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.

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Read the latest news from Tony and Jonna.

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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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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The Jordan Harbinger Show

The Jordan Harbinger Show – Jonna Mendez | The Moscow Rules

On this episode, we’re joined by Jonna Mendez, a former chief of disguise at the CIA’s Office of Technical Service — or, for those of us who have seen James Bond, she was basically Q, but for the CIA during the Cold War.

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Spy Wars with Damian Lewis Show

Spy Wars with Damian Lewis: EPISODE 5 – Escape from Tehran

In November 1979, 53 American employees of the U.S. Embassy in Iran were taken hostage by Islamic revolutionaries. Six diplomats managed to escape, but getting out of the country seemed impossible. Enter CIA officer Tony Mendez, who used inspiration from Hollywood to school six frightened diplomats in the art of assuming false identities and pulled off a bold rescue mission during one of the darkest moments in American foreign policy history.

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Lawfare – How Do You Spy When the World Is Shut Down?

The novel coronavirus presents significant challenges to the mission and operations of every government agency and department—and the Central Intelligence Agency is no exception. In fact, the agency’s intelligence officers now face a more difficult challenge than ever when it comes to their efforts to recruit spies.

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Jonna Mendez presenting at TEDx Bermuda

TEDx Bermuda – The life and death theatre of espionage

As a retired CIA intelligence officer with 27 years of service, her career comprised of multiple under cover assignments. She joined the CIA’s Office of Technical Service (OTS) in early 1970, (often compared to “Q” Branch in the 007 movies), holding the position of Chief of Disguise. She also worked closely with her husband in writing Argo and Moscow Rules. Jonna is a founding board member at the International Spy Museum.

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