Robert Baer: Wikis


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Robert Baer
Allegiance  United States
Service Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
Active 1976–1997
Born July 1, 1952(1952-07-01)
Los Angeles, California
Nationality American
Occupation CIA Officer
Alma mater Georgetown University
University of California, Berkeley

Robert "Bob" Baer (born July 1, 1952) is an American author and a former CIA field officer[1] assigned to the Middle East. He is's intelligence columnist[1] and has contributed to Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.[2] Baer is a frequent commentator and author about issues related to international relations, espionage and U.S. foreign policy.


Early life

Baer was born in Los Angeles and raised in Aspen, Colorado, and aspired to become a professional skier. After a fairly poor academic performance during his freshman year at high school, his mother sent him to Indiana's Culver Military Academy. In 1976, after graduating from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and entering the University of California, Berkeley, Baer decided to join the CIA's Directorate of Operations (DO) as a case officer. Upon admittance to the CIA, Baer engaged in a year's training, which included a four-month paramilitary course.


During his twenty-year CIA career, Baer has publicly acknowledged field assignments in Madras and New Delhi, India; in Beirut, Lebanon; in Dushanbe, Tajikistan; in Morocco, and in Salah al-Din in Iraqi Kurdistan. During the mid-1990s Baer was sent to Iraq with the mission of organizing opposition to Iraqi president Saddam Hussein but was recalled, and investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, for allegedly conspiring to assassinate the Iraqi leader.[3][4] While in Salah al-Din, Baer unsuccessfully urged the Clinton administration to back an internal Iraqi attempt to overthrow Hussein (organized by a group of Sunni military officers, the Iraqi National Congress' Ahmad Chalabi, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan's Jalal Talabani) in March 1995 with covert CIA assistance. Baer quit the Agency in 1997 and received the CIA's Career Intelligence Medal on March 11, 1998. Baer wrote the book See No Evil documenting his experiences while working for the Agency.

In a blurb for See No Evil Seymour Hersh said Baer "was considered perhaps the best on-the-ground field officer in the Middle East."

Baer offers an analysis of the Middle East through the lens of his experiences as a CIA operative. His political outlook does not hew exclusively to either conservative or liberal viewpoints. Through his years as a clandestine officer, he gained a very thorough knowledge of the Middle East, Arab world and former Republics of the Soviet Union. He speaks Arabic and Persian fluently. Over the years, Baer has become a strong advocate of the Agency's need to increase Human Intelligence (HUMINT) through the recruitment of agents.

In 2002 in his autobiography See No Evil, he says on page 200 that he joked with Charles (Tiny) McKee that he ought to be careful or the terrorists would get him. This is said to have happened six months before the Lockerbie bombing. Unfortunately, the chapter is entitled "12, August 1988, Beirut, Lebanon", only four months before Lockerbie and nearly two months after the downing of Iran Air Flight 655. Baer long a supporter of the theory that the PFLP GC brought down the Maid of the Seas, has recently begun to promote the theory that Iran was behind the bombing.

In 2004, he told a reporter of the British political weekly New Statesman, regarding the way the CIA deals with terrorism suspects, "If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear—never to see them again—you send them to Egypt."[1] In 2008 in an interview with Gideon Levy he described himself as having been chief bomber maker for the CIA.

September 2001 attacks

In an interview with Thom Hartmann on June 9, 2006, Baer was asked if he believed "that there was an aspect of 'inside job' to the September 11, 2001 attacks within the U.S. government". He replied, "There is that possibility, the evidence points at it."[5] However, he later stated, "For the record, I don't believe that the World Trade Center was brought down by our own explosives, or that a rocket, rather than an airliner, hit the Pentagon. I spent a career in the CIA trying to orchestrate plots, wasn't all that good at it, and certainly couldn't carry off 9/11. Nor could the real pros I had the pleasure to work with."[6]


In June 2009, Baer commented on the disputed election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iranian President and the protests that accompanied it. "For too many years now, the Western media have looked at Iran through the narrow prism of Iran's liberal middle class — an intelligentsia that is addicted to the Internet and American music and is more ready to talk to the Western press, including people with money to buy tickets to Paris or Los Angeles. Reading Lolita in Tehran is a terrific book, but does it represent the real Iran?"[1]

Books and media

Baer's books See No Evil and Sleeping with the Devil were the basis for the 2005 Academy Award-winning Warner Brothers motion picture Syriana. The film's character Bob Barnes (played by George Clooney) is loosely based on Baer. For this role, Clooney won a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. To better resemble Baer, Clooney gained weight. When Baer learned of this, he was inspired to get back into shape.

For the past two years, Robert Baer has worked closely with the director Kevin Toolis and Many Rivers Films, a Channel 4 production company in the UK, and presented four authoritative documentary series, Cult of the Suicide Bomber I, The Cult of the Suicide Bomber II and Cult of the Suicide Bomber III on the origins of suicide bombing. Cult of the Suicide Bomber I was nominated for an Emmy in 2006. In 2008 Baer presented Car Bomb – a film history about the weapon.

Baer was interviewed in the Robert Greenwald documentary Uncovered: The War on Iraq. He was also one of the main participants in the 2009 documentary film Lockerbie revisited by Dutch film director Gideon Levy.

Baer recently wrote an online forward to Hoodwinked, by John Perkins, on

"I wasn’t twenty pages into Hoodwinked when I realized Perkins nailed it. What got us into the mess we’re in today, the worst recession since the Great Depression, is the same grotesque capitalism cum corruption we shoved down the throat of the Third World since the end of World War II. (Yes, the Third World’s elites were cheerfully corrupted.) We, and the rest of the West, learned the trick of selling unneeded infrastructure, services, over-sophisticated weapons--stuff that could never benefit anyone other than the people who lined their pockets. And yes, Perkins is right, the international economists and press were handmaidens to the thievery. It was all fairly routine until 9/11, when the real gorging started. Tell the people their roof is on fire and they’ll give you whatever you ask for. Between 2001 and 2009 the Department of Defense budget increased 74 percent, and that is not to mention the hundreds of billions of dollars in related contracts. Nigeria on the Potomac. Perkins is quick to state he doesn’t believe in a grand conspiracy theory. Few of the people who call the shots have ever met each other. They don’t have a playbook other than a couple of fraudulent economists like Milton Friedman and the others who worship at the altar of deregulation. No, what they have in common is an obsession with the winner takes all. Perkins's message isn’t going to be popular. We’re a country invested in a system in which five percent of the world’s population consumes 25 percent of the world’s resources. It's a system we’re trying to sell to the world, only we don’t mention that we’ll need five planets to sustain it. Perkins isn’t the pessimist I am. He says we can save the world if we green it--and, of course, start telling the truth to each other. Otherwise we end up a banana republic like the ones we know so well how to despoil."[7]





See also

External links


  1. ^ a b c Robert Baer "Don't Assume Ahmadinejad Really Lost", Time website, 16 June 2009
  2. ^ "Robert Baer – Authors – Random House". Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  3. ^ Ignatius, David (2002) Not a job for Kissinger, Washington Post. December 20, 2002.
  4. ^ Turner, Michael A. (2006) Why Secret Intelligence Fails (revised edition). Potomac Books: Washington DC. ISBN 1574888919
  5. ^ ""Seven CIA Veterans Challenge 9/11 Commission Report" by Alan Miller". Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  6. ^ Baer, Robert (2007-12-07). "Commentary: The CIA's Gift to Conspiracy Theorists – TIME".,8599,1692518,00.html. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 
  7. ^ "Niet compatibele browser". Facebook. Retrieved 2010-03-18. 

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