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

Antonio Mendez and his future wife Jonna were CIA operatives working to spy on Moscow in the late 1970s, at one of the most dangerous moments in the Cold War. Soviets kept files on all foreigners, studied their patterns, tapped their phones, and even planted listening devices within the US Embassy. In short, intelligence work was effectively impossible. The Soviet threat loomed larger than ever.

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.

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“Even inside the CIA, very few know the whole story of how the highest-level CIA tradecraft was developed for use in Moscow. The legendary Tony and Jonna Mendez were a vital part of creating that tradecraft, and their riveting insider account is unlike any spy story that’s ever been published.”

JOE WEISBERG, Creator/Executive Producer, The Americans

"A gripping read. Thanks to Tony Mendez’s extraordinary talent, the CIA was able to
elude KGB surveillance to carry out high risk, high-payoff operations with impunity. It’s all in this book—the good, the bad, and the ugly, unflinchingly revealed. Tony and his wide and co-author, Jonna, were two of the stars from the Office of Technical Service, CIA’s version of James Bond’s ‘Q’, and key to so many of the agency’s successes—and nowhere more so than in Moscow during the Cold War.”

JACK DOWNING, former Chief of Station (Moscow) and the CIA’s former Deputy Director for Operations

“Intriguing true stories of the techniques of CIA spying on the dangerous front line of the Cold War.”


“An insider’s look at CIA operations in Moscow, the most challenging operational city
in the world, revealing the tradecraft precepts used to keep priceless assets productive against overwhelming KGB surveillance. Written by two of the people who created these breakthrough tactics, The Moscow Rules takes you every step of the way on the snowy streets of Moscow.”

JASON MATTHEWS, New York Times bestselling author of the Red Sparrow Trilogy

“Tony [Mendez] will be remembered for his patriotism, ingenuity, & lifelong commitment to the Agency. He embodied the pioneering spirit, boldness, & derring-do that have
defined CIA since our founding.”

Official CIA Twitter Account

“Eye-opening entertainment. Fans of le Carré and other spinners of secret-agent tales will find this of considerable interest.”

–Kirkus Reviews