Former CIA couple in effort to ‘un-demonize’ agency
May 18, 2010 1 Comment
By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
A husband-and-wife CIA team, who married after retiring from the agency, after a collective career spanning over half a century, are speaking around the country in an effort to “humanize [and] un-demonize the CIA”. Antonio (Tony) and Jonna Mendez joined the agency in the 1960s, and spent the next 25 years at the CIA’s Office of Technical Services. Tony was eventually promoted to Chief of Disguise, and later Chief of the Graphics and Authentication Division, whose mission is –among other tasks– transforming the identities of CIA field operatives, by supplying them with high-quality forged documentation for use in their various missions. In 1997, he was honored by the CIA as one of the “50 trailblazers” in the agency’s history. Jonna Mendez worked for 27 years as a spy camera expert, and was tasked with training CIA officers in the use of covert technologies. After their retirement, the husband-and-wife team were called by the agency to enter the lecture circuit and chronicle their undercover careers in places like Germany, India and Thailand, in an effort to ‘humanize’ the secretive agency. The two former agents’ latest book is Spy Dust, which recounts their intelligence work in the USSR in the 1980s, and their personal relationship which eventually ended in marriage. Their most recent speaking engagement was at the Orange County Regional History Center in Orlando, Florida, on May 4, where they gave a lecture entitled “Disguise, Deception and Illusion: CIA Masters of Magic”. A local news report on their talk can be accessed here.