Former CIA Chief of Disguise Breaks Down 30 Spy Scenes From Film & TV | WIRED

  • Published on May 8, 2019
  • Jonna Mendez, former CIA Chief of Disguise, takes a look at spy scenes from a variety of television shows and movies and breaks down how accurate they really are.

    To learn more, check out Jonna and Tony Mendez's new book "The Moscow Rules" out now:

    The International Spy Museum located in Washington, D.C. is a 501c3 nonprofit with a mission to educate the public about the history and impact of espionage and intelligence. The Museum features the largest collection of international espionage artifacts ever placed on public display.
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    Former CIA Chief of Disguise Breaks Down 30 Spy Scenes From Film & TV | WIRED
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Comments • 9 207

  • PhobosDynami
    PhobosDynami 7 minutes ago

    Lol "we don't use priests because they're out there and vulnerable." She should pay attention to the news.

  • Eli Kh
    Eli Kh 37 minutes ago

    25:07 Is where you can notice the beginning of deceit and telling a lie...

  • Christopher Buchet
    Christopher Buchet 39 minutes ago

    Eating at McDonald's makes you an expert?

  • Max Ambient
    Max Ambient 51 minute ago

    It's not the glasses that make the Clark Kent disguise impenetrable. It's the hair parted on the other side.

  • STONEDay
    STONEDay 2 hours ago

    4:48 her quick changed most when she closed her mouth

  • Joe Caruso
    Joe Caruso 3 hours ago

    This made me wonder, why did Christian Bale as Batman talk in his Batman voice to Alfred

  • Burt Maclin
    Burt Maclin 3 hours ago

    "3 off limits covers are...". So what you're saying is all CIA agents only use one of these 3 covers. Got it.

  • Veronica Saitta
    Veronica Saitta 4 hours ago

    On the counting thing in Inglorious Basterds... I am Italian and I can confirm that the majority of the people here counts starting with the thumb (they even teach us to do so in elementary school) but I noticed that it really comes down to personal preferences and age: I start with my thumb, as most children do, my boyfriend doesn't. He finds it easier to start with the index finger, especially when ordering something for two - and I do this as well.

  • Awkwardly Cast
    Awkwardly Cast 5 hours ago

    Earth is flat and stationary. Space is fake. Proof: @t

  • ned kelly
    ned kelly 5 hours ago

    They should have showed her Charlize Theron at The Oscars, then showed her Charlize Theron as Aileen Wournos for a comparison.

  • ned kelly
    ned kelly 5 hours ago

    What I would like to know is what motivates anyone to become any sort of spy, espcially a plant or double agent. Seems to me to be a high possibility of being caught and killed sooner or later. And at least while you are working your standard of living would not be all that great. Is there like HUGE money involved ? Some sense of adventure? Or maybe when you join the CIA, you commit to whatever you are asked to do? The only way I could see doing it is if the money was so big, I'd be set for life after only a couple of years.

  • fazyt86
    fazyt86 5 hours ago

    I was waiting for Mrs. Doubtfire

  • Aayush Kumar
    Aayush Kumar 5 hours ago

    *casually mentions her husband is Tony Mendez*

  • faith dizon
    faith dizon 6 hours ago +1

    her first alias name was Faith. MY name is Faith. or is it?

  • malimillions
    malimillions 7 hours ago


  • Teemeah
    Teemeah 7 hours ago +1

    but are they allowed to talk about this after leaving their jobs? I dunno, this seems unlikely.

  • Clyde Vraagom
    Clyde Vraagom 8 hours ago

    Why didn't this include the movie Salt???

  • Kimberly Sichler
    Kimberly Sichler 10 hours ago +1

    She could technically say that her husband is Ben Affleck lol

  • Maddie
    Maddie 11 hours ago +1

    This is so interesting!! I feel worried for her though, like I feel like she can’t be saying this stuff!!

  • Schmedga
    Schmedga 12 hours ago +1

    I am still waiting for the moment when miss Mendez removes her face mask and reveals she is actually a 9 year old schoolboy

  • Alejandro Laguna
    Alejandro Laguna 12 hours ago

    14:36 As a Spaniard, very much a European, we do count like that. Also important to note that there were Spanish soldiers serving in the German Army.

  • Alyson Shorthouse
    Alyson Shorthouse 12 hours ago +1

    "Ben Affleck is playing my husband". Possibly the coolest line ever spoken so casually. I could listen to her for hours xx

  • Christina Krogh
    Christina Krogh 13 hours ago

    Im European, Danish, and i count on my fingers like he does... index-1, middle-2 ring-3 pinky-4 and thumb-5

  • Jeremy Calnan
    Jeremy Calnan 13 hours ago

    And that's why your stupid you should have bean looking for the tell sign back of neck responder

  • kramler
    kramler 13 hours ago

    16:53 its not only the glasses that are the disguise, Kal El has also the hair changed a bit. And as Clark Kent, he is the nerdy clumsy guy. She failed to see that

    • Marco Doe
      Marco Doe 11 hours ago

      still the same physique and appearance.

  • Jeremy Calnan
    Jeremy Calnan 13 hours ago

    And then she put on a 187 T shirt and how much does that cost to bring on set for a little shycop.

  • XO
    XO 16 hours ago


  • tiacat11
    tiacat11 17 hours ago

    This woman could slit my throat and my very last words would be to thank her for the privilege.

  • Thiccest Sis
    Thiccest Sis 17 hours ago

    You know how she isn’t disguised, she wouldn’t talk about her husband, but f she did then it would rather be a guy under disguise or some made up person that the cia found a way too put in the real world.

  • Yanasoo Sibarah
    Yanasoo Sibarah 17 hours ago


  • ElMariachi
    ElMariachi 18 hours ago

    I think it's hillarious, how she seriously comments on the ridiculous scenes.

  • Leon Strand
    Leon Strand 20 hours ago

    lol i had no idea that the "my name is jeb" was a movie lol

  • Henryk Gödel
    Henryk Gödel 21 hour ago +1

    This lady probably has some really cool stories I'd like to sit down and listen to.

  • ChosenOne21 :D
    ChosenOne21 :D 21 hour ago

    "My name is Jeff."

  • Geazaki Cosplay
    Geazaki Cosplay 22 hours ago

    I'm portuguese and start counting with my index finger... I can't even imagine starting with your thumb what XD

  • Vlad Mestecanean
    Vlad Mestecanean 22 hours ago

    yo she is so badass. this is so interesting

  • El Be
    El Be 23 hours ago

    I don't think the movie needs to add in its comments lol

  • WTF
    WTF Day ago

    She is a liar

  • Jules
    Jules Day ago +1

    She lied when she said they don’t use media cover for spies. She has tells.

  • Clifftonic Studios

    Wheres a long kiss goodnight

  • uh x
    uh x Day ago

    A whole video about disguise, yet no analysis of Mrs Doubtfire?

  • Clifftonic Studios
    Clifftonic Studios Day ago +1

    Like shes going to tell us

  • futasupastah
    futasupastah Day ago

    So glad someone finally addressed Superman - world's shittiest disguise ever lol

  • diane9247
    diane9247 Day ago

    That was fascinating! She's one tough cookie, too.

  • desertrose88
    desertrose88 Day ago

    when it comes to art of seduction russian women are good at it. they even have special classes where they go and learn how to deepthroat. come on... all of their life they are raised to seduce, and find the best suitors. of course not all, but a lot of them.

  • AS00400349
    AS00400349 Day ago

    This video makes me want to be a spy. I said it. Now don't mind me while I slip into a new identity and blend into the crowd.

  • anil rehmatullah


  • d4n4nable
    d4n4nable Day ago

    Does anyone buy that the CIA would never impersonate a journalist? Lmao. I don't think there's a single media giant in the US without CIA assets on staff.

  • Amy L
    Amy L Day ago

    not a spy film but...

    clark kent vs superman?

  • Tomek S.
    Tomek S. Day ago

    4:42 weak points of CIA. Making a note...

  • Christopher Hopkins

    I'm surprised Mr. Orange in Reservoir Dogs didn't come up. He had the whole cover story and the practiced anecdote and everything.

  • Andrew P Velasco

    I never saw 24, so my first reaction at 8:45 was "Lassie?".

  • G K
    G K Day ago

    I hope she meant in when she said they didn't impersonate priests, media, and the peace corps. This is a fascinating watch!

  • kabbara4
    kabbara4 Day ago

    There wasn't a lot of under cover stuff in it but I'd love to get her opinion on Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy, or flushing a mole out in general.

  • kebman
    kebman Day ago

    OooOoOOooh so if the spy only has two names, it's his _real_ name!!11

  • ninapop821
    ninapop821 Day ago

    I was hoping that they was going to do Face Off

  • jack li
    jack li Day ago

    Recruitment Agent Free Join Don't pick up the goods One-generation overseas Chinese purchasing Help overseas Chinese to purchase domestic products Need to add WeChat: BTUS13255052807

  • OceanArk7 7
    OceanArk7 7 Day ago

    Shes a bad liar! Anderson Cooper on CNN is former CIA. Smh...

  • Sam Samoa
    Sam Samoa Day ago

    Can she tell me why former prime minister of the UK John Major's father is actually Abraham Thomas Ball? So one would assume that John Major (not his real name) is just an actor in disguise!

  • Gav Powell
    Gav Powell Day ago +1

    "priests don't have any structure to protect them, they're too vulnerable" - Oh I think priests do just fine for structures to protect them...

  • Shinken7
    Shinken7 Day ago +1

    When she explains that the mission impossible masks are possible to use it made me wonder if she was using one the entire time she was commentating to us.

  • Optic500
    Optic500 Day ago

    why the clips mis synced with her talking and freezing?

  • Daily Llama
    Daily Llama Day ago

    I have a natural ability to blend in & be a "little grey man." It's always astounded me how much people don't recognize me with simple changes of my appearance. A pair of glasses or a change in facial hair literally turns me into a different person. I can meet someone one day, not shave & run into the the very next day & I'll have to remind then we met the day before. It's been a great advantage in life!

  • Jeremy Kimble
    Jeremy Kimble Day ago

    Her: oh those are funny stories!

  • John Smith
    John Smith Day ago

    What you are about to say, I already know...
    0- Any spy must be like a shinobi and IRL, shinobi always looked like the average Joe...
    You can spy better if no one notice you are there, and if you can blend and be part of the environment, the better spy you are...
    And certainly PEDOWood is never a good source of information, except for PEDOs.

    1- Of course there no box, black man in disguise of an old lady!!! How stupid you think a spy can be??? Money and guns attract lots of attention, and attention is the enemy of a good spy. Also, Bourne is not a CIA, is an assassin, technically he never was part of the CIA, just an asset on the film! On the book he was CIA.
    2- "Dyeing the hair, the perfect disguise" PEDOWood, TM. Then they use B&W Cameras for surveillance and your disguise is gone, they use a color blind asset and you arrested/trapped/dead... NEXT!
    3- "Flamboyant acting" see number 0
    4- See number 0
    5- Mission Impossible is never stated to be CIA...

    Sorry I got bored...

  • Micasa Love
    Micasa Love Day ago

    Alias 100👍🏻👍🏻

  • dori s
    dori s Day ago

    what if shes in a disguise right now

  • Kitty Kat
    Kitty Kat Day ago

    this makes me want to watch alias now, she loved that clip XD

  • Sky Cambron
    Sky Cambron Day ago +1

    How does one become Chief of CIA? Like unlike the FBI there isn't school

  • myriah trotsenko

    this woman is amazing. I have deep respect for her.