The target reaction was unprepared, slow, original, and catastrophic. The reaction of the embassy staff was slow, unprepared and disorganized. Since the revolution the embassy had reduced its staff from several thousand down to less than 100 (Bowden, 2006, p. 19). The U. S. Marines stationed at the embassy were given orders not to shoot, but they could and did use tear gas. When the staff realized what was going on, several had already been taken hostage and they retreated to the second floor secure room and third floor vault in the Chancery. There they continued to destroy sensitive documents and dispose of weapons fearing what the students may do if they find them. When the staff in the embassy in communication with Washington realized that help was not coming they surrendered themselves to the militants (Bowden, 2006, pp. 63-81). Six of the embassy staff did elude capture and took refuge with officials from the Canadian embassy (Central Intelligence Agency, 2012).
November 14, 1979, President Carter ordered all Iranian assets in United States banks frozen, embargoed oil from Iran (PBS, 2013a) and sent an envoy to Iran, but Khomeini refuses to meet with them. In December, the United Nations Security Council passes a resolution calling for the release of the hostages and the Shah leaves the United States for Panama (CNN Library, 2014). That year the national Christmas tree near the White House was dark except for one star at the top of the tree because the hostages had not received the gift of freedom (Scott, 2000, p. 185).
The Central Intelligence Agency had developed a plan to rescue the six embassy employees who eluded capture from the militants. The plan was to pose as a Hollywood movie -production company called “Studio Six Productions” producing a movie called “Argo”. They covered every detail, even setting up fake offices in Hollywood. The Canadian government issued the six Canadian passports and the team brought disguises for the six to look like other members of the production team. President Carter approved the elaborate exfiltration plan which had risks to the Central Intelligence Agency team, embassy employees and their Canadian hosts. The plan was successful and the rescued employees landed in Zurich (Central Intelligence Agency, 2012).
April 25, 1980, day 132 of the crisis, President Carter approved a very ambitious rescue effort code name “Desert One” that failed. The plan required 14 aircraft, eight CH-53 helicopters and six C-130 transport aircraft. President Carter aborted the mission after three of the helicopters developed problems from a sandstorm they encountered. When they attempted to leave the remote location in the Iranian desert a helicopter collided with a C-130 aircraft killing eight and injuring three others. This rallied the Iranians, made any future attempt more difficult and embarrassed America (PBS, 2013a). Earlier that month, he had expelled...