Escape-room challenges are popular among fans of spy thrillers, but what if your life actually depended on the result? This series shares tales and tactics of memorable escapes, rescues, and evasions from the 1970s through today. Explore ingenious rescue and escape plans with the people who developed them and used them, as well as experts familiar with these life-or-death operations. Discover how intelligence services bring back assets from abroad in a hot or Cold War and learn about the 21st-century approach to training people in self-escape and surviving a rescue.
Sept. 27 Leave No Soldier Behind
On March 23, 2003, PFC Jessica Dawn Lynch was serving as an Army unit supply specialist with the 507th Maintenance Company when her convoy was ambushed by Iraqi forces during the Battle of Nasiriyah. Lynch was seriously injured. Her subsequent recovery by U.S. Special Operations Forces seven days later was the first successful rescue of an American prisoner of war since Vietnam and the first ever of a woman. Greg Elder, chief historian of the Defense Intelligence Agency, discusses the operation and the innovative ways that the agency supported Lynch’s successful exfiltration. An artifact used in the mission is on display during the program.
Oct. 4 RAPTOR Takes Flight
Tony Mendez is famous for the rescue of six stranded American diplomats depicted in the film Argo, but that was not his only delicate operation in Iran in 1979. He and Jonna Mendez share the extraordinary exfiltration story of the CIA’s top source in the country. An agent code-named RAPTOR had served in the Shah’s armed services, and that close connection had provided the CIA with extraordinary intelligence. When Khomeini took over, he went into hiding and was in grave danger. Hear how Mendez travelled to Iran in the tumultuous spring of 1979 and got RAPTOR out before the Revolutionary Guard could find him.
Oct. 11 Next Stop: Execution
When KGB officer Oleg Gordievsky grew disillusioned with the USSR in the early 1970s, he became a prized source for Britain’s MI6. Over the years, he alerted Western intelligence services to many KGB operations and intelligence assets and provided a timely warning about the Soviet leadership’s overreaction to the 1983 NATO “Able Archer” nuclear war game. In 1985, Gordievsky, then acting KGB chief of station in London, came under suspicion and was recalled to Moscow. Placed under intense investigation, Gordievsky flew his distress signal and MI6 initiated an emergency exfiltration plan. Join Daniel J. Mulvenna, a retired RCMP counter-espionage specialist and longtime friend of Gordievsky, for an in-depth exploration of his remarkable espionage career and daring escape from certain death.
Oct. 18 How Not To Die
What’s the best way to guarantee your survival in a high-risk situation? That you’ve been trained by Malcolm W. Nance. A career counter-terrorism and intelligence officer for the U.S. government's Special Operations, Homeland Security, and Intelligence agencies, Nance is a survival, evasion, resistance, and escape specialist and founder of the Advanced Terrorism, Abduction, and Hostage Survival School. Nance discusses his own close calls, as well as the latest approaches to armed recovery and hostage rescue.
Photo Caption: Malcome W. Nance, founder of the Advanced Terrorism, Abduction and Hostage Survival School (Photo: TAPSTRI)