Following a two-decade-long career with the CIA where he was regarded as the agency’s best on-the-ground field officer in the Middle East, Robert Baer has gone ahead to forge careers as an author, intelligence columnist, and security analyst.
The American, who was famously recalled and investigated by the FBI for allegedly conspiring to assassinate Saddam Hussein after he was 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 on Wolf Blitzer‘s “Situation Room”. His works can also be read on Time, Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.
Robert Baer Biography
On the 11th of July, 1952 in Los Angeles, California, Robert Booker Baer was born. He spent his early years in the sunshine state before moving to Aspen, Colorado at the age of 9 following his parents’ divorce.
Baer’s academic records show that he attended Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana before enrolling at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. He graduated in 1976 and proceeded to attend graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley. While there, he reportedly jokingly sent in an application to the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, what is today known as the National Clandestine Service.
With the job market being a tough place, Robert Baer, after graduating from Berkley, followed up with the job. He trained for one year, doing a four-month paramilitary course, parachute training, and several foreign language courses that have now allowed him to be fluent in Arabic, Persian, French, and conversant in Russian, Tajik, and Baluch. He went on to spend 21 years with the agency, going on field assignments in India, Lebanon, Syria, Sudan, France, Tajikistan, Morocco, Yugoslavia, and Iraqi Kurdistan, before quitting in 1997.
5 Interesting Facts You Need To Know
1. Robert Baer’s Books Have Spawned an Award-winning Film
Two of Robert Baer’s books; 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), were the basis of the script by Stephen Gaghan for the geopolitical thriller, Syriana (2005).
The film, which stars an ensemble cast that includes George Clooney, Matt Damon, Jeffrey Wright, and Mazhar Munir among others, explores petroleum politics and the global influence of the oil industry. The main character, Bob Barnes, which was played by Clooney, was loosely based on Baer himself. For his performance in the movie, the actor won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role. He further received a nomination for a BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.
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 on Pan Am Flight 103 by a bomb in December 1988. The aircraft, which was on its way to the US City of Detroit from Frankfurt, Germany, via London and New York, blew up in the air over the city of Lockerbie, Scotland, killing an additional 11 people on the ground.
Following a three-year joint investigation by the FBI and a Scottish constabulary, arrest warrants were issued for two Libyan nationals in 1991. After protracted negotiations and UN sanctions, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi handed over the suspects in 1999. One of the suspects, Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, was convicted and jailed for life in 2001 in connection with the bombing. In 2003, Gaddafi accepted responsibility for the bombing and paid compensation to the families of the victims, however, he maintained that he never gave the order for the attack.
While all these played out in court and on the news, Robert Baer believed that the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) was behind the attack. He later switched to say that it was indeed Iran that was behind the bombing. In 2009, following the compassionate release of al-Megrahi, Baer pushed forward the theory that the jailed bomber had a secret dossier to prove that it was Iran that was behind the attack and that the CIA had known from the start who truly orchestrated it. He said this was the real reason why the Libyan was released, in order for the information not to become public knowledge.
3. He is Married to a Fellow Spy
Robert Baer is married to fellow CIA operative Dayna Baer (nee Williamson). According to reports, the pair first met each other while they were on a mission to Sarajevo to spy on Hezbollah operatives. Baer was reportedly immediately attracted to her but since she was a subordinate and they were on the field, they could not have anything between themselves. A few months later, the pair ran into themselves at the CIA headquarters in D.C., and he was now able to ask her out and the rest became history.
Before his marriage Dayna, Baer was previously married to a woman only identified as a State Department secretary. Together, they had three children; two daughters and a son.
4. He Hoped to Become a Professional Skier
As a young boy, Robert Baer had hoped to become a professional skier. His love for the sport was fueled by the time he spent growing up in Aspen, Colorado, a popular destination for enthusiasts of the sport.
5. His Mother is a Wealthy Heiress
Seeing that Robert Baer was once a deep cover asset of the CIA, it is not surprising to know that the identities of his parents and other family members are not known. But while details about his life are shrouded in secrecy, Baer has clearly permitted the world to know that his mother, whose identity is not known, is a wealthy heiress.
As the story goes, following his parents’ divorce and poor performance in school, Baer’s mother was able to take him on a trip across Europe, visiting Paris, France during the 1968 riots, Germany, Prague, Czechoslovakia during the Warsaw Pact invasion, and Russia.