Robert Baer lives in Colorado
Robert Baer is a former spy who wrote Sleeping with the Devil and See No Evil, which was the basis for the movie Syriana.
What made you join the CIA?
It was a combination of a prank and a sense of adventure. I had this very odd life where I got to travel around a lot and went to strange places at strange times. The whole idea just sort of got into my blood. I knew nothing about the CIA or espionage, but it seemed like an adventure itself and I never expected to get in.
What are some of the commonly held misconceptions about being a spy?
It’s ultimately very dull work. You’re lucky if it is interspersed with serious accomplishment or danger. It is generally waiting for things to happen. And you run into the same kind of mediocrity that you encounter anywhere else in life.
(The books he likes are Black Mass by John Gray, Travels into Bokhara by Alexander Burnes, The Insurrection in Mesopotamia by Aylmer Haldane, The Tartar Steppe by Dinno Buzzati and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carre.)
Read more: Robert Baer on Being a Spy, The Browser>>
– ‘Someone was always out to get you’, 2005 interview (photo by Dan Tuffs) in The Telegraph>>