Archive for August 2019
The New York Times – Four Books About the C.I.A.’s Exploits and Secrets
Tony Mendez, the C.I.A.’s top disguise artist for many years, who died in January, took magic out of the living rooms and into the streets of Moscow. And in this memoir of arcane C.I.A. skulduggery, Mendez and his wife, who would eventually run the unit, demonstrate what a serious business it was: Every time C.I.A. operatives left the Moscow embassy with a K.G.B. agent in tow, they risked the lives of their Russian informants. They had to shake their tails. But how?Read More
PBS News Hour – Meet the CIA’s disguise artists who helped Cold War spies disappear
Legendary spy power couple Jonna and Tony Mendez met while working for the CIA in the Soviet Union, building the tools of espionage: the disguise kit, the camera that could hide anywhere, the cyanide pen. There they followed guidelines they called the “Moscow Rules” — now the name of a new book they co-wrote before Tony’s death. Jonna Mendez talks with Nick Schifrin about their work and mission.Read More
CBS The Takeout Podcast – Ex-CIA chief of disguise on “The Takeout”
What makes a good disguise? According to Jonna Mendez, the CIA’s former chief of disguise, it’s about more than cosmetology.Read More
Radio New Zealand – Jonna Mendez: Master of disguise
Jonna Mendez was undercover in the lobby of a fancy American hotel when she locked eyes with a dangerous terrorist, guarded by two armed men. A potentially fatal mistake that could have cost her life, she later found out.
It may sound like something straight out of a spy fiction movie, but that’s the reality Mendez lived as the former CIA chief of disguise who worked alongside her husband for the intelligence agency.Read More
5280 Denver’s Mile High Magazine – Undercover Art: How Tony Mendez Became Both a Spy and Artist
While Mendez became an international man of mystery, his Park Lane paintings languished in a warehouse after the hotel was demolished. A local man later salvaged them, and his daughter, Lesa Leiter of Thornton, discovered the true identity of the “A. Mendez” who had signed the pieces.
Following Mendez’s death at age 78, Leiter sold the paintings to Simon Lofts, the co-owner of Workability, a Denver co-working outfit. Lofts plans to hold a public unveiling on August 26; they’ll permanently hang in Workability’s Sherman Street office. “My father would be thrilled that his work is in the public eye,” says Toby Mendez, one of Tony’s four children and an esteemed sculptor himself, “and being seen once again.”Read More