate and detailed picture of the main players in America's covert Laotian operation [and] of the political struggle in both Washington and Vientiene."

Richard Helms, IJI&C 3.4, challenges Kross' review: "There are some points in the Kross review ... which seem at odds with the book itself and with history as I knew it.... In the field the ambassador was the boss.... The CIA Station['s] ... latitude was exercised within established policy at the ambassador's daily discretion.... [T]he Ravens ... were administered by the Air Attaché.... CIA did not fight in Laos. The Lao did the fighting."

Rust, William J. Before the Quagmire: American Intervention in Laos, 1954-1961. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2012.

Freedman, FA 91.5 (Sep.-Oct. 2012), notes that this "first-rate account focuses mainly on policymakers." Rust details how "the Americans tried to cope with a country whose politics they did not fully understand, at one point simultaneously supporting the Laotian government and a general plotting a coup against it." For Ruth, Proceedings 139.3 (Mar. 2013), the author provides a "careful examination of this sometimes bewildering conflict." This is a "compelling study of the people who implement abstract geopolitical strategy policy on the ground."

Scott, Peter Dale. Air America: Flying the U.S. into Laos. Boston: 1970.

Secord, Richard V. [MAJGEN/USA (Ret.)] "Tragedy Strikes Laos Site 85." Air Commando Journal 1, no. 3 (Spring 2012): 9-11. [http://www.aircommando.org]

The author was Chief of the CIA Tactical Air Division at the time of Lima Site 85 debacle in March 1968. See also Timothy N. Castle, One Day Too Long: Top Secret Site 85 and the Bombing of North Vietnam (New York: Columbia University Press, 19990; and James C. Linder, "The War in Laos: The Fall of Lima Site 85," Studies in Intelligence 38, no. 5 (1995): 79-88.

Secord, Richard V., and Jay Wurts. Honored and Betrayed: Irangate, Covert Affairs, and the Secret War in Laos. New York: John Wiley, 1992.

From publisher: "The inside account of Irangate by the man who coordinated and operated the Iran Initiative.... Delineates his dealings with Oliver North, William Casey, Admiral Poindexter, and others. Reveals new information on what President Reagan's and then Vice President Bush's roles were. A point-blank response to Secord's accusers and the administration that hung him out to dry." Armstrong, WPNWE, 19-25 Oct. 1992, believes that Secord's version of Iran-Contra adds "little that is new" and "is marred by myriad mistakes of fact.... [I]t is difficult to take seriously Secord's protestations that he is blameless and upright."

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