After a two-decade career with the CIA, where he was considered the agency’s best field operative in the Middle East, Robert Baer has embarked on a career as a writer, intelligence columnist, and security analyst.
The American, who is known to have been recalled by the FBI for an alleged conspiracy to assassinate Saddam Hussein and investigated after being sent to Iraq by the CIA to organize opposition to the then Iraqi president, can be seen sharing his knowledge on CNN, where he is a frequent guest in Wolf Blitzer’s “Situation Room”. His works can also be read in Time, Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.
Robert Baer Biography
Robert Booker Baer was born on July 11, 1952, in Los Angeles, California. He spent his first years in the Sunshine State before moving to Aspen, Colorado at the age of 9 after his parents’ divorce.
Baer’s academic records show that he attended the Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana, before enrolling in the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. He graduated in 1976 and then attended graduate school at the University of California at Berkeley. While there, he is said to have jokingly sent an application to the Directorate of Operations of the CIA, now the National Clandestine Service.
Since the job market is tough, Robert Baer accepted the position after graduating from Berkley. He trained for a year and completed a four-month paramilitary course, parachute training, and several foreign language courses, which now enabled him to speak fluent Arabic, Persian, and French as well as Russian, Tajik, and Baluch. He then worked for the agency for 21 years and had field assignments in India, Lebanon, Syria, Sudan, France, Tajikistan, Morocco, Yugoslavia, and Iraqi Kurdistan before he resigned in 1997.
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5 Interesting Facts You Need To Know
1. Robert Baer’s Books Have Spawned an Award-winning Film
Two books by Robert Baer, See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA’s War on Terrorism (2002) and Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude (2003), formed the basis of Stephen Gaghan’s screenplay for the geopolitical thriller Syriana (2005).
The film, whose leading actors include George Clooney, Matt Damon, Jeffrey Wright, and Mazhar Munir, deals with oil policy and the global influence of the oil industry. The main character, Bob Barnes, played by Clooney, is loosely based on Baer himself. For his performance in the film, the actor received an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor and a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by a Supporting Actor. He also received a nomination for a BAFTA award for the best supporting actor.
2. He Believes the CIA has True Knowledge of who Orchestrated the Lockerbie Bombing
The Lockerbie bombing refers to the destruction and killing of 243 passengers and 16 crew members of Pan Am Flight 103 by a bomb in December 1988. The plane, which was en route from Frankfurt, Germany, via London and New York to the U.S. city of Detroit, exploded in mid-air over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, killing another 11 people on the ground.
After a three-year joint investigation by the FBI and a Scottish gendarmerie, arrest warrants were issued in 1991 for two Libyan nationals. After lengthy negotiations and UN sanctions, Libyan head of state Muammar Gaddafi handed over the suspects in 1999. One of the suspects, the Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, was convicted in connection with the 2001 bombing and sentenced to life in prison. In 2003 Gaddafi assumed responsibility for the bombing and paid compensation to the victims’ families, but claimed that he never gave the order for the attack.
Although all this took place in court and on the news, Robert Baer believed that the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP-GC) was behind the attack. He later changed to the view that it was indeed Iran that was behind the bombings. After the compassionate release of al-Megrahi in 2009, Baer advanced the theory that the detained bomber had a secret dossier to prove that it was Iran who was behind the attack and that the CIA had known from the beginning who had really orchestrated it. This was the real reason for releasing the Libyan so that the information would not be made public.
3. He is Married to a Fellow Spy
Robert Baer is married to his CIA colleague Dayna Baer (née Williamson). According to reports, the two met for the first time when they were on a mission to Sarajevo to spy on Hezbollah agents. Baer was reportedly immediately attracted to her, but since she was a subordinate and they were on assignment, they could have nothing between them. A few months later, the couple ran into each other at CIA headquarters in D.C., and he could now ask her out, and the rest became history.
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Prior to his marriage to Dayna, Baer had previously been married to a woman who was identified only as a secretary of the State Department. Together they had three children, two daughters, and a son.
4. He Hoped to Become a Professional Skier
As a small boy Robert Baer had hoped to become a professional skier. His love for the sport was fueled by the time he grew up in Aspen, Colorado, a popular destination for lovers of the sport.
5. His Mother is a Wealthy Heiress
Considering that Robert Baer was once a covert asset of the CIA, it is not surprising that the identities of his parents and other family members are not known. But while details of his life remain hidden, Baer has clearly let the world know that his mother, whose identity is unknown, is a wealthy heiress.
After his parents divorced and his poor academic performance, Baer’s mother was able to take him on a trip through Europe, visiting Paris, France during the 1968 riots, Germany, Prague, Czechoslovakia during the invasion of the Warsaw Pact, and Russia.