Douglas S. Blaufarb, 82, a retired Central Intelligence Agency operations officer whose posts included two years in the 1960s as chief of station in Vientiane, Laos, died Dec. 20 at a hospital in Winchester, Va. He had myelodisplasia.
As station chief in Laos, Mr. Blaufarb managed a so-called secret army of native tribesmen, including the Hmong, who fought the North Vietnamese in the mountains of northern Laos. For his work in these operations, he received the CIA's Intelligence Medal of Merit.
He began his intelligence career in Greece in the early 1950s, when he helped establish and manage radio facilities for a U.S.- and British-supported guerrilla action in Albania. The action failed because, as it was later learned, it was betrayed by H.A.R. "Kim" Philby, a high-level British Secret Intelligence Service official who was working for the Soviets.
In 1953, Mr. Blaufarb's tour in Greece ended, and he was sent on other missions around the world, serving in Saigon, Singapore and Vientiane, as well as at CIA headquarters. He retired from the agency in 1970 and spent the next two years doing international security affairs analysis for the Rand Corp.
He also wrote "The Counterinsurgency Era," which was published by the Free Press in 1977. In 1985, The Washington Post's Book World carried an article of noteworthy books dealing with the conflict in Vietnam, highly praising Mr. Blaufarb's work.
The article said that Mr. Blaufarb "understood what very few American officials ever learned: that the strengths and weaknesses of the two Vietnamese sides were the decisive factors in the war and that the United States, for all its power, had almost no ability to change those qualities."
Mr. Blaufarb, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., and a 1941 graduate of Harvard University, received a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University. From 1941 to 1950, he was a radio news writer and editor with Voice of America in London and New York.
A former District resident, he maintained a home in the Washington area from the 1950s until retiring to West Virginia in 1980. He lived in Three Churches, W.Va.
In later years, he wrote, did consulting work and engaged in farming.
His wife of 48 years, Marjorie Warrilow Blaufarb, died in 1992. Survivors include his wife, Dorothea Friar of Three Churches; four children from his first marriage, Ingrid Hughes of New York, Nora Blue of Edinboro, Pa., David Blaufarb of Silver Spring, and William Harrison of Santa Cruz, Calif.; a sister; and nine grandchildren.