“Into the Lion’s Den” is an authoritative insider’s view of the Iraq Hostage Working Group, a little known and rarely seen collection of intelligence analysts and special operators, formed to handle a crisis already spinning out of control.
When two Bulgarian truck drivers were kidnapped in June 2004, President Bush assured the President of Bulgaria that he would bring the full might of the United States to bear to secure their release. This “full might” manifested itself in the form of a slight, intense, highly trained Navy SEAL, recently assigned to the US Ambassador’s staff in Baghdad, Iraq. “Into the Lion’s Den” is Dan O’Shea’s story of frustration and fear, terror and triumph in the murky world of kidnapping and ransom.
Nabs has been encouraging Dan to write this story ever since Dan began visiting Nabs in Bahrain during his rare periods of leave from Iraq. Eventually Nabs decided to start writing some of the incidents to help spur Dan on, and after some great writing from Dan, Nabs eventually managed to get a literary agent in London, and subsequently a ghost writer.
This project is still very much in the pipeline, but hopefully, a book proposal will be going to publishers this year, and it would be a dream come true for us both if the book was published some time next year.
Commander Daniel Patrick O’Shea is a qualified SEAL officer and 1991 graduate of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. In the 1990’s he deployed to the Middle East numerous times as a Platoon and Task Unit Commander with SEAL Team Three. In 1998, Dan left active duty to pursue a career in multi-sport adventure racing and a Masters degree in Executive Leadership. Following the attacks of 9/11, he immediately volunteered to return to active duty and served as a Special Operations Forces advisor to General Tommy Franks and US Central Command headquarters during the wartime planning and execution of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).
After two years on active duty, O’Shea accepted a final assignment to help establish the Inter-Agency coordination effort at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. Tasked by the Deputy Chief of Mission, he established and served as the Coordinator of the Hostage Working Group (HWG), the US Mission’s primary planning facilitator, intelligence fusion node, and coordinating element for all hostage-taking incidents in Iraq. The HWG brought to bear all elements of national and regional power: diplomacy, intelligence, law enforcement, and military, conventional, and special operations forces (SOF) as hostage situations developed. Arriving at the height of the hostage-taking campaign targeting foreigners averaging more than 40 per month; by the end of Dan’s service, foreign kidnappings in Iraq were in single digits with only one foreigner reported taken, in each of the last two months of his tour.
Recognised as the subject-matter expert on the kidnapping problem in Iraq, Dan has presented his findings to numerous military, US and international law enforcement agencies including the National Security Council-Hostage Working Group, US Central Command, US Special Operations Command, Scotland Yard, MI5, and MI6. A series lecturer at the Joint Special Operations University Dynamics of International Terrorism course, Dan continues to brief official and private sector organizations engaged on hostage recovery and survival, and to military personnel on the kidnapping threat in high-risk environments.
Dan is recognized as an Islamic-extremist subject matter expert, and past guest interviewee on CNN, BBC, and CBS and quoted in numerous publications including the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Time, and Esquire among many others. He has delivered his Into the Lions’ Den lecture series nationally and abroad. Published in the Journal of International Security Affairs, he served as a member of the McCormick Tribune Foundation’s Irregular Warfare working group, led by General David Grange USA (retired), that produced the “Irregular Warfare Leadership in the 21st Century,” envisioned as a blueprint for attaining and retaining US national strategic interests. He is the recipient of the Navy League’s 2007 MERITORIOUS CITATION the organization’s highest award given to individuals who have made significant contributions to the improvement of national security, one of only five presented annually. O’Shea is the Founder and Principal of Daniel Risk Mitigation and continues to serve in the Naval Reserves.
A Friday call back from Andrew Lownie resulted in Nabs making a 5 minute improvised pitch for the book (Into The Lion’s Den) on the London Underground on a mobile phone! Fortunately, Andrew was sufficiently impressed (and tolerant enough) to allow me to submit a book proposal which I did on Sunday, two days later.
The next day,I got a follow up call, arranging a meeting on Thursday with the agent and a potential ghost writer! Watch this space for further updates…
Jill Carroll is an American journalist who was kidnapped in Iraq. Dan was in charge of coordinating efforts to secure her release. After 82 days in captivity, and on Dan’s last day in Iraq, she was finally released. This is her story, only one of over 400 that Dan dealt with in his two years.
Damien Lewis is one of the best selling modern military authors in the UK. His bestsellers include “Operation Certain Death” which is the true story about how 75 SAS/SBS rescued 11 British soldiers from the clutches of over 1,000 rebel soldiers in Sierra Leone.
He has just released a new book, “Apache Dawn” about the British army air corps experiences in Afghanistan
Daniel Risk Mitigation
Dan is the principle and founder of Dan Risk Mitigation Inc, an integrated training and consulting firm, to provide specialized personal training services to people working in high-risk environments, utilising Dan’s unique experiences and skill set.
Having spent a week in Ireland during 2009 with Damien the writer and Dan the principle character, a lot of work was done fleshing out a new book proposal. After a lot of discussion, the working title was changed to “Hostage Hunter” and sent to agents. So far the response has not been encouraging with several comments of Iraq fatigue ie too many books about the conflict already published…but new books on the conflict are released every day so we just have to keep plugging away.