§ion=&combo2=&text1=&text2=&SocNetUsername=&SocNetPassword=&authCode=& 7th Decade Thoughts: See No Evil by Robert Baer

7th Decade Thoughts

Thoughts about books, politics and history (personal and otherwise), pictures I've taken and pictures I've edited.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

See No Evil by Robert Baer

The movie Syriana is based on this book (also I think on Sleeping with the Enemy which is about “deals” the US made with Saudi Arabia for access to oil.) I haven’t seen the film but my sister said it was hard to follow. I thought reading the book might make it easier.

Robert Baer was a CIA officer working in the Middle East, one of the first who traced Middle Eastern terrorists, one of very few Arab speakers in the field. He spent the mid-80ies in Lebanon, was stationed in a satellite office when 7 CIA officers were blown up in the US Embassy in Beirut in 1983. He worked on finding US hostages that were kidnapped in that period. Even after the CIA gave up on finding out who was responsible for the Embassy bombing, he persisted and finally discovered that it was ordered by Iran and carried out by a branch of Fata, though possibly without the knowledge of Yassar Arafat. He also worked among Russians and Mujahideen in Tajikistan and in Northern Iraq with Ahmad Chalabi and Jalal Talabani in 1995 when the US refused to support a military coup against Saddam. He was ordered home because someone (he thought Chalabi) had put out a rumor that a US agent named Robert Pope who helping (against US law) in a plot to assassinate Saddam. The FBI was sure he was Robert Pope.

Back in Washington, Baer had to dodge impossible political situations and saw the Agency and the Government deliberately ignoring information that tended to reflect badly on the politics of the day—even if it would yield more information about terrorists. Baer thought the CIA was not taking enough chances or putting enough human officers in the field where they could identify and run agents among those dedicated to destroying the US. Without more people doing the kind of work he did, he thought US intelligence would be doomed not to understand the enemy. Posted by Picasa


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