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Jonna Mendez: A day in the life of a master of disguise

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Incognito.

Dr. Scholl's foot powder, tin foil, dead rats—former CIA Chief of Disguise Jonna Mendez used them all to conceal agents and secret messages. She shares stories about getting creative undercover.

About Jonna Mendez

Jonna Mendez is a retired CIA intelligence officer. She was recruited to the agency in 1966, and retired in 1993 from her role as the Chief of Disguise in the CIA's Office of Technical Service.

Mendez worked abroad from cities including Havana, Beijing and Moscow.

After her retirement, she has worked as an author, lecturer, teacher and consultant on intelligence matters. She and her late husband, former CIA officer Antonio Mendez, cowrote several books about spies and espionage, including Spy Dust: A True Story of Espionage and Romance, Argoand The Moscow Rules.

This segment of the TED Radio Hour was produced by Katie Monteleone and edited by Katie Simon. You can follow us on Facebook @TEDRadioHour and email us at TEDRadioHour@npr.org.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Manoush Zomorodi
Manoush Zomorodi is the host of TED Radio Hour. She is a journalist, podcaster and media entrepreneur, and her work reflects her passion for investigating how technology and business are transforming humanity.
Katie Monteleone
Katie Monteleone is a producer for TED Radio Hour. She started out as an intern for the show in January 2019. After her internship, Monteleone began producing for Life Kit before returning to the TED Radio Hour team in October 2019 as a full-time producer.
Katie Simon
Katie Simon is the Supervising Editor for Embedded, which showcases premier enterprise documentary storytelling for NPR and the NPR Network.