Title: Cash on Delivery: CIA Special Operations During the Secret War in Laos
Author: Thomas Leo Briggs
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Reviewer: Bill McDonald
ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0984105948
Cash on Delivery: CIA Special Operations During the Secret War in Laos is a detailed accounting of a CIA program directed by a CIA operations officer that sent small teams of irregulars behind enemy lines in Laos to find, fix and destroy North Vietnamese Army units, capture NVA soldiers or encourage them to defect, intercept NVA radio communications, and recruit NVA soldiers to spy and report on their comrades.
It is a unique contribution to the history of the Vietnam War describing valuable experiences using surrogates to conduct intelligence and combat operations that have little or no adverse impact on the United States government's relations with the peoples and governments of other nations. An important lesson in the post 9/11 world of countering terrorism all over the globe where we do not have enough American troops to get the job done without political consequences.
The book also describes the daring and dangerous rescue of Raven 42, a U.S. Air Force forward air controller shot down while supporting Lao irregular surrogate forces fighting NVA main force units in Laos, attempts to infiltrate Cambodia to collect intelligence on the North Vietnamese in early 1970, the effort to uncover information about a missing Air America crewman captured in 1963, the tragic fatal crash of an aircraft carrying four of the author's best Thai operational assistants, and the uncovering of a mole hidden in a Royal Lao government military headquarters.
Here are intimate details that have never before appeared in print, recounting the planning and execution of a variety of special operations, conceived and carried out behind enemy lines by the CIA using only Lao irregular surrogates.
The CIA employed surrogates in southern Laos to force the North Vietnamese Army to keep combat units there to defend their logistical supply line rather than send them to fight U.S. and allied forces in South Vietnam. For the duration of U.S. participation in the Vietnam War the CIA succeeded in that goal.