Robert Baer
Baer in 2008
Robert Booker Baer

(1952-07-11) July 11, 1952 (age 71)
Alma mater
SpouseDayna Williamson
Espionage activity
Service branchCentral Intelligence Agency
Service years1976–97

Robert Booker Baer (born July 11, 1952) is an American author and a former CIA case officer who was primarily assigned to the Middle East.[1] He is Time's intelligence columnist[1] and has contributed to Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.[2] Baer speaks eight languages, won the CIA Career Intelligence Medal[3] and is a frequent commentator and author about issues related to international relations, espionage, and U.S. foreign policy. He hosted the History reality television series Hunting Hitler.[4] He is an Intelligence and Security Analyst for CNN.[5] His book See No Evil was adapted by the director Stephen Gaghan and used as the basis for the film Syriana, with George Clooney playing Baer's character.[6]

Early life

Baer was born in Los Angeles.[7] At the age of 9, his parents divorced and he moved to Aspen, Colorado, where he aspired to become a professional skier.[7] After a fairly poor academic performance during his first year at high school, his mother, a wealthy heiress, took him to Europe where they traveled throughout Europe including Paris during the 1968 riots, Germany, Prague during the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, and Russia.[8]


Baer worked field assignments, starting in Madras and New Delhi, India; and subsequently in Beirut, Lebanon; Damascus, Syria; Khartoum, Sudan; Paris, France; Dushanbe, Tajikistan; Morocco; the former republic of Yugoslavia, and Salah al-Din in Iraqi Kurdistan during his 21 years with the CIA. During the mid-1990s, Baer was sent to Iraq with the mission of organizing opposition to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein but was recalled and investigated by the FBI for allegedly conspiring to assassinate the Iraqi leader.[9][10]

Baer wrote the book See No Evil documenting his experiences while working for the Agency. The C.I. Desk: FBI and CIA Counterintelligence As Seen From My Cubicle, by Christopher Lynch (Dog Ear Publishing), describes parts of the contentious CIA pre-publication review process for Baer's first book. In a blurb for See No Evil, Seymour Hersh said Baer "was considered perhaps the best on-the-ground field officer in the Middle East." In the book, Baer offers an analysis of the Middle East through the lens of his experiences as a CIA operative.

In 2004, he told a reporter of the British political weekly New Statesman, regarding the way the CIA deals with terrorism suspects, "If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear – never to see them again – you send them to Egypt."[11][12]

He retired to Silverton, Colorado.[13]


In January 2002, Baer wrote about the events of the September 11 attacks in The Guardian: "[D]id bin Laden act alone, through his own al-Qaida network, in launching the attacks? About that I'm far more certain and emphatic: no."[14] He later stated, "For the record, I don't believe that the World Trade Center was brought down by our own explosives, or that a rocket, rather than an airliner, hit the Pentagon. I spent a career in the CIA trying to orchestrate plots, wasn't all that good at it, and certainly couldn't carry off 9/11. Nor could the real pros I had the pleasure to work with."[15]

In 2008, video interviewed 'live' by 'We Are' in Los Angeles about pre-9/11 intel, Baer exclaimed: "I know the guy that went into his broker in San Diego (on September 10th) and said, 'Cash me out, it's going down tomorrow'...His brother worked at the White House!" [16][17]

In June 2009, Baer commented on the disputed election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iranian President and the protests that accompanied it. "For too many years now, the Western media have looked at Iran through the narrow prism of Iran's liberal middle class—an intelligentsia that is addicted to the Internet and American music and is more ready to talk to the Western press, including people with money to buy tickets to Paris or Los Angeles; but do they represent the real Iran?"[1] Following reports of an attempt by Iranian agents to assassinate the ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the United States, Baer told Die Zeit that he doubted that Iran was behind the attempt since there seemed no obvious motive and Iran had been more careful in past collaboration with terrorists.[18]

Baer has long been a supporter of the theory that the PFLP-GC brought down Pan Am Flight 103. Later he began to promote the theory that Iran was behind the bombing. On August 23, 2009, Baer claimed that the CIA had known from the start that the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 had been orchestrated by Iran, and that a secret dossier proving this was to be presented as evidence in the final appeal by convicted Libyan bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi. According to Baer, this suggests that Megrahi's withdrawal of the appeal in return for a release on compassionate grounds was encouraged to prevent this information from being presented in court.[19]

Personal life

Baer has been married twice. He has two daughters and a son from his first marriage,[7] to a State Department secretary.[20] His second marriage was to fellow CIA operative Dayna Williamson.[21]

Books and media

In 2015–2017, Baer has appeared on Hunting Hitler (2015–2017),[22] and JFK Declassified: Tracking Oswald.[23]

Robert Baer has never written or promoted a book with the title "The Secret of the White House", but a fabricated interview with him about promoting this book in Canada has been circulating on the web since 2012. In this fabricated interview the USA was accused of having caused the collapse of Yugoslavia.[24][25][26][27][28]





See also


  1. ^ a b c Robert Baer "Don't Assume Ahmadinejad Really Lost", Time website, June 16, 2009
  2. ^ "Robert Baer – Authors – Random House". Retrieved March 18, 2010.
  3. ^ "Interview with Robert Baer (as uploaded on you tube) by Lowell Bergman – 2 hours 19 minutes". Jewish community center San Francisco – retelecast by C-Span. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
  4. ^ "Bob Baer – Hunting Hitler Cast | HISTORY Channel". The HISTORY Channel.
  5. ^ "Robert Baer Intelligence and Security Analyst". CNN. Retrieved April 6, 2017.
  6. ^ Halbfinger, David M (May 15, 2005). "Hollywood has a Hot New Agency". The New York Times. Retrieved April 15, 2009.
  7. ^ a b c Draper, Electa (August 15, 2006). "Ex-CIA Middle East field officer a man in demand". Chicago Tribune.
  8. ^ Ketcham, Christopher (October 23, 2009). "Unlearning the CIA". Counterpunch.
  9. ^ Ignatius, David (2002) "Not a job for Kissinger," Washington Post. December 20, 2002.
  10. ^ Turner, Michael A. (2006) Why Secret Intelligence Fails (revised edition). Potomac Books: Washington DC. ISBN 1-57488-891-9
  11. ^ America's gulag. By Stephen Grey. 17 May 2004. New Statesman.
  12. ^ America's Gulag on Stephen Grey's Website By Stephen Grey. 17 May 2004. Stephen Grey.
  13. ^ Ex-spy feels at home in mountain town | Wyoming News | Retrieved 2016-11-14.
  14. ^ Baer, Robert (January 11, 2002). "See No Evil (Part 2)". The Guardian.
  15. ^ Baer, Robert (December 7, 2007). "Commentary: The CIA's Gift to Conspiracy Theorists". Time. Archived from the original on December 8, 2007. Retrieved March 18, 2010.
  16. ^ "Part 4 – 9 ⁄11 Suspects – Robert Baer (Corbett Report)" – via
  17. ^ "The real Suspects of 911 (Corbett Report)" – via
  18. ^ Schack, Ramon (October 13, 2011). "Warum sollte Iran so ein Risiko auf sich nehmen?". Zeit Online (in German).
  19. ^ "CIA Spook says Megrahi was freed before appeal humiliated justice system". Sunday Mail. Retrieved June 5, 2010.
  20. ^ Ian, Shapira (March 14, 2012). "How to keep your marriage going when you're in the CIA". Washington Post.
  21. ^ Pesta, Abigail (February 14, 2011). "A Real-Life Spy Couple – Robert Baer and Dayna Williamson hid their real identities and spent their lives trying to be invisible. Then they got married". Marie Claire.
  22. ^ "Hunting Hitler – Watch Online | Full Episodes on History". Archived from the original on October 10, 2015.
  23. ^ "JFK Declassified: Tracking Oswald | Schedule and Episodes on HISTORY". Archived from the original on May 13, 2017.
  24. ^ "A fictional interview with a former CIA agent has been circulating in the Balkans for a decade". (BiH). March 24, 2023. Retrieved March 31, 2023. Cupurdija claimed that he interviewed Baer in Canada, where he was promoting the book "The secret of the White House". Baer never wrote or promoted such a book, nor was he in Canada at the time the interview was published. On the other hand, Baer did publish several books about his experiences working for this agency, in which he never claimed anything close to what the obscure author of the fake interview wrote. Finally, Robert Baer confirmed for Raskrinkavanje that he never gave the said interview.
  25. ^ Ramon Schack (February 24, 2016). "Der Staat Jugoslawien stand dem strategischen Entwurf der USA im Wege Ex-CIA-Agent Robert Baer über die Strategien der CIA während des Jugoslawien-Krieges)". Telepolis (in German). Retrieved March 31, 2023. (fabricated interview in German translation)
  26. ^ "Secrets of the White House - Confession of a CIA Agent". December 24, 2015. Retrieved March 31, 2023. (fabricated interview in English translation)
  27. ^ Milos Cupurdij (October 10, 2015). "nterview with the Former Officer of the CIA, Robert Baer". Retrieved March 31, 2023. (fabricated interview in English translation)
  28. ^ Napisao Miloš Ćupurdija, četvrtak (September 6, 2012). "Intervju sa Robertom Baerom - Kraj Jugoslavije". Moje Novine (in Croatian). Archived from the original on September 9, 2012. (origin of the fabricated Interview on a platform for aspiring young journalist)
  29. ^ "Many rivers films – independent film production company making documentary films, investigative journalism, dramas, and feature films".
  30. ^ "many rivers films – independent film production company making documentary films, investigative journalism, dramas, and feature films".
  31. ^ "many rivers films – independent film production company making documentary films, investigative journalism, dramas, and feature films".
  32. ^ "many rivers films – independent film production company making documentary films, investigative journalism, dramas, and feature films".