Author Q&A: Joshua Kurlantzick, "A Great Place to Have a War"

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When President Dwight Eisenhower left office, he told his successor, John F. Kennedy, that Laos was one of the United States’ most important foreign policy issues. As America tried to contain the spread of communism, Laos became the battlefield for the Operation Momentum, the CIA’s largest covert operation. The Cipher Brief spoke to Josh Kurlantzick about his new book that chronicles this fascinating episode in the CIA’s history and the lessons for today’s policymakers.

The Cipher Brief: Your book tells the story of Operation Momentum, the CIA’s plan to train Hmong in Laos to fight against the communists in Laos and Vietnam. Can you say a little bit about why this is an important story to understanding the CIA today?

The Cipher Brief has become the most popular outlet for former intelligence officers; no media outlet is even a close second to The Cipher Brief in terms of the number of articles published by formers.” —Sept. 2018, Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 62

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