“Our family business — espionage”: what it’s like to be the son of a covert CIA agent
Peter lang-Stanton decided to make the broadcast to talk about the role his father played in one of the largest secret missions in American history. However, he could not imagine how painful to him the investigation will be informed of their loved one, which is still surrounded by mystery.
That summer, when I went to University, my father and I went for a drive on our old Volvo — just the two of us, something we have never done before. We buckled up and only dust from under the wheels.
“Peter, it’s time to tell you about our family business, said his father, stopped at a red and tapping impatiently on the steering wheel. The traffic light changed and we turned onto the main road. — Espionage”.
My father knew how to joke with a completely serious expression, but I decided that if it was a joke, something contrived and unfunny.
But as we were driving, and the window kept flickering typical suburban stores and telephone poles, he told me that almost 40 years working as a secret CIA agent.
When this was not followed no laughter, and silence can be felt with the hands, I realized he was not joking.
— Does your mother know? — I asked.
And my mom works there, ‘ said the father.
I thought my parents just pushing papers in the state Department, and to be honest, in fact I didn’t know what they’re doing. In his youth, everything that makes your parents seem absolutely normal until then, until you grow up and realize that it is not.
In the 1960-ies, while American soldiers packs fell out of “Hercules” in Vietnam, the CIA began a secret war in Laos. It was the height of the cold war, and the administration sent my father with a group of officers to arm and train the Hmong — Lao ethnic group from the mountainous regions to fight local Communists and Vietnamese from the Northern regions.
It is difficult to determine, strengthened the CIA Hmong rights therefore, or simply hired them. In hindsight, both parties believe that their collaboration was for the benefit of others.
However, many in the CIA understood that this resistance is doomed to failure: Hmong were like horseflies that tried to kill a Buffalo. After the war ended in Vietnam, the CIA abruptly left Laos, forcing thousands, perhaps even tens of thousands of Hmong to flee.
It was the first mission of my father to the CIA.
My father died a few years after our conversation in the car. Shortly before his death he turned to me, sitting by his hospital bed and said, “I’m proud of what we did in Laos, more than anything else — besides you, boys.”
After his death I read all the books that have just managed to find about the secret war of the CIA in Laos. I did what we often do when we lose loved ones. I was looking for the slightest evidence of it anywhere, just to numb the pain of loss.
However, many books spoke about the actions of the CIA in Laos with contempt, even against the background that existed at the time of the Communist threat. They criticized management for the way it turned the work in the country, forcing the Hmong to flee to Thailand. Were there other charges — drug charges, carpet bombing and even the use of children of the Hmong as soldiers for his secret army.
Some historians call that a scar on the reputation of management and the United States as a whole. The more I read, the less I understood why it was the biggest pride of my father.
When I started to work on the radio program on the activities of the USA in Laos, I sent e-mails to some friends of my father from work. I remember them from childhood. They often came to our house on Sundays and drank whiskey. But now people of this generation was already over 80, and many do not become. If I wanted to get the story first hand about what happened in Laos, then you have to do it now.