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We all agreed the meeting would occur at 5 p. At this initial meeting with Ken, we learned that at least two more ambassadors in the local diplomatic corps and some of their staff also were involved in hiding and caring for the six. Laingen, another Embassy staff officer, and the Embassy security officer were to spend the entire crisis living in the rooms of the Foreign Ministry, where they had gone to protest the demonstrations at the gates of the US Embassy just as it was about to be overrun.

Laingen was free to depart Iran any time, but he refused to abandon his colleagues. We asked and received Ken's permission to send a message to Washington through Ottawa, confirming our arrival in Iran and informing everyone concerned that we planned to meet with the six that evening. We were also introduced to Roger Lucy, who was house-sitting with the four Americans staying at Sheardown's house. Roger spoke Farsi fluently; it was he who discovered our mistake on the visas. Claude Gauthier was another member of Ken's staff. He was a burly French Canadian responsible for the Embassy's physical security.

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Claude earned the nickname of "Sledge" during these final days because he was destroying classified communications equipment with a pound sledgehammer. Everyone at the Embassy was friendly and informal; they seemed amused by our business. When it was time to go to meet the six, Julio and I left with Claude.

Ken had left earlier to see his wife off at Mehrabad and to pick up the Staffords, the two houseguests who were staying with him. We all arrived at the Sheardown house at about the same time. The house was on the outskirts of town in a well-to-do neighborhood. It was palatial, with a high wall surrounding it.

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The six houseguests rushed to meet us as we entered the house. They appeared in good spirits and were happy to see us. We spent the first few minutes getting acquainted. Anders, about 50, had been head of the consular section, and the two couples had worked for him.

Those from the Consulate had escaped out the back door to the street when the militants had been breaking in the front door. Schatz had had an office in a building across the street from the Embassy, and he had gone directly to the Swedish Embassy, where he hid for a week.

The Swedish flag was his blanket.

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I told them about the three cover stories that we were offering for their consideration. I also explained what had to be accomplished during the next two days and how we would proceed through the airport on Monday. There was considerable discussion about the mechanics of the controls and how we would respond if questioned about our presence in Tehran. Only one exhibited anxiety about the risks involved. Finally, I instructed the six to go into the dining room to discuss among themselves whether they wanted to go to the airport in a group or individually and which cover story they preferred.

I waited about 15 minutes and then walked in on them. They were debating the questions, and I distracted them by doing a bit of sleight-of-hand with two sugar cubes. I had used this trick many times to illustrate how to set up a deception operation and to overcome apparent obstacles. It helped to persuade reluctant subjects that they were involved with professionals in the art of deception. The six decided to go as a group, using the Studio Six cover.

The six showed us around the house, where four of them had passed nearly three months in a fair amount of comfort. The huge, well-furnished house had a kitchen with enough equipment for a modern restaurant.

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The Americans had spent a good bit of their time planning and cooking gourmet dinners for themselves and the few outsiders they saw. They also had become masters at the game of Scrabble. They had visited the houseguests more than once. They wanted to meet the CIA officers who had come to oversee the escape of the six people they had come to know well.

Both these men were to prove helpful to us. When it was time for Julio and me to go back to our hotel, Claude dropped us down the block from the hotel. He would pick us up the next morning to take us to the Canadian Embassy. On Saturday, we had to put the finishing touches on the Canadian passports and send our final plan of action to Ottawa and Washington for approval. The next two days passed swiftly. We spent most of Saturday filling in the passports with the appropriate entries, including the Iranian visas issued in Canada. The visa exemplar had been collected only recently for us by a Canadian friend in Ottawa.

It was a better fit for the ostensible travel itinerary of the Studio Six team. Their cover legend and airline tickets showed them arriving in Tehran from Hong Kong at approximately the same hour that Julio and I had arrived from Zurich. Their flight had actually arrived on that day and time, and passengers disembarking would have been processed by the same immigration officers who had processed us.

Consequently, the Iranian entry cachets stamped in our passports served as prime exemplars for those we entered in the passports of the six. The worst thing that can happen when making false passport entries is to forge the signature of an immigration officer on an ostensible arrival cachet and then discover that this same individual is about to stamp you out of the country.

He would know that he was not at work the day your passport says you arrived. You have to know how all these systems work.

Julio would complete the Farsi notations on enough of these, and each of the six would write in his or her false biographic information and sign in the new aliases. Again, the forms we had received and filled in on arrival were our models. We spread out our forgery materials on a table in Ken Taylor's office.

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He spent most of his day making last-minute arrangements to close the Embassy, sitting nearby and listening to our banter about some fine point of making false documents, or consulting with us on some detail of the arrangements for the exfiltration. Claude was wielding his sledgehammer somewhere in the building and burning and shredding classified paper. On Sunday morning, I completed a long cable outlining the operations plan, and the message was transmitted to Ottawa.

One of the details in the plan explained that:. The Canadian Ambasssador has advised them to seek a location elsewhere if possible, but has offered one of the Embassy's vacant residences as guest quarters They heeded his advice, and after looking around a few days, have decided to leave Iran. This provided details that paralleled the true facts.

It also gave us the option of bringing the six to the airport on Monday in an Embassy vehicle with an Embassy driver, thereby solving the problem of finding reliable transportation to the airport. Laverna then could also reconfirm the airline reservations, which would be a normal service performed for Canadian guests of the Embassy.

Everything was in good order by Sunday night 27 January, when we reconvened at the Sheardown house. The six houseguests were impressed with their documentation packages, and we were impressed with the transformation of their appearances and personalities. On Friday night, we had given each of them their cover legend as prepared by Joe Missouri in the Studio Six portfolio. We also had provided them with disguise materials and props that would help fill out their roles.

They had scrounged clothes from one another and restyled their images to look more "Hollywood. The most dramatic change was made by the rather distinguished and conservative Bob Anders. Now, his snow-white hair was a "mod" blow dry. He was wearing tight trousers with no pockets and a blue silk shirt unbuttoned down the front with his chest hair cradling a gold chain and medallion.

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With his topcoat resting across his shoulders like a cape, he strolled around the room with the flair of a Hollywood dandy. The mental attitudes of the six were positive. We began briefing them on the details of their ostensible prior travel and arrival in Iran. They soon seemed to have grasped these details fairly well.

We warned them that there was to be a hostile interrogation staged after dinner to test their ability to answer the questions under stress.