Morena Baccarin has been a star of national security for more than 20 years.
But the 38-year-old Australian has now hit the back of the line, earning a salary of $1.3 million.
The former head of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) was recently promoted to acting assistant commissioner of the national security team, and his contract ends on June 30.
“I’m looking forward to continuing on with my work,” he said.
Baccin said he wanted to focus on the national economy and national security, but he also wanted to put his full effort into what he calls the “Homeland” television series, which has been an important source of inspiration for him as he tries to build a new career.
“The idea of a series is a great way to keep the focus on what’s really important to me,” he told ABC Radio.
“It’s the work that’s in front of me.”
Baccino said he was surprised that he had been able to get through a career that has been shaped by the world he had lived in.
“If I hadn’t had a career in Australia, I don’t think I would have had the opportunity to go overseas,” he added.
“What’s really been important for me is the work of the Homeland team.”
‘I’m doing it for the people’ ‘The people are what matters’ As he prepares to leave ASIO, Baccini said he felt a sense of accomplishment for what he has achieved in his life.
“There’s a certain amount of pride that you get out of your work, and I feel that with Homeland, it’s the people that really matter,” he says.
“You know, what matters to me is that the homeland is safe for me and my family.”
The Homeland series is one of the best-selling television shows of the year.
Morena’s career took off in the 1990s, when he became a member of the elite Special Operations Forces, known as “Snowdonians”, who have been involved in counter-terrorism operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He also worked as an adviser to former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd in 2008, and is credited with helping bring the country to the negotiating table in the Iran nuclear deal.
The series has also inspired other former Special Operations troops to become involved in the Australian Defence Force, including two soldiers who have served in the Royal Australian Regiment.
“A lot of my career has been on the front line,” he explains.
“So that’s why it’s such a great story.”
Blicino was born in Sydney’s south-east, where he moved with his family when he was five years old.
His parents were military members, and he was drawn to the military’s ethos of honour and discipline, but it also had a heavy social conscience, he says, and the “family unit” had a strong sense of patriotism.
“When you’re a kid, you’re really interested in what you do, and you’re interested in how you can contribute,” he explained.
“My father was a fighter, so he wanted me to do well in school, so I did.”
He says that in his time at the military, he “got a lot of respect for the guys in the military”.
Baccina was commissioned as a soldier in 2003, and began his career as a private, with a focus on “intelligence-gathering”.
But he soon started taking part in more sensitive intelligence-gaining missions, and when the US invaded Iraq in 2003 he was one of about 50 Australian troops who took part in the operation.
“In the early days, I was always thinking that if I did this for the country, I would get some sort of medal, and that’s exactly what I got,” he recalls.
Blicina went on to work as an intelligence analyst, helping the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) in Iraq, and later as an agent in Afghanistan.
“After that I worked as a spy in Afghanistan, where I was a member in a team that helped kill Osama bin Laden,” he remembers.
“But it was a tough job.
In 2009, he returned to the country for what was then called the “Ongoing Global War on Terror”, and was given the job of leading a special task force in the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) for intelligence gathering. “
And that was it.”
In 2009, he returned to the country for what was then called the “Ongoing Global War on Terror”, and was given the job of leading a special task force in the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) for intelligence gathering.
“We were all together and I think we were all just thinking about what we were doing and where we were going,” he recalled.
“Because in that moment, you know, we were in Afghanistan.”
The task force went on the ground and found the location of Osama bin Ladin’s hideout in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province.
“This was in an area where people were trying to hide, and we were trying, I think