CIA Master of Disguise Tony Mendez Dies at 78

“We always say there’s nothing as lovely as the feeling of wheels up. In this case we were still in Iranian airspace for a while, so everybody was holding their breath until we were out of Iran completely. And then we had a celebration.”

Tony Mendez — Operation Canadian Caper

“Tony Mendez was a true American hero. He was a man of extraordinary grace, decency, humility and kindness. He never sought the spotlight for his actions, he merely sought to serve his country. I’m so proud to have worked for him and to have told one of his stories.”

Ben Affleck — American actor and filmmaker

“He was a brilliant man, a gifted artist, and a true American hero. I will miss him enormously.”

Christy Fletcher —  Literary manager 

Tony Mendez, the retired CIA agent who was played by Ben Affleck in the movie ARGO

Antonio Joseph Mendez (November 15, 1940 – January 19, 2019) was an American CIA technical operations officer who specialized in support of clandestine and covert CIA operations. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_Today

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Mendez had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease more that 10 years ago. He died Saturday morning aged 78.

Mendez was decorated, and is now widely known, for his on-the-scene management of the “Canadian Caper” operation during the Iran hostage crisis, in which he exfiltrated six American diplomats from Iran in January 1980.

Tony Mendez arranged to have them pose as a Canadian film crew. As part of their cover, the diplomats carried passports issued by the Canadian government to document them as Canadian citizens.

After declassification of records, the full details of the operation were reported in a 2007 article by Joshuah Bearman in Wired magazine.

This story was  — loosely — adapted for the screenplay and development of the 2012 Academy Award-winning film Argo, directed by Ben Affleck, who also starred as Mendez.

Mendez and his wife Jonna have recently sent their latest book to the publisher.

“The Moscow Rules: The Secret CIA Tactics that Helped America Win the Cold War” is scheduled to be released Mon ay 21 2019.

Ben Affleck and Tony Mendez Interview: ARGO

Emmy winner Jake Hamilton sits down to talk with director Ben Affleck and real-life CIA Operative Tony Mendez to talk about this history behind the new film, ARGO

REFERENCES

Tony Mendez — Wikipedia

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CIA Master of Disguise Tony Mendez Dies at 78

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