News / Arts & Entertainment

Maryland Man Is Real Hero Behind 'Argo'

In Argo, Truth is Better Than Fictioni
|| 0:00:00
X
Penelope Poulou
October 16, 2012 8:25 PM
Argo, an espionage drama, is opening in U.S. theaters. The film, directed by Academy Award winning actor Ben Affleck, tells the story of former CIA officer Antonio Mendez and his daredevil plan to free six American diplomats hiding in Tehran during the 1979 hostage crisis. Mendez and the Americans are in a race against time in their attempt to flee the country. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has the story.

In Argo, Truth is Better Than Fiction

Penelope Poulou

"Argo," an espionage drama directed by Academy Award winner Ben Affleck, tells the story of former CIA officer Antonio Mendez and his daring plan to free six American diplomats hiding in Tehran during the 1979 hostage crisis.

On Nov. 4, 1979, U.S. diplomats did not anticipate the takeover of their embassy, but 52 of them were taken hostage. Six escaped.

"Argo" focuses on the clandestine CIA operation to rescue those six diplomats.

While the Americans hid in the Canadian ambassador’s residence, Mendez, a CIA officer based in the United States, hatched the plot to get them out.

With the help of a Hollywood producer and a makeup artist, Mendez concocted a fake movie and a trip to scout out locations in Tehran. The Americans-in-hiding had 72 hours to memorize everything about their new identities, including their biographies and supposed jobs in the film.

"Argo," the film, is fascinating because it really happened.

It’s hard to imagine that the real Tony Mendez, a subdued gentleman living a quiet life in rural Maryland, was the CIA officer who pulled off stunts like this throughout his career. 

“Overall some of the best ideas you see in fiction, in film, are based on real operations," Mendez says. "Bond is very much alive in clandestine operations, in real situations.”

For his services, Mendez received a top CIA award. But that information was classified until the early 1990s.

“You may have saved the world, but you have to sit there and sort of smile and ‘Well, we did it again and no one will know,’” Mendez says.

After all these years of secrecy, Mendez is star struck that Ben Affleck now portraying him onscreen.

However,  watching the movie, the viewer is awed by the former spy's resolve to do his duty, however dangerous it might be.

 

 

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

New Orleans-based Water Seed joins Shawna Renee inside the "Soul Lounge" where they introduce listeners to their latest album, a wonderful fusion of jazz, soul and rhythm & blues. The group also explains how the heart of New Orleans influences each of them as musicians and songwriters.