|Antonio Joseph Mendez|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||Central Intelligence Agency 1963-1990|
|Unit||Graphics and Authentication Division|
|Battles/wars||Iran hostage crisis|
Intelligence Star (1980) |
CIA Trailblazer Award (1997)
Order of the Sphinx (2000)
Tony Mendez (also known as Antonio Joseph Mendez) is a former CIA technical operations officer. His job was to support clandestine and covert CIA operations. He is most famous for the Canadian caper during the Iran hostage crisis, when six American diplomats were smuggled out of Iran by disguising them as a Canadian film crew with team leader CBC cameraman Dennis Packer and passports supplied by the Canadian government. These events are being portrayed in the film Argo, starring Ben Affleck as Mendez, and will be released in October 2012.
Mendez was born in Eureka, Nevada in 1940, move to Colorado as a teen and went on to study at the University of Colorado. Mendez joined the CIA in 1963 and worked in South Asia, Southeast Asia and Middle East. Prior to joining the agency, Mendez was an artist (worked as an illustrator and tool designer for Martin Marietta) and now works on art full time. His work in the agency frequently dealt with forging foreign documents, creating disguises and handling other graphical work related to espionage.
Tony Mendez is the author of two books: Master of Disguise (ISBN 0-06-095791-3) and Spy Dust (ISBN 0-06-095791-3), about his CIA experiences lauded as "landmark memoirs" by former Chairman of the CIA's Publications Review Board John Hollister Hedley. Some photos of his works as a CIA chief of disguises were shown in the January 2005 edition of FHM magazine.
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