The podcast Heroes Behind Headlines, by New York Times bestselling author Ralph Pezzullo, has just been released, covering the most important historical events of the past 40 years, told by the heroes involved themselves.
Each episode tells firsthand the unpublished stories behind the most shocking headlines in recent history, such as the capture of Chapo Guzman, the undercover operations of Seal Team 6 members, or how the dismantling of the New York mafia was carried out, told through the eyes and ears of the people who were there.
Three episodes have been released so far, and there are 60 more planned in which we will talk about the unsung heroes behind such important events like the financial destruction of the Chinese Triad, the ins, and outs of Operation Pineapple Express in Afghanistan, the truth behind the Benghazi embassy attack, or the story of the first Muslim Green Beret, who wrote to Jimmy Carter to be deployed to Iran during the hostage crisis, personally identified Osama bin Laden and was involved in the downed Black Hawk incident.
Heroes Behind Headlines: CIA agent talks about missions to defeat Sandinistas in Nicaragua
To give you an idea of how interesting this new podcast is, the March 8 Heroes Behind Headlines program featured Ric Prado, a CIA agent who told the story of how a small group of Contras tried to disrupt the plans of the communist insurgents who took control of Nicaragua.
Ric Prado recounts in this episode of Heroes Behind Headlines his adventure in Central America supporting the Nicaraguan Contras, who at the time lacked experience, supplies, or resources.
Speaking about his book Black Ops: The Life of a CIA Shadow Warrior, Ric Prado explained how his experience in Nicaragua became intimate and personal: “I would ask them, ‘why are you here?’ Not one of them said because I read [Karl] Marx. It was, ‘They burned my church’. ‘They beat up my priest’. ‘They raped my daughter’. ‘They forcibly conscripted my son’. So it was very satisfying. It was all personal, and it was personal for me. It made it even more personal for me, of course.”
Ric Prado found himself tasked with amalgamating and training multiple Nicaraguan tribes, ethnic groups, and rebel forces with a single common nexus: defeating the communist Sandinista forces.
Listening to the podcast is like watching a thrilling 1980s action movie, with plans such as spending several weeks training on a deserted island, so he could canoe at night to his target to detonate an 80-pound bomb under a bridge that served as a passageway for Soviet supplies to Cuba.
During the episode, Ric Prado not only recounted the incredible details of his operations, but also explained that one of the main motivations for writing his book was that the media and entertainment world portray the CIA in a negative light, and he wanted to highlight a side of the Agency that rarely reaches the public.
“I really take it personally how my agency is represented in the media, in novels, and in
Hollywood and everything else. We’re always, uh, uh, portrayed as immoral corrupt, you know,
uh, maniacal assassins, and nothing could be further from the truth… Not this Jason Bourne crap.
It’s real operators. One of the things that I have throughout the book are vignettes of the
courage that are not just operators, but the courage that everybody [within the agency] has out
Regardless of one’s opinion of these overseas interventions, the Heroes Behind Headlines podcast is an invaluable source of information for expanding knowledge about some of the most important and influential events in recent history, with the added bonus of being told in the first person by the men and women who played them, albeit from the shadows.
Heroes Behind Headlines airs weekly and allows subscription from any podcast program.