Robert Baer : biography
Robert Booker "Bob" Baer (born July 1, 1952) is an American author and a former CIA case officer who was primarily assigned to the Middle East. He is currently TIME.com's intelligence columnist and has contributed to Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. Baer is a frequent commentator and author about issues related to international relations, espionage and U.S. foreign policy.
Following reports of an attempt by Iranian agents to assassinate the ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the United States, Baer told die Zeit that he doubted that Iran was behind the attempt since there seemed no obvious motive and Iran had been more careful in past collaboration with terrorists. Zeit Online, 2011-10
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; but do they represent the real Iran?"Robert Baer Time website, 16 June 2009
Baer was born in Los Angeles, raised in Aspen, Colorado, and aspired to become a professional skier. He spent many years of his childhood with his mother in Europe before returning to the US. 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 he graduated from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service (where then-future CIA director George Tenet was a classmate). While a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, he applied to the CIA's Directorate of Operations (now the National Clandestine Service). Upon admittance to the CIA after graduating, Baer engaged in a year's training, which included a four-month paramilitary course and several foreign language courses.
He is fluent in Arabic, Farsi, French, German and his native English. He is also conversant in Russian, Tajik, and Baluch.
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." 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."
Baer has publicly acknowledged that he worked field assignments in Madras and New Delhi, India, Beirut, Lebanon, Dushanbe, Tajikistan, Morocco, and Salah al-Din in Iraqi Kurdistan during his twenty-one years with the CIA. 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.Ignatius, David (2002) Not a job for Kissinger, Washington Post. December 20, 2002.Turner, Michael A. (2006) Why Secret Intelligence Fails (revised edition). Potomac Books: Washington DC. ISBN 1-57488-891-9 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.
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