Saturday, January 26th, 2019
Coldwater native and ex-CIA officer gets key to village
By William Kincaid
Douglas Laux poses with the key to the village of Coldwater. He was given the ke. . .
COLDWATER - Former Central Intelligence Agency operations officer and New York Times best-selling author Douglas Laux said his new prized possession is the key to the village he received last week.
Lawmakers extolled the hometown hero, who was surrounded by his family and friends during a ceremony in his honor at McSobers, for the critical role he played in fighting terrorism. Mayor Joe Knapschaefer proclaimed Jan. 18 as Douglas Laux Day.
Laux, who splits his time among Coldwater, New York City and Los Angeles, called the gift "a supreme honor."
"The people here - and I've lived all over the globe - are the nicest, most-welcoming, kindest people on the planet - and that's why I'm back," he told the newspaper, saying he lives in Coldwater for about four months a year when not away on business on either coast.
State Rep. Susan Manchester, R-Waynesfield; village manager Eric Thomas; village councilman Rich Branch; and U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson's deputy district director, Ben Thaeler were on hand to offer praise and commendations.
Davidson on Sept. 13 took time in the House to recognize Laux for his seven-year run with the CIA. Laux, Davidson noted, deserves recognition for striking a major blow to enemies abroad.
"Unknown to his family and friends, Doug operated undercover in Afghanistan and Syria fighting America's global war on terror," Davidson had said. "Working in Afghanistan, Doug quietly penetrated the ranks of Al Qaeda and the Taliban where he was able to infiltrate and eliminate one of the largest (improvised explosive device) manufacturers in the world."
At 36, Laux is still adjusting to life outside the shadows of the CIA - and letting people in.
"I didn't start living a normal adult life until I was 33 years old," he told the newspaper, adding the deeply sensitive nature of his work prevented him from disclosing personal information. "I lied to my parents (Jerry and Kathy Laux) that I was in Hawaii as a salesperson this entire time I was undercover."
Laux went on to write "Left of Boom: How a Young CIA Case Officer Penetrated the Taliban and Al-Qaeda," and star in Discovery Channel's six-episode series entitled "Finding Escobar's Millions."
The show followed Laux and a fellow former CIA officer using the alias Ben Smith as they scoured Columbia in search of notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar's legendary buried fortune. Laux served as talent, writer and executive producer of the series.
Laux landed a new TV gig after the series aired. Though he is unable to provide specifics of the new project, he said it's a game show in the vein of "Fear Factor." Filming is finished and the show is set to run on a major network, he added.
Compared with "Finding Escobar's Millions," the new project, filmed on a nice TV set, was a breeze, he said.
"The Escobar show was hard. That was like doing my job," he reflected. "That was difficult and time-consuming and stressful and dangerous and all of the above."
Today, Laux enjoys living about a quarter of the year in Coldwater in a rented house.
"I consider this my home base," he said.
Laux said he'll continue to pursue opportunities in TV and writing, but would be content doing just about anything.