The 1980s

Exfiltration of U.S. Diplomats from Iran

January 1980

Daugherty, William J. "Argo/Our Man in Tehran." International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence 28, no. 1 (Spring 2015): 156-165.

Daugherty, who spent 444 days in captivity in Tehran, tells here the engaging story of his involvement not in Argo-The Operation but in Robert Wrght's "definitive book on the rescue operation," the movie (his stand-in in the movie had no lines), and a Canadian documentary based on Wright's book. A fun read!

Lijek, Mark. The Houseguests: A Memoir of Canadian Courage and CIA Sorcery. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Plaform, 20 Nov. 2012..

According to Peake, Studies 57.3 (Sep 2013), and Intelligencer 20.2 (Fall-Winter 2013), the author was one of the six Americans who avoided capture when the U.S. Embassy in Tehran was overrun in 1979 and who were sheltered at the home of Canadian diplomat John Sheardown until rescued in a CIA covert operation. Lijek provides "details from a first hand point of view," and "makes it clear he was upset that the film [Argo] did not give appropriate recognition to the Canadian efforts.... Houseguests is exciting reading and fills an important gap in a history-making story."

Mendez, Antonio J. "A Classic Case of Deception." Studies in Intelligence (Winter 1999-2000): 1-16.

This is a marvelously detailed -- although still circumspect -- account from someone well situated to tell the story of the operation to exfiltrate six U.S. State Department personnel from Tehran in the wake of the Iranians' seizure of the U.S. Embassy. It offers between-the-lines insight into one aspect of the work of the CIA's Office of Technical Services.

Ample and respectful credit is given to the Canadians for their central role in, first, protecting the Americans and, later, in facilitating the exfiltration effort. Two aspects that clearly come through in Mendez' account is the enormous need for all types of general and specific information in planning such an operation and the many things, human and otherwise, that can go wrong even when activities are in the hands of professionals.

Mendez, Antonio J., and Matt Baglio. Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History. New York: Viking 2012.

For McKim, Boston Globe, 20 Sep. 2012, "Mendez's first-person account" is "a fast-paced, straightforward, and gripping story full of drama and compelling characters. The writing here, however, falls short, marred by a smattering of avoidable clichés." The book "provides added insight into a wild, if not widely known, incident in the history of American foreign policy and the CIA."

Pelletier, Jean, and Claude Adams. The Canadian Caper: The Inside Story of the Daring Canadian Rescue of Six American Diplomats Trapped in Iran. New York: Morrow, 1981.

Wright, Robert. Our Man in Tehran: The True Story Behind the Secret Mission to Save Six Americans During the Iran Hostage Crisis and the Foreign Ambassador Who Worked with the CIA to Bring Them Home. Toronto: HarperCollins Canada, 2010. New York: Other Press, 2011.

Peake, Studies 55.3 (Sep. 2011), notes that this work "not only adds much new detail to the Canadian role, but tells for the first time of Taylor's contribution as a surrogate CIA 'liaison officer.' ... An amazing story, skillfully told." Writing as one of the 52 Americans held by the Iranians, Daugherty, IJI&C 25.2 (Summer 2012), finds that the author's "insights provide a fuller view of the multiple aspects of the hostage crisis, including new information not previously reported." The book "reads like good fiction but instead captures the accuracy and intensity of a very real and very dangerous time."

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