Tony Mendez is arguably the Michael Jordan of covert CIA operations.
So considering the recent revelations swirling around a suspected CIA wig, a Moscow “diplomat,” and a publicly-outed, dusty-desk-in-a-basement-bound former CIA station chief, it’d probably be nice to review Mendez’ basic rules for espionage.
Mendez, the original writer of the rules, and a former clandestine technical operations officer, put them in an easy to read format in his book “ The Master of Disguise:”
- Assume nothing.
- Never go against your gut.
- Everyone is potentially under opposition control.
- Don’t look back; you are never completely alone.
- Go with the flow, blend in.
- Vary your pattern and stay within your cover.
- Lull them into a sense of complacency.
- Don’t harass the opposition.
- Pick the time and place for action.
- Keep your options open.
He calls them, “The Moscow Rules,” and says they’re not so much official as they are widely understood by the time an agent hits the field.
Notably, Mendez also co-wrote Argo. He was portrayed in the movie by Ben Affleck.