The escape plot was run by Antonio Mendez, head of the CIA's extraction team and a master of disguise.
came up with an idea so daring and potentially foolish that it seemed destined for Hollywood... and indeed it was.
invented a fake sci-fi film called 'Argo' (from the actual name of the CIA mission, a reference to Jason and the Argonauts).
After announcing the production to the movie industry, Mendez
put together a team of real 1970s Hollywood actors, directors and producers - along with covert CIA officers.
They would travel to revolutionary Iran under a foreign film visa, and while 'scouting locations' throughout the country they would track down the six Americans who were hiding out.
After giving them false identities as part of the film crew, they would spirit them back across the border.
One part 'Ocean's 11' and another part 'Black Hawk Down', Mendez's mind-bogglingly complicated and risky gamble paid off: each escapee was extracted without a shot being fired.
is considered one of the greatest officers in CIA history.
The story of this, his
greatest mission, has never been told.