October 16th, 2012
04:28 PM ET

Antonio Mendez, author of Argo, on GPS

Everybody knows about the 52 Americans who were held hostage for 444 days in Tehran after militants stormed the embassy in November, 1979. But often forgotten are the secret six – six other Americans working for the government who were not taken hostage that day. And until recently, only a handful of people, most with top secret clearances, knew the real story of how those six eventually got out of the country. That fascinating tale is the basis of a new book and movie, both called "Argo."

The movie, out this past weekend, was released by Warner Brothers, which has the same parent company as CNN. The mastermind behind the plan to set them free, who is also the co-author of the book, Antonio Mendez, joined Fareed Zakaria GPS at the weekend. Watch the video for the full interview.

"Fareed Zakaria GPS" on Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET.

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soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Joel

    Mr. Zakaria,
    Why is modulation of taxes and/or spending the only options? A third parameter to discuss is generating net wealth from trade. The US bleeds half a trillion per annum from trade. It seems almost foolish to suggest a national policy where the goal is to generate net wealth from trade. I wonder if we have squandered more wealth then even the Habsburg Empire.
    PS Naill Ferguson, an infrequent guest on your show, in my humble opinion, is a wise and sane man.

    Fan of Show

    October 16, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Reply
    • Charles

      Keep working on your reading.

      October 17, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Reply
      • Flagrante Delicto


        October 21, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
  2. j. von hettlingen

    How does Iran react to this film "Argo"?

    October 17, 2012 at 8:00 am | Reply
    • Bobpitt

      More importantly how do you think Canadians are reacting at the fallacy that the CIA did everything.. When in fact was the Canadian ambassador with Canadian passports, on Canadian embassy on a Canadian operation did save the six American butts.. With friends like you..!!

      October 17, 2012 at 11:42 am | Reply
      • Charles

        Bob – anger issues, dude? Also, you ought to look up what a "fallacy" is before using it in sentences. Stick to smaller words – your dumb thoughts will at least sound a little smarter.

        October 17, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
      • maryrm

        charles – fal·la·cy   [fal-uh-see] noun, plural fal·la·cies.
        1. a deceptive, misleading, or false notion, belief, etc.: That the world is flat was at one time a popular fallacy.
        2. a misleading or unsound argument.
        3. deceptive, misleading, or false nature; erroneousness.
        4. Logic . any of various types of erroneous reasoning that render arguments logically unsound.

        perhaps you are thinking of the word phallic.

        What Canadians don't care for is Tony Mendez's self-aggrandizing assertion that the concepts and legwork were done by himself and the CIA. Our former ambassador, Ken Taylor has clearly stated, even after seeing the movie, that the CIA was a junior partner in the endeavor. We are accustomed to Hollywood portraying all heroes as Americans but this one we felt was below the belt. Americans will watch and enjoy, many Canadians will choose not to support this movie with their dollars.

        October 18, 2012 at 10:43 am |
      • mike

        Why, pray tell, do you take YOUR self-aggrandizer's word over the other guy? Just because he's Canadian doesn't mean he's truthful.

        October 18, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
      • Don

        Yes, Does everybody forget it was Ken Taylor ambassodor to Iran who was the major player. Why is that the truth is always pushed aside

        October 18, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
      • Dude

        I haven't seen this movie yet, but I knew that the Canadian embassy saved a number of Americans decades ago.

        This information may not have been well circulated, but it was certainly not a secret.

        On 9-11, Canada allowed a number of US bound international flights to land and hosted the passengers until they could continue on to their destination.

        In the 1920's when my great grandfather was denied entry to the US due to illness, Canada allowed him to enter and be admitted to a hospital until he could enter the US.

        Also, Rush. Need I say more?

        October 19, 2012 at 7:54 am |
      • stopblowingyourtrumpet

        What is truly annoying, is the constant trumpet blowing of Canadians,.. of how nice they have been to America and how they contributed this and that to America. Kind of reminds me of a friend who goes out to Wal-Mart and buys me some junk that I very well know I would never use but I have to thank her and pretend that she did me a big favour and how much I appreciate her love, because if I don’t, I will never hear the end of it. She has this constant need to confirm the strong of friendship. I very well know that I could have done without that junk but I just can’t risk hurting her feelings and so I praise her every now and then especially when I sense that she is about to whine about how I have neglected our friendship.
        Please my fellow Canadians, STOP, you sound so needy.

        October 22, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • Josh

      @Bob- did you actually see the movie?
      It clearly shows that we couldn't have extracted those people out of Iran without Canada's enormous help.
      Are you just trolling?

      October 17, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Reply
      • Star-Spangled-Awesome!

        No, he's just venting after another glorious piece of fantasy bullsh!t from our fantastic CIA.

        October 17, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
      • mike

        The CIA gets things right from time to time. Don't let your hatred cloud your rationality.

        October 18, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Brian

      "And until recently, only a handful of people, most with top secret clearances, knew the real story of how those six eventually got out of the country."

      Did the "handfull of people" include all of the population of Canada over 30 years ago who knew the "real" story of how our American friends were rescued from Iran and who did the heavy lifting?

      October 17, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Reply
  3. Aldo Zagonel

    After watching ARGO on Monday and the town-hall debate on Tuesday, I developed a hypothesis why the Administration sustained for a couple of weeks that the controversial YouTube video sparked the protest that turned violent in Benghazi, resulting in the killing of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. The answer may be simple. During that span of time, protestors were gathering in front of the U.S. embassy in Cairo and other middle-east capitals. The UN ambassador going on several talk shows, and Obama himself speaking about it at the UN, may have helped strengthen the host government's defense of the embassies and to dissipate the ongoing popular uprisings –which lasted about the same time that it took for the Obama administration to turn around and state that Benghazi was a planned attack by a terrorist group, not preceded or accompanied by a popular protest. Is this a plausible explanation?

    October 17, 2012 at 8:29 am | Reply
    • Matt Sandbulte

      Aldo, I think yes, it is a plausible explanation. I'm moderately pro-Obama, and have been scratching my head about why the heck they got themselves snarled in that "protest" story line. I think you're thinking outside the box and could be onto something.

      October 17, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Reply
  4. Martin

    They say that the production company that was setup received 29 scripts for movies, including one from Steven Spielberg.

    This was 1979/1980 – I wonder if the script sent in was for "E.T." ?

    October 17, 2012 at 11:23 am | Reply
  5. Bad Santa is coming to Tehran

    The Canadians were instrumental in the escape and freedom of these 6 American's... Canada is not getting the Glory that they deserve for this. The Iranians knew that President Jimmy Carter was too much of a "Sallie" to do anything to Iran and he let it continue for 444 days. Within several hours of President Ronald Reagan was sworn into office, these American Hostages were released... The Iranians knew that President Reagan would get them out and at ALL costs. Reagan was ready to go to war and he made it known to the Iranians through the Swiss Embassy that they had only minutes to release the American's, NOT hours... R.I.P. President Reagan

    October 17, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Reply
    • Tom

      How about some Brie with that whine?

      October 17, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Reply
    • jay

      Carter tried a rescue mission that was plagued with misfortunes and ultimately scrubbed. If I remember right, the American hostages were seperated and housed in different areas after that. Carter's goal was to keep the hostages alive, he succeeded! The hostages were released as Reagan took the oath of office and met by Mr. Carter. I remember how America held kits breath until the plane cleared Iran ian air space.

      October 17, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Reply
      • Keith

        I hate Carter just as much as the Iranians do.

        October 17, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
      • jim

        Scrubbed?! It was a total disaster. One of the helicopters carrying delta force crashed the desert, costing several soldiers thier lives. It was a total emabrassment, and humiliation to the US "elite commandos".
        This is the problem with re-opeing something that happened over 30 years ago- that anyone under 40 cannot even remember. History can be re-written anyway anyone wants, including the movie "Argo" , and it is taken as fact. Candians who can remember what really happened are outraged by this movie, and rightly so. American arrogance continues unabated- and the average american has no idea why they are held in such low esteem internationally,.

        October 19, 2012 at 1:42 am |
  6. meemee

    I haven't seen the movie yet, but plan to soon. I was friends with a man until I moved away, who had been working in Iran in 1979 for Northrop Gruman and in fact ran the entire Persian Gulf satellite surveillance on contract to the U.S. Government. I recall his telling me of how they had to law flat because bullets were being fired at them through the windows. He got out, not taken as a hostage. Of course, I will not mention his name here, but I am wondering if he was part of this group. From the shot of Jimmy Carter with the six, I don't think he was unless his looks changed that much compared to 2000-2002 when I knew him. So I am wondering how EVERYONE got out because it seems others got out while the uprising was under way. Had to post this little info bit, because I am very curious about this story now and don't know how to get in touch with my old friend. He was under top secret control even as a retired ex-employee of Northrop.

    October 17, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Reply
  7. Canuck

    I know we like the US having out backs but it's nice to see we can help when we can 🙂

    October 17, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Reply
    • jay

      THANK YOU CANADA, I said it then, I still say it!

      October 17, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Reply
  8. Nodrogytsirk

    Canadian Ken Taylor and the Canadians were the real heroes. From the security guard who didn't turn them away, to the housekeepers who kept the secret, the real story is better than any Hollywood movie. Glad that at the request of Mr Taylor, the text at the end of the film was rewritten to reflect some of the truth. When the film premiered at the TIFF in Toronto it was not met with the success the producers expected. Will be interesting to compare box office numbers between the countries.

    October 17, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Reply
  9. TSXminer

    Hollywood has never let the truth get in the way of a good story. The Americans escaped IN SPITE OF, not because of, CIA involvement. Mendez was only in Iran a day and a half, while the Canadians risked their lives harbouring the American embassy staff for 3 months. The CIA nearly botched the whole thing by putting the wrong dates on the fake passports, an error that the Canadian embassy corrected. Agreed, the idea of the Americans being a Canadian film crew was the CIA's, but a much simpler and believable ploy would have had them as oil engineers, geologists, etc.

    October 17, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Reply
    • circus

      You don't know that. I'm sure other professions were discussed. If a plan of such magnitude worked, I don't see the need for the nitpicking.

      October 20, 2012 at 12:33 am | Reply
  10. Dennis

    I still can't figure the math–how did the "film crew" leave Iran with six more people than when they entered? Or did they just hope the Iranians weren't keeping good entry-exit records? Guess I'll just have to see the movie!

    October 18, 2012 at 6:56 am | Reply
    • gary

      yes dennis its covered in the movie. and very good guess!

      October 18, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Reply
  11. michael

    yes i thanked the candians then i will do it again. the US has had very few true allies when it gets tough or it is not convienet. also thanks to the brits for their freindship the last 2 decades

    October 18, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Reply
  12. Jim

    I'm canadian, apologies to Mr. Taylor but I could care less about getting credit in a film. Braveheart wasn't factual either but still a great film, I'm sure I'l enjoy argo too.

    October 18, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Reply
  13. buzz

    Canada, thanks eah

    October 18, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Reply
  14. Vincent

    It just wouldnt make it to the screen with the same kind of fanfare if a big budget hollywood movie had someone other than Americans in the central roles.
    Unfortunately, many people will never investigate what really happened and will believe the movie depiction of the events. I havent seen it yet, but it would be a nice gesture to the REAL people who were involved if the credits not only aknowledged them, but also stated what their roles had really been, and how important thy had been in the rescue.

    October 18, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Reply
    • jim

      Yes, but holiwood knows Americans will not go to see afilm that features anyone but Americans as the prime players and the heroes. And that is truly sad.

      October 19, 2012 at 1:46 am | Reply
  15. tupperhouse

    The great escape was a a plot by the Brits. but America had to have an American hero. The same with this movie Canada used their passports and housed the Americans in the Ambassadors house little in put from the CIA. Americans don't question their heros. Elliot Ness was an accountant, enforcing a law nobody liked. Al Capone was more popular in Chicago than Ness would ever be. John Wayne evaded the draft to further his career while Jimmy Stewart , Clark Gable and others served. John Cleese said it best when David Letterman asked him the difference between the British and Americans. He said when the British have a World Championship they invite other countries.

    October 18, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Reply
    • Jean

      The movie about the capture of the code machine Enigma was Americanized, too. Really the British Navy captured the machine, not the US. When so many true stories are altered to please US audiences it diminshes the accomplishments of others and emphasizes the feeling American often express about being alone in the world.

      October 19, 2012 at 12:32 am | Reply
  16. Johnson

    This is why the internet sucks. I cannot think of a more idiotic, false argument than this one.

    October 19, 2012 at 4:01 am | Reply
  17. kdmmtl

    Mr.Mendez, you are dreaming that this was a CIA operation. Ben whatever his name, must just woke up one day and said find me a story that I can direct and star in that has ties to middle east. Someone, probably a Canadian, said hey Bob, I know of a covert action which took place back in 1979. Involving some American diplomats and naive Canadian diplomatic worker whom risked their own safety to provide shelter for the good of these Americans. They provided false ids and passports along with exit visas to get these poor souls out of Iran. The CIA provided a ruse to allow them to have been in Iran and that is all. Shame on shifting the story around. Sometimes people who respect a country may loose hope to continue with that undying support and say next time in your hour of need say I personally am sick of Americans' ignorance. It like a bad odor, you can't seem to shake it, so you walk away from it.

    October 21, 2012 at 2:07 am | Reply
  18. sask

    The otherside of the coin is that the Canadian Prime Minister at the time Joe Clark was getting beaten up at question period in the house of commons by the opposition leader Pierre Trudeau about what Canada was going to do to help the Americans in Iran. He ended up losing his term of Prime Minister not long afterwards but it was budget related.

    October 22, 2012 at 4:39 am | Reply
  19. sask

    Sorry meant to finis that statement with that it was too hush hush to say anything in the house of commons.

    October 22, 2012 at 4:41 am | Reply

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