New Delhi: Movie critics are buzzing over Ben Affleck’s Academy Award-winning film, Argo, which chronicles the Central Intelligent Agency’s (CIA) attempt to rescue six Americans during the 1978 Iran hostage crisis. The film, which won the Best Picture Award, is based on real-life events. But what really happened during the covert operation?
Discovery Channel’s brings for its viewers – Argo: Inside Story, which gains access to the top players involved in the crisis to hear their side of the story, including the CIA’s “chief of disguise”, Tony Mendez, who was called upon to devise the rescue plan. The one-hour special narrated by actor Bray Poor, gives an inside look at the dramatic escape and how Mendez forged identity documents and elaborate disguises to get past the security agents at the Tehran airport.
The CIA had to come up with a convincing reason for the six people being in Tehran in the first place, and devise a way for them to leave without arousing suspicion. The operation became an elaborate scheme involving fake identification cards, a phantom movie production and unprecedented cooperation between the United States and Canada.
Mendez, who had limited access to materials once inside Iran, recalls how he forged official documents in the office of the Canadian Ambassador. “One of the stamp pads had dried out and I had to mix the right ink color,” Mendez recalls in the special. “So I went over to the Canadian Ambassador’s liquor cabinet and got a bottle of Scotch and poured some on [the pad].”
Argo: Inside Story reveals how the Americans prepared for their departure, the true story about the agency’s involvement and their reasons for keeping it secret for nearly two decades.
A one-hour special, Argo: Inside Story premieres on 31 March at 8 pm only on Discovery Channel.