By Chaitra Somasundar, Staff Writer
The Dark Knight. James Bond. It makes me wonder about what real world heroes are like. Those who risk their own life every day to make the world a better place. Our world’s heroes – undercover agents. Being double-skinned is one of the hardest and dangerous jobs in the world. From exposing murders, trafficking and scandals to saving the world from terrorism and war, they risk their safety every day. Here is a list recognizing a few such heroes.
Antonio Joseph “Tony” Mendez is a retired American CIA technical operations officer widely known for his management of the “Canadian Caper”. During a powerful revolution in Iran, students seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, taking up to 20 hostages for 444 days. When the American government failed to end the tensions between Iran and USA, Canada and the CIA launched a joint operation led by Tony Mendez to safely extricate the diplomats. They posed as a Canadian film crew as a part of their cover. In January of 1980, everyone involved successfully escaped Iran disguised as a movie production team.
Jaoquin Garcia, a retired FBI agent is best known for his undercover work infiltrating the Gambino Crime Family (one of the “Five Families”) in New York. He penetrated the Gambino Family for about three years as “Jack Falcone,” a self proclaimed jewel thief and drug dealer. Gregory DePalma, a high ranking Gambino family capo even offered him the position of a “made man!” Jack led to 34 mobster arrests and convictions including the acting boss of the Mafia, Arnold Squiteiri. In 2008, Jack released a book called “Making Jack Falcone” giving details about some of his undercover cases and experiences with the FBI.
Dominick Proliferone is the undercover cop who brought “The Iceman” to justice. Richard Kulinski was an American contract killer who claimed to have killed up to 250 people in his criminal career. He was given the name “The Iceman” for his method of freezing the victim to mask the time of death. An eighteen month long investigation was led by Dominick Proliferone who pretended to be a hitman to get close to Kulinski, and hired him for a fake murder. Polifrone recorded every conversation, and Kulinski was arrested not long after their exchange and charged with five counts of murder.
Carmelo Abbate is an Italian journalist and photographer. This undercover reporter posed as the boyfriend of one of the men in the inner circles of the Vatican’s priesthood! He exposed major escort servicing, child abuse, priests involved in pedophilia and sex rackets. He released videos, reports and even a book called “Sex and the Vatican: a secret journey in the reign of the chaste” which became a bestseller in France.
Antonio Salas is the pseudonym of a Spanish journalist who is forced to keep his identity secret. He went undercover posing as Carlos’s webmaster (yes, Carlos, the Jackal, based on whom the Bourne Identity series was created). He has never been a part of any government organization and has lived for “a year as a Nazi skinhead, a year and half as a dealer of women, [and] six years as an international terrorist” to expose human trafficking, a terrorist legend and many other crimes. He has published multiple books such as Diary of a Skin, Operation Princess etc.