by Suzanne Kelly
The small theater in Washington was packed with friends and admirers of Antonio Mendez. The highly-decorated former CIA officer, played by Ben Affleck in the movie 'Argo,' is the real-life mastermind behind the once-classified 1979 operation to sneak six Americans out of Iran in the aftermath of the Embassy siege in 1979.
But this screening was markedly different than the premiere. Instead of the film stars like Ben Affleck and John Goodman, the Washington screening was mainly filled with the people who live their lives in the shadows.
While the movie definitely invokes a pulse-pounding pace that typically only exists in Hollywood, the extent to which Mendez was able to pull off the daring real-life rescue is impressive. Impressive enough to not only earn him a place on the silver screen, but he was also awarded the Intelligence Star for Valor, one of the highest honors a CIA Officer can receive.
The Spy Museum's Director, Peter Earnest (a former CIA Officer himself) paid tribute, as did the audience, with a standing ovation after the movie. Proof enough that coming out of the shadows can have it's perks