Friday, October 12, 2012

ARGO:  An Interesting Film on The Iran Hostage Siege And The Dismal Failure of the CIA. 
 I have always been a fan of Ben Affleck as an actor and as a director of films. I particularly like his second film “Charlestown” in which he both starred and directed.
Argo” allows him to play a well-known fellow Cuban covert operative by the name of Tony Mendez who came up with a very imaginative,  daring scheme to help a dozen US employees to escape Iran during the 1979 Iran Hostage Siege of the American Embassy under President Jimmy Carter. 
  What I would like to talk about does not concern the quality of the Hollywood with it’s normal variations on the truth or even the veracity what is portrayed in Argo . It was true. 
But I want to address in this blog is the incessant need and obsession of the ex-employees to highlight their minor contributions to the solution of major problems ---like “Charlie Wilson’s War".  If one watched that film, one would have thought that the CIA took down the Soviet Regime with RPG’s and that was due to a debauched Congressman and his consort.  Nothing is or was further from the truth. The CIA played a role in the regime change in the Soviet Union as did FSOs , Military Intel Officers, Sec States George Shultz and James Baker. 
 The point is that the entire Iran Hostage Siege could have been averted if the CIA had been competent.  In fact, the CIA and other intelligence services were so incompetent that I had to find out from my professional personal friends in France, that the French government had been treating the Shah of Iran for several years for the cancer that eventually felled him.
The CIA was also unable to supply enough Farsi speakers in a US Embassy of four hundred employees to cover Iran.  Only eight operatives spoke Farsi…as I have mentioned before.
  The CIA was completely oblivious to the fact that the SAVAK , the Iranian Intelligence Bureau brutalizing the Iranians, was completely out of control and the Shah had no influence on SAVAK.
The CIA was completely unable to anticipate not just one siege of the embassy but two different sieges. In fact the first time our embassy was taken over by Islamic  students - our wily Ambassador Sullivan made it look like they were guests of his when in fact he was under house arrest. 
  This movie,  as well as “Charlie Wilson’s War’ and other Hollywood glorifications of self-aggrandizing ex- CIA employees, are not in conspiracy to cover up past CIA disasters, these films just portray the legitimate part of a narrative that has never been fully explained or examined.  But as long as the CIA and now the SEAL TEAM SIX [ Truth And Valor] glorify their alleged successes with films like the forthcoming “Osama Bin Laden” ‘docudrama fiction’- “ Zero Dark Thirty”, directed by the talented Kathryn Bigelow,  these intelligence and military groups will compromise the legitimacy of their past successes and guarantee the serious compromise of future operations and operatives trying to do their merciless 24/7 jobs serving our country all around the world.    
 “Argo” and other CIA inspired movies make for interesting even somewhat enlightening entertainment. But the crucial fact is that our CIA has been a serious problem over a thirty year period during which time I worked with them.  In fact, what is not reported anywhere in the film , especially in an Epilogue, is the fact that four thousand CIA HUMINT operatives were summarily dismissed by their collective bosses DNI Admiral Stanley Turner and President Jimmy Carter, ex-nuclear sub engineer. 
  The point is that our country is now in real trouble of having so many intelligence organizations that in fact more has become less. We have more new organizations that have compromised the quality and distribution of valuable intel all over the community. 
  As one Army General once said to me, “Our real Weapons of Mass Destruction are the proliferations of Counter Terrorism Centers.” 
I happen to agree with that general and more importantly as we evolve into a cyberworld with real concerns of Cyberwar and CyberTerrorism the need for intellectual rigor and discipline and honesty becomes increasingly more imperative. There will be no heroics in a world where electrons can destroy New York City’s  power capacity.  There is no James Bond for that occasion.  Just some ex-hacker who was recruited by our government in order to serve our country in a real war called “Cyber Attack”.
  There will be no more room for the Jack Ryans,  James Bonds, or Jason Bournes. 
  The new covert heroes will be someone whom you will have never heard about or will ever hear about.
Just as it should be in the world of Secrecy Protecting the Republic.
  Remember Winston Churchill’s essential words about espionage, “Every nation must hide behind a bodyguard of lies”. 
  One other point, I used to tell to my covert operatives in -- the CIA, Military , NSA, NRO, State, AID, and USIA --- 
   “Every spy is a Prince!” Those are the same words that Moses pronounced upon Aaron as he went forth into Canaan to espy the lands afar


  1. It is not believable that the Shah or the CIA or the Mossad- who originated and trained SAVAK didnt know what they were up to. Savak were our in house torturers in Iran. With the Kubark and other manuals floating out there, its indisputable western ops knew exactly what Savak was up to.
    Khomeini another psyops brought in by the west when the Shah's usefulness expired- like Mubarak. Sheltered in France, promo'd by MI6 (who distributed his cassettes throughout Iran for years.) He even retained them under new window dressing, SAVAMA.

    Please elaborate on SAVAK further and if you know anything about the killing of Rafiq Hariri it would be amazing to read here! Thanks for the great blog.

  2. You're right-on, please keep reading and commenting, your insights are welcome