x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

The Company We Keep: a husband-and-wife spy story

Robert and Dayna Baer, CIA spies who fell in love in the field and got married, take turns in penning alternate chapters in this chronicle of their lives as covert agents.

The Company We Keep
Robert Baer and Dayna Baer
Crown Publishing Group
Dh82
The Company We Keep Robert Baer and Dayna Baer Crown Publishing Group Dh82

This true-life tale of a romance between a pair of US agents begins with the caveat: "The CIA has reviewed the book to make sure it contains no classified information."

So, as expected after the top brass have been through the proofs, the reader is left with a somewhat inconsequential examination of the life of a spy.

Robert Baer - author of See No Evil- and his wife take turns in penning alternate chapters of this book, chronicling the tedious observation work and crushing paranoia that their jobs entailed, and how this itinerant lifestyle irrevocably wrecked their previous marriages.

Then, they describe first crossing paths while tailing a Hizbollah cell in Bosnia, before falling in love on a road trip across Europe, marrying and eventually growing disillusioned with the agency.

The Baers come across as likeable individuals - idealists who were lured into the spy game by a thirst for adventure and a belief in the American way. But ultimately, by allowing their former employers the right of revision, one cannot but wonder how much salacious detail they were forbade from putting into print.