Former Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor is interviewed about the Canadian Caper and Robert Wright’s book Our Man in Tehran.
Coming at a low point in America's self-esteem, the news was sensational, and the stylish, gregarious, unorthodox Taylor became an instant celebrity. He received the US Congressional Gold Medal and thousands of other gifts in a 10-month orgy of gratitude. In 1998 it was revealed that the CIA had played a role in planning the escape. After the American embassy was seized, Taylor became the "de facto CIA station chief" in Tehran as the result of a direct request made by US President Jimmy Carter to Prime Minister Joe Clark. In actuality, Taylor was managing a Canadian station that the Americans wanted to join after their own network was destroyed. Taylor managed the CIA agent, code-named Bob, assigned to the operation, and provided intelligence about the situation and hostages at the embassy, and options for getting the six Americans out. The information was provided to the CIA through Ottawa and Washington.
The story of the Canadian Caper has been put on the big screen, most notably in 1981 as Escape from Iran: the Canadian Caper, in which Taylor was portrayed by the iconic Gordon PINSENT. He was portrayed by another Canadian actor, Victor GARBER, in the 2012 film Argo, which was based on the event.Taylor was Canadian consul general in New York, 1981-84, and then left the public service. He worked extensively in the private sector, serving as a senior executive with Nabisco Brands and as a board member of a variety of companies in Canada, the US and Mexico. He has consulted with clients on issues of political risk, international marketing and strategic accommodation with government agencies.
He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1980.
Author NORMAN HILLMER Revised: LAURA NEILSON
Links to Other Sites
The Canadian Caper
A Canadian Encyclopedia feature article about the former Canadian ambassador to Iran, Ken Taylor, who led the secret evacuation of six US diplomats from Iran after the American embassy in Tehran was overtaken by militants in 1979.
Jimmy Carter: 'Argo' Was Good, But Inaccurate
View a brief clip in which former US President Jimmy Carter confirms Canada's leading role in the famous "Canadian Caper" hostage escape from Iran. From YouTube.
Ken Taylor and the Canadian Caper
An account of the heroic actions taken by Ken Taylor and the Canadian embassy in Tehran after the American embassy was overrun during Ayatollah Khomeini’s Iranian Revolution. From the website for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.
‘Argo’ trailer retells a real-life ‘Canadian caper’
See the trailer for the movie "Argo," a spy thriller that offers an American slant on the incredible "Canadian caper." From Yahoo! Movies (Canada).
Escape from Iran: The Canadian Caper
A brief review of the 1981 film about Ken Taylor (Gordon Pinsent) and his role in the dramatic escape of six Americans from Iran during the Iranian Revolution. From The New York Times.
Canadian Caper helps Americans escape Tehran
View a vintage 1980 CBC News story about the Canadian-led covert operation that rescued six American diplomats from Iran in the wake of the 1979 hostage crisis.
Spying in Iran spurred by threat to U.S. lives
An interview with Ken Taylor about his daring rescue of six Americans who came under Canadian protection during the Irian hostage crisis. From the Globe & Mail.
Ken Taylor: Our Man In Iran
Watch an video in which Globe & Mail columnist Michael Valpy interviews Ken Taylor about the "Canadian Caper" and "Our Man in Iran," a book about the event written by Robert Wright. From vimeo.com.
Kenneth D. Taylor
Watch excerpts from a Concordia University lecture delivered by former Canadian ambassador Kenneth D. Taylor. From YouTube.
Watch a video in which American newsman Tom Brokaw highlights numerous examples of Canada-US cooperation in various civilian and military sectors, including the famous 1980 "Canadian Caper." From YouTube.