Our chapter on national security and foreign policy contains an extensive discussion of the intelligence community, a topic that is doing fine box office right now.
Argo is a first-rate movie about the rescue of six US embassy employees during the Iranian hostage crisis that began in 1979. The amazing nub of the story is true: the CIA set up a dummy production company in Hollywood and disguised the six as a movie crew. Argo is not, however, completely accurate. At Slate, David Haglund points out ways in which the movie departs from history. SPOILER ALERT: the biggest departure involves the thrilling climax, so do not read the article until you've seen the movie.
On its website, the Central Intelligence Agency is now presenting a first-person account of the true story by Antonio Mendez, "exfiltration expert" who got the Americans out (played in the movie by Ben Affleck, who also directed). Here is a clip from an interview with Mendez:
Click here for the CIA's brief history of the episode.
Here are real-life artifacts: