Jonna Mendez – A Woman’s Life in the CIA Unmasked

Jonna Mendez CIA

In this episode of the Spybrary Podcast, host Adam Brookes interviews the former CIA Chief of Disguise Jonna Mendez about her latest book In True Face A Woman's Life in the CIA.

Join us for a riveting episode with Jonna Mendez, a former CIA operative with an enthralling tale of espionage, covert operations, and the very human aspect of intelligence work.**

Watch this conversation with Jonna Mendez on Spybrary TV!

Spybrarys' Adam Brookes dives deep into the clandestine world of espionage with the remarkable Jonna Mendez, who shares her extraordinary experiences from a reputable career in the CIA. Prepare to be captivated as Mendez recounts real-life scenes straight from a spy thriller – from enduring hostile interrogation and utilizing disguise artistry to operational challenges in Moscow and the intricate realm of intelligence gathering.

In this episode, you'll discover:

The seemingly impossible.
How a renowned burglar turned into an invaluable asset within a CIA office.

Surviving the darkness.
Mendez reveals her harrowing experience during a hostile interrogation training course and the mental fortitude it took to overcome her claustrophobia.

The art of disguise.
Dive into the secretive world of masks and how the CIA uses Hollywood-inspired techniques to outmaneuver surveillance teams.

Embracing technology.
As the world grows more complex, Mendez addresses the efficacy of masks against facial recognition and the internet's role in modern espionage.

Escape Through Visualization: Mendez describes her mental escape during a CIA training exercise and how this skill became her personal superpower.

Infrared Intelligence: Learn how Jonna Mendez managed to develop crucial film in a clandestine hotel room operation.

The Babushka Strategy: A daring operation involving disguise and deception on the streets of Moscow.

The Legacy of Secrecy: Mendez reflects on the impact of leading a covert life on personal relationships and the struggle to transition back to normalcy post-CIA.

The spy behind the smile. Mendez opens up about the human dimension of spying, from the emotional toll of secrecy to the reliance on personal connections.

More About In True Face – A Woman's Life in the CIA Unmasked by Jonna Mendez

Jonna Mendez book

The bestselling coauthor of The Moscow Rules and Argo tells her riveting, courageous story of being a female spy at the height of the Cold War

Jonna Mendez began her CIA career as a “contract wife” performing secretarial duties for the CIA as a convenience to her husband, a young officer stationed in Europe. She needed his permission to open a bank account or shut off the gas to their apartment. Yet Mendez had a talent for espionage, too, and she soon took on bigger and more significant roles at the Agency. She parlayed her interest in photography into an operational role overseas, an unlikely area for a woman in the CIA. Often underestimated, occasionally undermined, she lived under cover and served tours of duty all over the globe, rising first to become an international spy and ultimately to Chief of Disguise at CIA’s Office of Technical Service.

In True Face recounts not only the drama of Mendez’s high-stakes work—how this savvy operator parlayed her “everywoman” appeal into incredible subterfuge—but also the grit and good fortune it took for her to navigate a misogynistic world. This is the story of an incredible spy career and what it took to achieve it.

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