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'On Wings of Eagles': What's true?

‘On Wings of Eagles’: What’s true? — Ross Perot’s ”rescue” of two men from a Teheran prison has become more fantastic with each incarnation

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Ross Perot sure can grow a tall tale, and the proof is now on video. His 1979 ”rescue” of two Electronic Data Systems executives from a Teheran prison — enshrined in Ken Follett’s best-seller-turned-NBC miniseries On Wings of Eagles (for which Perot held approval rights) — has become more fantastic with each incarnation. In the fawning book, the publisher’s note says, ”This is a work of fiction,” while the author’s preface claims ”every word of what follows is true.” But the television docudrama (1986, Worldvision), takes poetic license to new heights.

Book: Cell block for EDS execs contains a television.
Video: Cell block contains foot-long rats.

Book: EDS’ senior Iranian employee (Abolhasan) mediates between Americans and Iranian officials.
Video: Senior Iranian employee (Mohammed) declares himself ”an officer in the Secret Islamic Army of the Party of God” and machine-guns EDS office.

Book: Team interrogated by Kurdish tribesmen in ”room furnished with nothing but a beautiful Persian carpet.”
Video: Interrogated by Kurds in room furnished with large portraits of Marx and Lenin.

Book: Iranian magistrate politely asks for escaped prisoners back.
Video: Magistrate chases EDS-ers to Turkish border in army chopper.

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