'The Good Spy' steps behind CIA curtain

May 30, 2014 9:46 PM

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One day, in the spring of 1977, an American intelligence operative working in Beirut, Lebanon, sent home to his wife a chatty but carefully worded letter that could have gotten him fired, if his bosses had ever discovered it. "When I got to the usual place, he drove me into the camp, and I met .1 with the beard," the letter said. "He's funny-looking as his pictures, but a very bright and sincere man. Headquarters would go into outer space if they learned about this."

The letter-writer was Robert Ames, one of the U.S. government's top specialists on the Middle East, who was eventually killed in a 1983 truck bombing in Beirut. "Headquarters" meant the Central Intelligence Agency. And ".1 with the beard" was none other than the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Ame...

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