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Combat Story

Jul 23, 2022

Today we have a phenomenal Combat Story with our first dedicated insight from a legendary CIA Case Officer, Paramilitary Operations Officer, and Senior Leader Enrique ‘Ric’ Prado, who fought terrorists from the jungles of Central America with the storied Special Activities Division to eventally overseeing all Agency operations at the helm of the counterterrorism center.

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Before joining the Agency, Ric successfully completed the famed Pararescue or PJ pipeline but did not, despite multiple volunteer attempts, have the opportunity to fight in Vietnam. Instead, Ric would see plenty of operations and battles but with the CIA, where he was operating as a solo Paramilitary Ops Officers or PMOO in the Nicaraguan jungles in his first tour.

Early in his career Ric first came into contact with and was then mentored by some of the Agency’s giants like Cofer Black, Duey Clarridge, Bill Buckley, William Casey, and more. As you’ll see during this interview, these are all names I know and revere so I was star struck hearing Ric’s stories about these giants and just spending time with Ric, who many of these heavyweights consider one of the best CIA operators of his time.

On 9/11, Ric was the Chief of Operations (or C/OPS as the role is know inside the building) of the counterterrorism center, responsible for all counterterrorism operations for the whole CIA.
After leaving the service, Ric founded a successful company where he continued to take the fight to the enemy and recently wrote a great book that gives a true behind the scenes look at the wide ranging, unpredictable and often dangerous life of a CIA operations officer.

This is one of my favorite interviews to date and I hope you enjoy this peek behind the curtain of the premier covert intelligence organization from one of its legends as much as I did.

Find Ric Online:
- Ric’s website
- Black Ops Book
- Ric on LinkedIn

Find Ryan Online:
- Ryan’s Linktree
- Merch
- Instagram @combatstory
- Facebook @combatstoryofficial
- Send us messages at
- Email
- Learn more about Ryan
- Intro Song: Sport Rock from Audio Jungle

Show Notes:
0:00 - Intro
0:47 - Guest Introduction (Ric Prado)
2:41 - Interview begins
3:42 - Growing up in Cuba during the revolution in the 1950s and coming to America without his parents
11:46 - Gratitude as an American and choosing life of service
14:54 - The Pararescue Pipeline and becoming a PJ
20:49 - Joining Ground Branch/Special Activities Division in the CIA and role as a Paramilitary Officer
25:11 - The type of work he was doing with the Agency early on and the rewarding feeling of being able to do something about injustice
29:10 - Story of first contact fighting on the front lines during the 1980s Cold War
34:32 - Feelings of being down range after not getting the chance in Vietnam
37:05 - How early experiences informed his role later as Chief of Operations Counterterrorism Center and a story of how street savvy saved him
46:46 - Being a solo operator
47:40 - Working with CIA legends Dewey Clarridge and Bill Casey
51:02 - About the LA (Latin American) Division
54:22 - Legend Joe Fernandez requesting him by name and working more traditional undercover ops
57:17 - Making his first recruitments in Costa Rica
1:02:47 - Role in Alec Station tracking Osama bin Laden
1:10:21 - 9/11 and being Chief of Operations at the Counterterrorism Center
1:16:23 - Story of a particularly dangerous mission
1:25:10 - Story of learning he was under surveillance
1:30:46 - What did you carry with you on missions?
1:32:29 - Would you do it again?
1:34:55 - Hear more on Patreon
1:35:35 - Listener comments and shout outs