1998 (1) Spring

Held Hostage in Iran: A First Tour Like No Other

By William J. Daugherty


I do not recall now the exact circumstances in which I was finally and firmly offered Tehran for a first tour, nor even who made the offer. I do know, though, that I did not hesitate a second to say yes. For the most part, I have not regretted that decision, but at times it is only with a prodigious dose of hindsight that I have been able to keep it in perspective. After all, it is not often that a

newly minted case officer in the CIA’ss Directorate of Operations (DO) spends his first tour in jail.

I was recruited into the Agency in 1978, during my last year of graduate school, and I entered on duty the next January. In my recruitment interviews, I was told about a special program managed by the DO’s Career Management Staff that was designed to place a few selected first-tour officers overseas in a minimal period of time, without lengthy exposure to the Washington fishbowl or reliance on light cover. The program sounded fine to me, and so I joined the Agency and was rushed through the Career Training (CT) program by skipping the standard six months of interim assignments.

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