From the spymaster and inspiration for the movie Argo: how a group of brilliant but under-supported CIA operatives developed breakthrough spy tactics that helped turn the tide of the Cold War

The Moscow Rules tells the story of the intelligence breakthroughs that turned the odds in America's favor. As experts in disguise, Antonio and Jonna were instrumental in creating and honing a series of tactics that allowed officers to finally get one step ahead of the KGB. These techniques included everything from elaborate, Hollywood-inspired identity swaps, to deception or evasion techniques, to more mundane document forgery. With these new guidelines in place, and with an armory of new gadgets perfected by the Office of Technical Services including miniature cameras, suitcase release body doubles, and wall rappelling mechanisms, the CIA managed to gain a foothold in Moscow and pull off some of the greatest intelligence operations in the history of espionage.


May 20 - New York, NY

Barnes & Noble

May 21

Book available for purchase online.

May 29 - Washington D.C.

International Spy Museum

June 19 - Dallas, TX

World Affairs Council

June 25 - San Francisco, CA

The Commonwealth Club

June 26 - Seattle, WA

Town Hall Seattle


The Mendez’s have written four books, The Moscow Rules, Argo, Spy Dust, and The Master of Disguise, which are currently available on this site. These books are highly recommended reading for new recruits in the US Intelligence Community, and are part of the curriculum at Universities and in the Intelligence Community.




Tony and Jonna Mendez are former CIA Intelligence Officers with 52 years of combined service. Both served as the CIA’s Chief of Disguise. On the CIA’s 50th anniversary, Tony was chosen as one of the CIA’s top 50 officers for its first 50 years.


Join us for speaking events, book talks, and discussions about the world of espionage and spy craft.

Currently, there are no upcoming events. Visit again soon for updates.


Read the latest news from Tony and Jonna.

Atlas Obscura Jonna Mendez

Atlas Obscura: Meet a Former CIA Chief of Disguise

Meet Jonna Mendez, the former CIA Chief of Disguise (a real job!). During her tenure, Mendez oversaw the equipment used by spies to conceal their identities, including a five-second mask, which had been inspired by Hollywood. The technology, developed over a period of 10 years, allowed for facial movement—and, unlike its cinematic counterparts, which required hours in the makeup chair, it could be put on and removed at a moment’s notice. Listen to Mendez explain the ins and outs of this unique piece of spy technology.

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Spies & Spymasters Virtual Happy Hour Jonna Mendez

SPY Museum: Spies & Spymasters Virtual Happy Hour

We love sorting out fact and fiction in spy movies at the Spy Museum. But how about when Hollywood stars are the spies? Join us tonight for some unusual celebrity gossip at this virtual happy hour! We’ll tell you some of our favorite stories about operatives who loved the limelight more than the shadows—your mission: shake up the perfect cocktail or mocktail.

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Brut UK Interview with Jonna Mendez

Brut UK: Interview with a real female spy

“Did I ever sleep with someone to get intelligence?” Jonna Mendez can’t stand films about female spies. The reason? She was a real one.

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Hacking Humans Jonna Mendez

The Cyberwire – Hacking Humans – Wearing a mask in the Oval Office

Joe shares his Classic Cons Part 3, Dave has an Apple device scam story, The Catch of the Day is your assassination heads-up, and later in the show our interview with Jonna Mendez, retired CIA intelligence officer and former Chief of Disguise.

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Beyond Speaking Jonna Mendez

Beyond Speaking – Jonna Mendez – The CIA Experience

In-depth conversations with the world’s most in-demand keynote speakers. Learn valuable secret insights from some of today’s best presenters and experts in business, leadership and more.

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Throomers: COVID-19: The Unseen Enemy

Living undercover for years, Jonna Mendez has served tours of duty around the world and became the CIA’s chief of disguise. She’s helped steal a top-secret encryption machine from a Soviet Embassy and helped America win the Cold War. Now, the coronavirus is threatening Americans and everyone worldwide. We’ve asked Mendez for her insights on this unseen enemy.

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SPY Museum Curator’s Corner: Spy Writer Roundtable

What do intelligence professionals do when they stop being intelligence professionals? Some ride off into a well-deserved retirement, sipping fruity drinks while lounging on a tropical beach. Others move into the private sector and help corporate America negotiate the global marketplace.

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Jonna Mendez at The SPY Museum

SPY Museum Webinar – Spy’s Eye View with Jonna Mendez

Who needs a cloak of invisibility when you have a wizard of disguise by your side? When spies need to go undercover, evade enemy surveillance, or slip by without anyone noticing, they depend on the expertise of a Tech Ops officer who specializes in the art of disguise. Join Jonna Mendez former CIA Chief of Disguise, in conversation with the Museum’s educators as she reveals some of her techniques and spine-tingling missions.

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The Wind of Change Podcast – Coming May 11

A power ballad helped bring down the Soviet Union. Was it written by the CIA? Journalist Patrick Radden Keefe investigates the secret history of Cold War espionage and heavy metal.

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