Cash on Delivery: CIA Special Operations During the Secret War in Laos

In unprecedented detail rarely seen in books about the CIA, experience an on-the-scene account of the CIA's secret war in southern Laos by a case officer who personally planned, organized and ran covert operations in-country, from remote secret bases.

Stand side by side with the author, a retired CIA case-officer, as he brings his extensive 32-year experience with CIA, DEA and the U.S. Army to bear while reviewing and critically analyzing the details of his covert mission to disrupt the infamous Ho Chi Minh trail in Laos during one of the most critical periods of the Vietnam war.

Experience firsthand his 'lessons learned’ during his teams’ captures of enemy soldiers behind the lines for 'cash on delivery'; turning enemy prisoners to the U.S. cause to spy on their comrades; discovering enemy intentions; and intercepting enemy communications.

Feel the 'whump' as he uses the intelligence gained by his elite tribal roadwatch teams, to call in air strikes on hidden North Vietnamese ammo dumps and tank parks.

Experience his anxiety as the author rides along in an Air America helicopter to help rescue a downed U.S. Air Force pilot being stalked by the enemy.

Feel the shock as he survives being 'fragged' in an assassination attempt by a disgruntled team soldier.

Finally, discover how the CIA's successes and failures in that long-forgotten and almost unknown war may surprisingly still have 'lessons to learn' for today’s leaders to apply in current and future anti-terrorist operations.


The author, Thomas Leo Briggs, was born in Staten Island, New York in 1942. The grandson of Italian and Greek immigrants, he graduated from the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware in 1964 with a B.A. degree in history and an R.O.T.C. commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

After one year of law school, Mr. Briggs entered on active duty in 1965 and served for three years as a military police officer volunteering for Vietnam where he served with the 504th Military Police Battalion as a platoon leader. He left active duty with the rank of captain, an Army Commendation Medal and a Bronze Star.

After the Army, he spent three years as a DEA special agent and 26 years as a CIA case officer, retiring from federal service as a GS-15.

During his 26 years with the Central Intelligence Agency Mr. Briggs had assignments in East Asia, Latin America and Europe and was awarded the CIA’s Certificate of Merit and Certificate of Exceptional Service. He finished his CIA career as a manager of computer software development.

After his retirement from government service he worked as an independent consultant, both overseas and domestically, on terrorist targeting, technical operations and computer forensics.

Read more about “Cash on Delivery” by clicking on Excerpts in the panel on the left side of this page.