Dick Holm joined the Central Intelligence Agency in the 1960s and rose rapidly through the ranks to become Bureau Chief in Paris, eventually earning the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the CIA's highest award. His first posting was in Laos, where he served in the CIA's "Secret War" against the Communists in the lead-up to the Vietnam War. He was then sent to the Congo and suffered near-fatal injuries after a plane crash in a remote jungle. Healed by local tribesmen, his horrific burns treated with snake oil and tree bark, he then spent two years in a U.S. hospital undergoing extensive surgery. Holm also worked in Hong Kong and Paris and was instrumental in anti-terrorism operations during Carlos the Jackal's international terror campaign. Having served under 13 CIA directors, Holm has firm, highly informed views on the policies—past and present, national and international—that determine how, where, and why the CIA works.