What it's really like to be a CIA spy

By Olivia Lambert, news.com.au

Doug Laux was living a double life.

Nobody really knew who he was, not his mates, his girlfriends or even his own mother.

He would receive secret text messages he would need to quickly delete, and had a file of excuses he could use when he urgently had to ditch his plans.

This is the secret world of a CIA spy and Laux has finally revealed the truth about what was really going on in his life.

He has written a book, Left of Boom, and tells of his deployment to Afghanistan to eliminate the most deadly improvised explosive device network in the world, as well as people and resources essential to carrying out al-Qaeda and Taliban attacks.

The beginning

Laux had a modest childhood - his dad was a Vietnam veteran who rarely spoke and he lived in a rural town in eastern Indiana.

"According to the 2014 census, 98.1 per cent of the population was caucasian and only 9.5 per cent of residents over 25 graduated from high school," he wrote in his book.

"So the odds of a kid from there becoming a CIA officer and deploying overseas were roughly the same as the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series."

Laux was just a freshman at college with dreams of becoming a doctor, when the September 11 tragedy shook the US, one of the most shocking terrorist attacks in history.

That became a turning point in Laux's life and it all changed when he signed up for a CIA information session.

"All I knew about the CIA was what I had learned from Jason Bourne films," Laux wrote in his book.

He later applied online for a job and got a mystery message from a woman named Mary.

She was so cryptic, Laux thought she had the wrong number, but then he realised she was offering him a job with the CIA in Washington DC.

Jason Bourne plays a rogue CIA agent. Photo: Jasin Boland/Universal Pictures via AP
Jason Bourne plays a rogue CIA agent. Photo: Jasin Boland/Universal Pictures via AP

How he kept it a secret

Laux said it was most difficult to hide his double life from his girlfriends.

They were suspicious and he said in a Reddit AMA they always thought he was cheating on them, in the mafia or selling drugs.

"But I just had to suck it up and deal with it," he said.

"I talk about in my book how my girlfriend once found my agency badge in my sock draw and how I had to talk my way out of that disaster.

"The only person I told for the past ten years was my brother."

He told his parents he worked in sales and when he was deployed to Afghanistan, he said he was moving to Hawaii.

"They live in the midwest and I knew it was the furthest state away and the chances of them visiting me were slim to none," he said.

"Turns out, they did want to come and visit a few times and I just had to dodge it and tell them I was busy or couldn't do it during the time frame they proposed."

Laux's parents didn't find out until his book was released just a few weeks ago.

"They were pretty shocked," he said.

"But they are all good now.

"It's been a gigantic weight off my chest that I have been carrying around for the past ten years."

Laux said he loved every minute of his job but with it came a lot of stress.

"Every new person I met was one more person I had to keep my secret from and weave another lie with," he said.

"That web got pretty complex after a while, to the point where I no longer wanted to meet new people.

"It came with the job, you have to accept it and deal with it."

Laux said he was under oath and couldn't reveal the truth to anyone.

Operation Neptune Spear

Laux was in Afghanistan for the 2010 Afghan surge and was in Kandahar in Afghanistan during Operation Neptune Spear, which resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Laux can't reveal too much about his specific operations in the CIA but he tapped into al-Qaeda and the Taliban to collect human intelligence.

His language skills helped him enter into the Taliban to spy and even his colleagues say that he helped save American lives.

Doug Laux helped take down Osama bin Laden. Photo: AP
Doug Laux helped take down Osama bin Laden. Photo: AP

When he was in Afghanistan, he grew his beard so he could blend into the crowd and attend local tribal councils. He would wear armour under long robes for protection.

Laux was never off the clock when he was in the CIA and he constantly needed to check over his shoulder.

"Well I was a war zone case officer so you can imagine that it is already dangerous by proxy of being in a war zone," Laux said.

"Then you add in the idea that you are CIA and that puts a tremendous target on your back."

Being in the CIA took a huge toll on Laux, he fell into a downward spiral, relying on drugs and alcohol to relieve the stress he suffered when he was in the war zones between 2010 and 2012.

He's not working currently and has no career plans.

"There is no network for guys who are 'quitters' like me," he said.

"[I] wish there were, but there's not. I'm on my own. But you know what, that just inspires me and will be my next challenge."

- news.com.au

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