Jonna Mendez talks with CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett on The Takeout Podcast
Jonna Mendez talks with CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett on The Takeout Podcast

CBS The Takeout Podcast

What makes a good disguise? According to Jonna Mendez, the CIA’s former chief of disguise, it’s about more than cosmetology. 

“It’s not just the facial oval. It’s all of you,” Mendez told CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett on this week’s episode of “The Takeout” podcast. Mendez, who spent more than 25 years at the agency, described how the CIA uses disguise to protect both operatives and assets.

She said a successful disguise has layers, like an onion. When creating a disguise for an officer or asset, Mendez and her colleagues would start at the top — changing the color and style of hair, adding or removing facial hair, adding glasses, changing eye color and altering the person’s teeth.