Much talk in the media today about how Ryan Fogle, the captured CIA spy in Russia, was a rank amateur because — amongst other things — he was wearing a daft wig. The whole embarrassing affair seems almost perfectly timed for publication of Jeremy Scahill’s new book “Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield”.

In this hefty and rather dense tome there are two chapters devoted to the strange tale of Raymond Davis, the CIA operative who was captured by Lahore cops a few years ago. He only got out of Pakistan after the US gov paid millions in blood money to the families of the men Davis shot. The first Davis chapter contains some lovely details about what Davis was carrying in his vehicle and that haul included — along with SIM cards, GPS devices ammunition etc —  wigs and masks.

The excellent CIA analyst Bob Baehr on Radio 4 this morning (in a great interview someone has decided should not be on the podcast page) puts a brave face on the fiasco by claiming that wigs, make-up and the like are just there to make any casual onlookers “forget the face”, and even went so far as to suggest that over-sized moustaches are also used quite frequently in this way.

So I think we can conclude that the next time the Us appoints a badly-coiffured secretary to the chief immigration officer of the Department of Tourist Visas for any US embassy anywhere in the world, we can all tap our noses and give a knowing wink.

The cover, if ever there was any, like Mr Fogle’s awful hair, is now well and truly blown.



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