Tue
Apr 5 2016 1:00pm

Q&A with Doug Laux, Former CIA Case Officer and Author of Left of Boom

Read this exclusive Q&A with Doug Laux, author of Left of Boom, and then make sure you're signed in and comment for a chance to win a copy of this harrowing tale of how a CIA case officer penetrated the Taliban and Al-Qaeda!

CE: What made you want to go into this line of work initially? What, then, made you want to write this book?

Doug: The most honest answer is because I didn't think it was actually a possibility—at least for a guy like me. I thought it was for Ivy League graduates only, and to a degree, there’s a lot of that, but I never in my wildest dreams thought they would take a guy like me. But once the process started, the snowball just kept building and it all became a reality, and one day I found myself sitting in Langley thinking, “What the hell just happened?”

The decision to write the book is almost the same answer in that I never thought it would happen either. My thought was, like anything in life, can’t hurt to try.

CE: What was the hardest part about being in the CIA and not being able to reveal your identity to your friends and family?

Doug: The hardest part is maintaining the web of lies you have weaved. Sometimes, you have to tell one person one thing and another person something contradictory to protect your cover. Once that has happened, you then have to try to prevent those two lines from crossing as best you can, which ultimately means trying to prevent those two individuals from crossing paths. It is a massive undertaking if you decide to live a robust social life like I did. I suppose if you take the hermitic path it would be a lot easier, but as you will see in the book, that’s definitely not my personality.

CE: What movies portray the inner-workings of the CIA most accurately? Which ones have gotten it completely wrong?

Doug: Zero Dark Thirty is your best bet and most accurate portrayal. Pretty much everything else is blown out of proportion and unrealistic, but hey, that sells tickets and makes it more entertaining. I would be lying if I said I haven't seen every Bond and Bourne movie to date. I love those movies, but they are absolutely nothing like reality. And that’s ok, but I am not quite sure that most folks understand that. I know I didn't when I first joined. Syriana is also pretty good, considering it is based on the life of Bob Baer, who was a legendary case officer in the 90s.

CE: What would you like readers to take away from your book?

Doug: If they take away one thing, I would hope it would be that we are all human and we all make mistakes—yes, even spies and high-speed operators. People often forget that the Agency is still, thankfully, staffed by human beings, and they are really no different than anyone else. They still get sick sometimes, have a bad day, forget something important, or have to attend a parent teacher conference in the evening. This is why I didn't pull any punches in discussing my mistakes and my flaws throughout the book, because I wanted the reader to understand that the Agency is not full of flawless, martini-drinking, chiseled dudes in tuxedos. Though wouldn't that be cool?

CE: What are you currently binging on Netflix?

Doug: Oh man, I have been in the field so long that I still don't own a Netflix account or have cable. Netflix is banned or doesn't work in most of the countries I was living in, so it never made sense to have an account. I also just learned what the term “binge watching” means, as well as the phrase “Netflix and chill.” I plan to do both now that I have more free time.

CE: What was the last book you read?

Doug: Well, I most recently tried reading Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff because the President said it was his favorite book. I found myself skipping ahead, and then just skipping it entirely, after a couple days. I guess I’m not clever enough to understand the prose. Strange though, because my favorite book is The End of the Affair by Graham Greene, and I really enjoy dramatic novels. Thirty-Nine Years of Short-Term Memory Loss by Tom Davis is currently sitting on my counter, and will be the next thing I begin.

CE: What’s next for you?

Doug: The plan is to spend more time with my friends and family, now that I am no longer living overseas. It has been a welcome change to be honest and open with them about my life and not be on edge trying to protect my lies the entire time. That was exhausting. Now, I think I’ll just relax and maybe go cut some wood with my dad back in Ohio.

 

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Comment below for a chance to win a copy of Left of Boom by Doug Laux!

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Left of Boom Comment Sweepstakes: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.  A purchase does not improve your chances of winning.  Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry.  To enter, complete the “Post a Comment” entry at https://www.criminalelement.com/blogs/2016/04/qaa-with-doug-laux-former-cia-case-officer-and-author-of-left-of-boom beginning at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) April 5, 2016. Sweepstakes ends 12:59 p.m. ET April 12, 2016. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.


Douglas Laux is a former CIA operations officer who served multiple tours throughout the Middle East. He was in Afghanistan for the 2010 Afghan Surge, and in Kandahar during Operation Neptune Spear, which resulted in the death of Usama bin Ladin. His final assignment was with the top secret task force involved with instigating the Syrian civil war. He lives in Washington, DC.

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77 comments
Phoenix Vie
1. Phoenix
Thanks for the interesting interview.
2. Elaine Ebbing
God Bless all your efforts, Doug! Can't wait to read your book and hope to see you soon!
Eileen Krueger
5. Dana123
The author being a former CIA would definitely help with the research of this book. Sounds great!
Clydia DeFreese
6. clydia
Your review makes me want to read this book. Thanks for the SS.
susan beamon
7. susanbeamon
Spy books have never been a favorite of mine. The fiction ones seem to be much too filled with coindicences and casts of thousands on somebodies payroll. The real life ones mostly have been how we chased this bad guy and why he became a spy (mostly money). This may be different, so it may be worth the 50 pages to find out.
Laurence Coven
9. Holmes
It seems to me to be an unattractive choice for a profession--not that much money and seldom altruistic.
Deanna Stillings
10. reader123
Do people really think that James Bond is real???
12. Nancy McCaig
I want to read what Doug is reading. In the meantime, I'd like to read what Doug has written. Thanks for the chance to win.
Todd Henson
14. thedelfrog
Sounds very interesting. Thanks for the Q&A and the sweepstakes.
Michael Carter
16. rubydog
This looks good!
Please enter me in this sweepstakes.
Thanks ---
Pam Gibson
17. Jessara
This sounds like it will complement my own experience. As a DoD civilian working overseas, all the locals were convinced we were in intelligence. So were our families and friends back in the States. Explaining that we were just regular admin and staff people never convinced anybody, but it was true, if boring. I blame fiction writers. This book sounds like fun.
Nissa Evans
19. nevans72
I love books like this. I would like to read.
Cheryl English
22. RoyalCheryl
This book sounds amazing. Please enter me!
Susan Pertierra
23. orchidlady01
The book sounds like an interesting read with hands-on experience behind it.
kent w. smith
26. bodacious
Fascinating! I know I would enjoy this book.
27. Sallyw
I would like to read this book since it is based on one person's true experiences.
Barbara Lima
31. barblima
How can you remember the lies you've told everyone?
Sandy Klocinski
32. attea2d
Great interview! I would love to read the book! I love real life spy stories
vicki wurgler
34. bison61
infiltrate the taliban and the Al-Qaeda the book sounds exciting
Kayce Crews
40. yadgirl
He sounds like an interesting person with a good background to write a book. I'd love to read it!
42. Chuck Heinrich
Book sounds great. Only wish 95% of the redacted areas would go away.
Carolyn Dileo
43. cbdileo
Wow, what an interesting sounding book! Thanks for the opportunity!
Chi Shannon
45. anastasiafall
Scary and intriguing! I'd love to see how this turns out :)
Susan Smoaks
46. susansmoaks
yes please sign me up, i would love to win
Alan Lennard
47. alan808
Doug Laux's path in to the human intellegence world and his training into tradecraft (including the cover stories etc) is a sociological model that is fairly common in the last 20 years. the field work does have a significant amount of attrition because of the continuous social deception.

intriguing is the fact how lenient the current agency publication vetting was in relationship to the current administration's treatment has been to other ex-agency operatives who was imprisoned for minor whistleblowing issues (fbi entrapment].

I am curious if Mr. Laux has encountered any recent scrutiny regarding his interviews ?
Jaime Cummings
53. remembering.lucy
What an interesting interview. I would love to read this book.
Sharon Kaminski
54. casaflamingos
The review is great. I want to read the book!
Janice Santillo
55. themommazie
Sounds like an interesting read. Would love to read it.
Linda Peters
59. linnett
great review and would love to win this, thanks
Tammy Z Evans
60. tzevans
Sounds really interesting, I would love to read it.
Blythe Jackson
61. starbreeze
I think that your book will be interesting due to the hands-on experience that you have in the field. I liked the interview!
Janet Gould
67. jgould
This book looks great. I can't wait to read it.
Alyson Widen
68. Sunnymay
Having 5 kids, I know about lies and after awhile they get caught up in a stretch of the truth and can't reason their way out of it. I guess in the CIA you learn how to lie to keep your cover and keep your assets out of trouble. Thanks for the Q & A, I always learn a lot about authors this way.
L Peters
70. leepcat
sounds very intersting - thanks for posting the interview.
M Reck
71. Mavrick
Thanks for posting the Left of Boom: New Excerpt & the interview.
72. Nissa
I want to win a copy but cant find were to sign in at.
Laurence Coven
73. Holmes
Well, Terrorism has been a boom to suspense writers--always a silver lining I guess.
74. willie wilkens
Just started your book. I'm at the point of when your dick just about fell off. Looking forward to the rest of the book.
75. Matt M
Hi to everyone that participated in the giveaway. If you didn't receive the book and would like a copy, please send me a direct message. I'll be sending out up to 50 copies for free as a favor to a friend. These will be purchased on Amazon and come with two day shipping. Respect to Mr. Laux, thank you for your service.
76. Tom D
I read the book twice it was so interesting that I could not put down.
Very remarkable young man if only the rest of the human race could react like Doug did we would have a much better society .
The balls you have are what the rest need
God Bless You Doug Laux
77. Tom D
After some of the post I read is why America is failing it is called Negativity, which I do not allow in my profession , which is in Construction all the foremans we talk in the AM they know not to bring in negativity so would everyone stop that and be positive things only get better then.
Thanks
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