As then-Associated Press Bureau Chief Terry Anderson, who would himself be taken hostage a year later, wrote in Den of Lions, his memoir of captivity,
The Hezbollah operation against Buckley was almost a model of counterespionage. Buckley had developed a woman Shiite agent named Zeynoub, sister of the woman involved in the assassination of American University President Kerr. Unknown to him, she was a double, a “responsible,” or official in Hezbollah, whose true loyalty was with the fundamentalist party. According to one usually reliable source, Buckley grew enamored of the woman and began an affair with her. Later, however, the professional CIA man began to grow suspicious. Before he decided to act on those suspicions, the woman became aware of them. With the information she now had, and access to his apartment, the kidnapping was easy. The decision to take him was made on Friday, March 15, 1984. On March 16, in an operation involving twelve cars full of Hezbollah agents, he was snatched.Buckley’s captors say they executed him on Oct. 1, 1985 as retaliation for an Israeli raid on Palestinian targets in Tunisia.
Buckley was tortured repeatedly and severely for the next ten months, under the supervision of Imad Mugniyeh, one of Hezbollah’s senior officials, and a Lebanese doctor. He resisted bravely, refusing to give any information, but as was inevitable eventually broke. The intensity and length of his interrogations broke his health, and led directly to his death.
The New York Times reported in December 1991 that “it was shortly after Mr. Buckley's killing in 1985 that President Ronald Reagan made the release of five other American hostages then being held in Lebanon a top national priority, a decision that led to a series of covert operations that culminated in the Iran-contra affair.”
- The Abduction of Terry Anderson
- Terry Anderson Recalls Hostage Ordeal in Lebanon
- The Arms-for-Hostages Iran-Contra Scandal
- Imad Mugniyah: Profile of a Hezbollah Terrorist
- Terry Anderson’s Den of Lions
- 2 Hostages, Slain in Beirut, Are Buried in U.S.(NYT)
- William Francis Buckley’s Arlington National Cemetery Web Page