Written by Doug Laux and Ralph Pezzullo, Left Of Boom is a book I’ve been waiting to come out ever since I saw it mentioned in an article on SOFREP. It discussed Ground Branch, the CIA’s lean, direct-action response force composed of Tier 1 military units. I counted down the days until it was released and immediately purchased it on the Kindle on a Friday. By Sunday, I had finished the book.
Getting into the CIA
This book is a partially redacted account of Doug Laux’s journey into the ‘Agency’. His life starts as most post 9/11 service members; where witnessing the destruction of The World Trade Center towers changed the direction of our careers.
He quickly changed majors to political science and graduated. The interview process was drawn out, ambiguous and not what he expected. Composed of odd phone calls from an application placed online to the CIA’s recruitment program, he eventually was hired and working a desk job in McLean, VA. Even upon joining the CIA, his accounts of learning James Bond-esque techniques and going to the “Farm” (training headquarters for field officers) were not fulfilled immediately.
Left Of Boom Synopsis
Left of Boom follows his deployments into Afghanistan where he was posted at secret FOBs (Forward Operating Bases) near the Pakistan border with other CIA assets such as the CTPTs (counter terrorist pursuit teams) and Ground Branch, the CIAs direct-action response force as well as former SEALs that assisted him in the field.
Doug Laux’s job was to gather intel and formulate strategies to defeat Al-Qaeda cells and the Taliban. His field work is wonderfully described (as much as it can be) to the point where I thought I was back in Afghanistan at some of the FOBs near Gardez and Khowst.
This is one of the best first hand accounts written of the other side of the war in Afghanistan. This is a side many of us never get to see. It’s the “Left of Boom” part of strategy. The term “Left of Boom” refers to the events leading up to an IED blast. “Right of Boom” would describe the actions taken after an explosion.
No doubt, the title of the book alludes to the planning, operational forces, and asset leverage that’s used to prevent an attack from happening. Something the CIA is known for; even more so now.
Grab a copy of Left Of Boom on Amazon or at your local book seller. You won’t regret it.