• Black Ops

  • The Life of a CIA Shadow Warrior
  • By: Ric Prado
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 12 hrs and 39 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (805 ratings)

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Black Ops  By  cover art

Black Ops

By: Ric Prado
Narrated by: Scott Brick
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Publisher's Summary

A memoir by the highest-ranking covert warrior to lift the veil of secrecy and offer a glimpse into the shadow wars that America has fought since the Vietnam Era.

Enrique Prado found himself in his first firefight at age seven. The son of a middle-class Cuban family caught in the midst of the Castro Revolution, his family fled their war-torn home for the hope of a better life in America. Fifty years later, the Cuban refugee retired from the Central Intelligence Agency as the CIA equivalent of a two-star general. Black Ops is the story of Ric’s legendary career that spanned two eras, the Cold War and the Age of Terrorism. Operating in the shadows, Ric and his fellow CIA officers fought a little-seen and virtually unknown war to keep USA safe from those who would do it harm.

After duty stations in Central, South America, and the Philippines, Black Ops follows Ric into the highest echelons of the CIA’s headquarters at Langley, Virginia. In late 1995, he became Deputy Chief of Station and co-founding member of the Bin Laden Task Force. Three years later, after serving as head of Korean Operations, Ric took on one of the most dangerous missions of his career: Re-establish a once-abandoned CIA station inside a hostile nation long since considered a front line of the fight against Islamic terrorism. He and his team carried out covert operations and developed assets that proved pivotal in the coming War on Terror.

A harrowing memoir of life in the shadowy world of assassins, terrorists, spies, and revolutionaries, Black Ops is a testament to the courage, creativity, and dedication of the Agency’s Special Activities Group and its elite shadow warriors.

A Macmillan Audio production from St. Martin's Press

©2022 Ric Prado (P)2022 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

“Ric Prado is an American original, a shadow warrior whose combat and street skills actually live up to Hollywood's spy movie fantasies. Any story of his life and his C.I.A. career will stand out in the genre of such memoirs and biographies, not only because of Ric's outsized experiences, but because his adventurous work included some of the most important covert actions in recent Agency history.” —Steve Coll, New York Times bestselling author of GHOST WARS and DIRECTORATE S and winner of the Pulitzer Prize

“Ric Prado is a rare breed of CIA officer—a man as comfortable operating behind enemy lines in disguise as he is strolling the halls of power in a suit. Having interviewed numerous of Prado’s Agency colleagues, I understand him to be a badass paramilitary operations officer and a sharp-thinking member of the Agency’s Senior Intelligence Service elite. Further adding to Ric Prado’s unique and complex character is his ability to discuss his flaws, weaknesses, and struggles, as well as his myriad of strengths. He reminds me of an ancient warrior-poet, the kind who reads haiku before going into battle with a very sharp sword.” —Annie Jacobsen, New York Times bestselling author of AREA 51 and SURPRISE, KILL, VANISH

“Ric Prado is a legendary CIA Operations Officer who gave almost three decades of exceptional service to his country in the most challenging foreign assignments, including the potential risk of immediate physical danger. He has lived his personal and professional life exhibiting the highest standards of character, ethics, principle, courage, and heroism. Ric and I served together in CTC, where he was my Chief of Operations and Chief of Station. He achieved the CIA rank equivalent of military general. No stay-at-home bureaucrat, Ric always sought out and served in harm’s way with exceptional dedication and courage.” —Cofer Black, former Director, CIA Counterterrorist Center

What listeners say about Black Ops

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Worth it

First off, narrator crushed it.

Second, great story.

Third, if you’ve read American Desperado and are looking for that angle (San Pedro, Jon Roberts), not surprisingly, whether that’s factual or not, you won’t find anything here. But it’s still a great book.

7 people found this helpful

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Impressive and Inspiring!

This book is a remarkable tribute to the USA that takes you on a journey to expose what it takes for this great nation to continue to be HOME OF THE FREE BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE.

6 people found this helpful

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Great read.

Compelling look into the world most of us never see. It's nice to hear the truth from someone on the inside.

3 people found this helpful

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Thank you

As an American, although I spent 4 years in the Air Force, I have lived a middle American life un-afraid of what’s out there because of Americans like you.

I have 2 kids who are Paramedic Fire Fighters that I am gratefully proud of, but this book reminded me of the men and women like you who put their lives on the line, the contribution of immigrants and the reality of how fragile our lives and democracy is. I love our democracy and country.

Thank you Ric for your devotion, patriotism and for everything else that you have done and sacrificed for, that you can’t share with us. We are eternally grateful for you and others like you.

We fear for our country and other democracies around the world, you give us hope.

3 people found this helpful

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Thought Provoking

Great read. A realilistic view on the war on terror! Left you wanting to know more about the operations.

2 people found this helpful

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Outstanding!!!

Absolutely loved this audio book....what an exceptional career Ric Prado had with the CIA, dedicating his working life to fighting United States' enemies in the underworld of scumbags and f**k heads. As an exiled Cuban myself, I'm forever grateful that Ric Prado fought so fervently against the spread of the cancer of Communism in the Western Hemisphere. This is a real, captivating story of a hero that personifies a "Living Legend," If you want to experience what the real CIA clandestine operatives life is like, you'll find it in Ric Prado's book.

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  • JF
  • 03-19-22

Incredibile story told by a true warrior and a patriot

Ric has led a life that is incredibly bold, he is a warrior and a patriot and our country is truly lucky to have had him in our corner for 4 decades. This book is a testament to his life, his career and is devotion to America.

2 people found this helpful

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CIA from the inside view of a true patriot.

Everyone in America should be encouraged to read this book. Astounding story of courage, patriotism and by God American heroism. We need these stories to be told more often. We need to reveal our heroes and encourage them to tell their stories so we can learn from them. Learn from the people at the tip of the spear. When we do we can't help but respect them, be in awe of them, hell love them for the incredible passion they have for our country, for allowing us every day sheep to enjoy the peace and tranquility we take for granted.
Thank you Mr. Prado for sharing your story and all you have done and do!

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Must read US history

Great book
Tells how presidents 4 fail to protect Americans by allowing OBL to develop his terror network!

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WARNING: Too much has been redacted!

There's no substitute for the voice of experience, and this is it. Ric Prado has been there, seen and done it, had it done to him. He knows what he's talking about.

BUT nobody can make a book fully engaging and exciting when the critical parts suffer from such heavy redaction. I didn't know ahead of time, but now you know. Narrator mispronounced many critical words, a secondary issue that I also wasn't expecting.

Overall, excellent.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Rob Cortes
  • 05-19-22

Disappointed

The storyline was intriguing however the frequent use of the term 'Redacted' became frustratingly painful. I'm sure the storyline could have been written in a style that circumvented this issue as it took away from the overall enjoyment of the book. Also, whether it was some degree of self aggrandizement by the author or just the intonation of the narrator, I found myself frequently annoyed and unable to tolerate 2 or 3 chapters at one time.