PSYOPS: CIA Litters Laos with Counterfeit Currency during the Secret War

PSYOPS: CIA Litters Laos with Counterfeit Currency during the Secret War

Above Photo: The front (top) and back (bottom) of a CIA counterfeited Pathet Lao (Laotian Communist) 200 Kip bank note. This was dropped during a night mission over Sam Neua. (© Terry Wofford, uwdc.library.wisc.edu)

All CIA/Secret War stories are of relevance to my Vietnam War/Backpacker crossover novel, BACK, so I was interested to hear of another CIA covert operation in Laos during the “Secret War.” This was the attempt to destabilise the communist pro North Vietnamese Pathet Lao economy by dropping millions of dollars worth of counterfeit currency over their territory.

The above photographs were taken in 1969 by Terry Wofford, whose husband, Robert, was an Air America pilot who flew many leaflet drops in Laos in Air America planes for the CIA.

During these operations, millions of dollars worth of fake currency would be dumped out of the back of the aircraft in big bags which had timing devices attached to them. The bags would then be blown open in mid-air, allowing maximum scatter for the counterfeit money.

Passengers and the Air Freight Specialist (wearing a headset by the open tailgate) gaze at the Mekong River far below an Air America DHC-4 Caribou en route from Sayaboury to Vientiane.

A Caribou in the air – Passengers and an Air Freight Specialist known as a “Kicker”  gaze at the Mekong River far below an Air America Caribou en route from Sayaboury to Vientiane. (© Terry Wofford, uwdc.library.wisc.edu)

Terry Wofford said about the currency-drop missions flown by Robert Wofford:

“These were night missions, flown low over over jagged and hazardous terrain in slow, unarmed aircraft with no navigational aids or radio contact beyond compass, map and the ability to recognise rivers and natural outcroppings in the dark. The pilots were frequently shot at and later in the war they also had to deal with SAM missiles.”

A Caribou being rushed by crowds of refugees at Sam Thong airstrip, Laos (© Terry Wofford, uwdc.library.wisc.edu)

A Caribou on the ground – being rushed by crowds of refugees at Sam Thong airstrip, Laos (© Robert Wofford, uwdc.library.wisc.edu)

Our new film, M.I.A. A Greater Evil. Set in the jungles of Laos and Vietnam, the film deals with the possible fate of US servicemen left behind after the US pulled out of the Vietnam War.

MIA button

See the trailer for our new film, M.I.A. A Greater Evil. 

And for POWs left behind in Laos:

© Peter Alan Lloyd

Reviews: Amazon.co.uk: Customer Reviews 

UK: Amazon.co.uk: BACK Parts 1 and 2 

US: Amazon: Back Parts 1 and 2

Smashwords: Back Parts 1 and 2

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