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Gustav Lascaris "Gust" Avrakotos (January 14, 1938 – December 1, 2005) was an Americanmarker case officer and division chief for the United States Central Intelligence Agency.

Avrakotos was little known to the public until the book Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History, was published in 2003. The book, which portrays U.S. involvement in the war as a partnership between Avrakotos and Texas Congressman Charles Wilson, was the basis of the film Charlie Wilson's War, released in 2007.

Biography and career

Avrakotos was born in Aliquippa, Pennsylvaniamarker the son of a Greek American soft drink manufacturer. He briefly worked at Jones and Laughlin Steel mill in Aliquippa before graduating valedictorian from Aliquippa High Schoolmarker in 1955. Avrakotos attended the University of Pittsburghmarker, where he graduated summa cum laude with a degree in economics. He also attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology.

He joined the CIA in 1962 and his assignments included an anti-terrorist mission in Greecemarker and duty in the CIA's Langley, Virginiamarker, headquarters. In the 1980s. while at Langley and working with Rep. Wilson, Avrakotos led Operation Cyclone, the largest covert operation in the CIA's history. Through intermediaries the CIA armed Afghanistanmarker's Mujahideen during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. Avrakotos was re-assigned "just as the Stinger antiaircraft missile launchers downed the first Soviet gunships" and after a brief role in an African assignment, he retired from the CIA in 1989.

Avrakotos then worked for TRW in Romemarker and for News Corp., for which he began a business intelligence newsletter, working in Rome and McLean, Virginiamarker. He returned to the CIA as a contractor from 1997 until 2003.

Avrakotos died of a stroke in 2005.


Avrakotos was portrayed in the 2007 film Charlie Wilson's War by Academy Award winner Philip Seymour Hoffman. Hoffman was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Avrakotos.

See Also


  1. Gust L. Avrakotos, Social Security Death Index
  2. Crile, George, Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History, ISBN 0-87113-854-9
  3. Tady, Scott. " CIA agent and Aliquippa native helped down the Soviets," Beaver County Times, December 19, 2007

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