November 21, 2014 / by admin / American History / No Comments

The Master of Disguise: My Secret Life in the CIA

The Master of Disguise: My Secret Life in the CIA

Antonio J. Mendez

Language: English

Pages: 376

ISBN: 0060957913

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

From the author of Argo comes an unforgettable behind-the-scenes story of espionage in action. In the first ever memoir by a top-level operative to be authorized by the CIA, Antonio J. Mendez reveals the cunning tricks and insights that helped save hundreds from deadly situations.

Adept at creating new identities for anyone, anywhere, Mendez was involved in operations all over the world, from “Wild West” adventures in East Asia to Cold War intrigue in Moscow. In 1980, he orchestrated the escape of six Americans from a hostage situation in revolutionary Tehran, Iran. This extraordinary operation inspired the movie Argo, directed by and starring Ben Affleck.

The Master of Disguise gives us a privileged look at what really happens at the highest levels of international espionage: in the field, undercover, and behind closed doors.

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preparing such an elaborate facade took time and money. Jerome met me at the airport on Friday night and introduced me to one of his Hollywood associates, “Robert Sidell,” at a suite of production offices they had managed to claim for our purposes on the old Columbia studio lot in Hollywood. With intensive effort over the next four days, Jerome and his associates managed to create “Studio Six Productions” by the close of business on Tuesday. Our offices had just been vacated by Michael Douglas’s

jewelry, leather goods, and tourist kitsch, I had stood on the corner near the Foreign Ministry and counted cars with diplomatic or foreign commercial plates at five-minute intervals. It was impossible for the KGB’s mobile surveillance to cover all these vehicles as it had in the past. At the Intourist Hotel, I counted twenty-three Mercedes, Peugeots, and Opels with West European plates, proof that Westerners were taking motor vacations in the Soviet Union. The campgrounds dotting the wooded

excellent test of my ability to observe. At the end of this TDY, I would have to prepare both a “probe” report on the controls and an infiltration/exfiltration plan for Hong Kong to be used by defectors traveling in alias. The female immigration officer flipped quickly through my burgundy official passport, inoculation record, and ongoing airline tickets, expertly absorbing the details. “How long will you stay in Hong Kong?” Her polite question was spoken in perfect, clipped English. My answer

along Main Street. We turned over our regular pay to Mom; anything we made selling the extras was movie money for all the kids in the family. Watching the Bob Steele and Superman serials at the Rex, I felt an early fascination with the magic of deception: The kids around me in the splintered old movie-house seats actually believed the characters were real. I knew they were actors, and I wanted desperately to discover what makeup techniques, props, and camera work had transformed them into

guests. With so many high-ranking foreigners arriving that Friday night, the surveillance near the embassy would be under a great deal of stress trying to keep track of priority targets, almost certain to dismiss “persons of little interest” such as ourselves. Just after six P.M. on Friday, Jacques and his wife, Suzette, crossed the courtyard and headed for the community center, where they frequently enjoyed the happy hour. In the apartment block, Roy dressed for the dinner, then called Jerry

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