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Foreword to The Chameleon Conspiracy by Andre Le Gallo, a Former Top CIA Operative

The Chameleon Conspiracy On this one hundred year anniversary of Ian Fleming’s birth, Dan Gordon may become the new James Bond to rid us of post-Cold War threats.  Fleming’s novels have created an image of the successful intelligence officer who saves the world equipped with a Walther PPK, a martini shaken, not stirred, and a Scottish burr.  This tuxedo clad hero seems to comprise the Empire’s entire intelligence service. While both are masters at the game, Dan Gordon is closer to the reality I know. He is unarmed. He actually writes reports and worries about receipts.  He operates within a professional structure where approvals are necessary. While he is mindful of the chain of command, Dan is an independent, self-sufficient, and smart risk taker. After discoursing on life in the CIA to a group of high school students, one said, “Yes, but tell us about the time you were surrounded by a bunch of bad guys all pointing their guns at you.  How did you get away?” Dan Gordon understands that the essence of the profession is to take all the necessary risks to get the job done without ever allowing yourself to be surrounded by those bad guys, especially if they’re armed. What he shares with the Bond character is his intelligence, his tenaciousness, and his love of good food, although Dan doesn’t insist on five-star cuisine. And, so far, Dan hasn’t run into the easy and beautiful women of the Fleming tales. And, in my long CIA career, neither have I.

Khomeini’s 1979 overthrow of the Shah was the only successful religious revolution in modern times, helped by a confluence of factors, not the least of which was President Carter’s pressure to increase human rights on a Shah dying of cancer. More Iranians died at the hands of the new commissars than under the reviled SAVAK, the Iranian internal security service.  Driven by nationalist and theological ambitions, Iranian military expansion was blunted by the long and bloody Iraq-Iran war.  But its policies have not changed–only its tactics.  Within easy reach of Iran’s Shehab-III missiles, Israel is only too aware of the threat.  However, while the media focuses on Iran’s nuclear, missile, and satellite launcher programs, the regime of the mullahs has turned into a state mafia, a veritable criminal syndicate sans frontières. Under the radar, the Islamic Revolution’s storm troopers, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps is involved in terrorism (according to the State Department), arms shipments and assassinations (media), and illegal financial transactions (Department of the Treasury).

Haggai convinced me of his intelligence bona fides in the first minute I spoke with him He writes convincingly about the intricate world of intelligence.  He understands the feeling of the intelligence officer’s solitary walk to the lesser used departure gates of international air terminals as he heads for non-touristic destinations.  He brings to life the tension that characterizes the work of the clandestine operator in a hostile environment where the opposition is not just the police but the bloc komites, the Iranian Moral Policeand a citizenry cowed into submission into reporting all “suspicious” activities.

The vivid descriptions in the “The Chameleon Conspiracy” bring the reader inside the story.  A Haggai Carmon story requires an alert reader.  Each page reveals new layers that the protagonist and the reader discover together.  His use of suspense keeps the reader alert. Carmon succeeds in the first rule of the suspense writer, to have the reader wonder, “What would I do in that situation?” compelling him to turn the page to find out how the fictional protagonist did it and survived to the end of the story. Whether he writes about Jaffa or Iran, it is like being there.  And finally, as a long time practitioner of clandestine tradecraft, I take my hat off to Haggai.  Not all real intelligence officers have Dan Gordon’s savvy or imagination, the author’s gift to his brain-child

– Andre Le Gallo

Andre Le Gallo had a successful career with US Intelligence. As an operations officer with the CIA’s clandestine operations arm, he worked in collection, counter intelligence, and covert action, to include special operations.  His overseas assignments total 20 years, eleven of them as Chief of Station in four countries.  Serving for 13 years at CIA Headquarters, he held senior positions in the Directorate of Operations, was the National Intelligence Officer for Counterterrorism (National Intelligence Council) and was a senior D.O. representative in the Inspector General Corps. Andre Le Gallo is the author of Caliphate, a thriller inspired by his long career as an intelligence operative.