De Pasquale’s Dozen with Former CIA Operative Mike Baker

Lisa De Pasquale
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Posted: Apr 04, 2016 12:01 AM
De Pasquale’s Dozen with Former CIA Operative Mike Baker
There’s a meme going around on Facebook that asks what person from TV you would want to rescue you if you were kidnapped.  Obviously, the first person who comes to my mind is Mike Baker from Fox News Channel’s Red Eye with Tom Shillue and The Greg Gutfeld Show, Travel Channel’s America Declassified, CNN and other media networks.
Baker was a covert field operative for over 15 years for the CIA, where he specialized in counterterrorism, counternarcotics and counterinsurgency operations.  He’s engaged and led operations all over the world, including Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, the former Soviet Union, among many other undisclosed locations. 
After leaving the CIA, Baker co-founded Diligence LLC, a global intelligence, investigations, risk management and security firm.  He has built offices and teams in London, New York, Washington DC, Moscow, Sao Paulo, Brussels and Geneva, as well as an intelligence collection team in Iraq of over 300 expat and local personnel.
But that’s not all. Mike Baker now has a mission for you “hidden” in his answers below.
The De Pasquale's Dozen asks political figures and free market-minded writers and entertainers to take a break from politics and talk about their pop culture obsessions.
1. What's your favorite movie line and who would you like to say it to?
From the great film Cool Hand Luke. Strother Martin plays the head of the prison, the Captain…and his famous line “…What we have here…is failure to communicate.”
I say it to my three little boys, Scooter, Sluggo and Muggsy, whenever they get themselves into trouble, which thankfully isn’t very often. 
2. Tell me about your favorite teacher and how he or she influenced your life.
Elementary school, Mr. Hendershot, when I was in 5th grade, he seemed like he was 70, maybe 80 years old.  Looking back now, he was probably in his 40s.  Everyday he seemed genuinely happy to see us all walk through the door and into his classroom.  He always had a joke to tell, and spent time teaching us how to properly tell jokes…comedic timing…pausing for effect…he was obviously a frustrated standup comic.  But his enthusiasm and good humor were infectious.
3. If you could be paid to do anything besides your current job, what would it be?
A writer, particularly screenplays. I’m not disciplined enough--or maybe I’m just legitimately too busy--to slog through the writing process.  But I’ve always been fascinated with creative writing.  I continue to hope that at some point I’ll be able to sit still long enough to create something that someone, somewhere, will read or see on the screen and think, “…great writing.”
4. What canceled show would you put back on the air?
America Declassified.  A terrific show produced by a really talented group of people. It aired on Travel Channel a couple seasons ago.  Did I mention I was a co-host?  It’s getting a second chance starting Sunday evenings on Travel Channel in late March 2016 when they re-air the first season.  I’m asking all my family, friends and strangers to mount a write-in campaign demanding that Travel order up a second season.  Don’t just ask, demand it.  In no uncertain terms.  But be polite. Politeness counts.  
I’d also like to see them bring back The Andy Griffith Show.  Ron Howard could take over from his dad as the Sheriff in Mayberry.  I’m pretty sure Floyd and Aunt Bee have passed on, so there will be some key roles to fill. 
 5. What's your current “guilty pleasure” television show?
Has been and always will be South Park.  Trey Parker and Matt Stone are certified geniuses.  Certified by the International Certification Agency (ICA), so it’s official and recognized by the UN. 
6. What’s the best present you ever received as a child?
When I was ten I got a Crossman air rifle for Christmas.  I spent an insane amount of time at target practice down in my basement where my Pop set up a shooting gallery for me.  Other kids were out playing catch or riding bikes, I was busy learning how to improve my accuracy and range.  Two of my little guys, Scooter and Sluggo, now have their own air rifles.  It’s a great way to learn respect for weapons and to teach responsibility and discipline. 
7. What’s the best present you ever gave?
Surprising my amazingly beautiful and smart wife, Emily, with her engagement ring. I believe she was genuinely surprised and luckily for me said yes.  Otherwise I would’ve had to return it to Tiffany’s and then it would have been the suckiest present I ever bought.  Second best was possibly an antique NY Rangers bobblehead doll for my wonderful daughter Mackenzie. She’s a rabid Rangers fan.  Possibly the only girl on the planet that would be super excited to get a Rangers bobblehead for her birthday.
8. What advice do you remember your mother or father giving you?
 My Pop passed away a few years back…best man I’ll ever know.  My Mum is still alive and doing great.  They were terrific at guiding without sermonizing. They taught my brothers, sister and I the key lessons: be honest, work hard, take nothing for granted, loyalty, patriotism and respect for others.  We were blessed with terrific parents.
9. Who would be on the perfect Red Eye panel?
Groucho Marx, Curly from the Three Stooges, Cartman and Elvis.  You did not stipulate that the guests had to be currently living, or not animated.
10. What books are on your reading list?
I read mostly history and biographies.  Currently I’m rereading D-Day by Stephen Ambrose and also David McCullough’s 1776
11. What would you like tomorrow's headline to say? 
“Miracle cure ends human misery, suffering, hunger and poverty.”
12. Tell me about the moment you decided to enter the political arena.

I’m assuming this is a question for someone who decided to enter the political arena.  If I may just quickly climb up on my soapbox….there, okay…I’d like to see us return to the days of actual citizen politicians, as opposed to career politicians.  If we could enact term limits, perhaps two four-year terms for Congress and two six-year terms for the Senate, and combine that with caps on what can be spent for campaigning, we would see the quality of our elected officials go up immensely.  I don’t understand why the population--every demographic--hasn’t marched on Washington, D.C. demanding term limits and serious, common sense campaign finance reform.  Until we do that, the dysfunction, big money and special interests, on both sides, will continue unabated.  No one should be able to make a career out of being an elected government official.  And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll climb down off the soapbox and head to the bar.