The Chatter Podcast: CIA Paramilitary Ops in Reality and Fiction with Ric Prado

By David Priess
Thursday, September 15, 2022, 9:15 AM

Of all of the Central Intelligence Agency's activities, paramilitary operations might remain the least understood. This, in part, is both a cause and a consequence of inaccurate portrayals of such work in prominent movies; it's also because fewer memoirs come from the CIA's Special Activities Division than from traditional human intelligence collectors and from analysts.

David Priess chatted with former CIA officer Ric Prado about the fiction and the reality of CIA paramilitary operations, including stories Ric tells in his book Black Ops: The Life of a CIA Shadow Warrior. They spoke about what Hollywood gets wrong about intelligence work, Ric's escape as a child from Castro's Cuba, his path to a CIA career, differences between paramilitary operations and intelligence collection, his years of work with the Contras in Central America, the Counterterrorist Center (CTC) at CIA before and on 9/11, the work ethic in CTC after 9/11, why his book has substantial chunks of redacted text, and who he thinks played the best James Bond.

Chatter is a production of Lawfare and Goat Rodeo. This episode was produced and edited by Cara Shillenn of Goat Rodeo. Podcast theme by David Priess, featuring music created using Groovepad. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Among the works mentioned in this episode:

The book Black Ops: The Life of a CIA Shadow Warrior by Ric Prado

The film Argo

The film Three Days of the Condor

The Jason Bourne films

The film True Lies

The Mission Impossible films

The James Bond films