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Transcript: Jonna Mendez talks with Michael Morell on "Intelligence Matters"

INTELLIGENCE MATTERS - JONNA MENDEZ
CORRESPONDENT: MICHAEL MORELL
PRODUCERS: OLIVIA GAZIS, JAMIE BENSON

MICHAEL MORELL:
Jonna, welcome to Intelligence Matters. It's an honor to have you on the show.
JONNA MENDEZ:
Thank you. The honor is mine.
MICHAEL MORELL:
So you spent almost three decades at CIA. How were you first introduced to the agency? How did you end up there? And what was your first job?
JONNA MENDEZ:
Well, it was a roundabout, clandestine entry I made into the CIA. I was working in Europe. I was working at Chase Manhattan Bank. I met a group of Americans, who presented themselves as part of the really huge military presence that we had, back in the day.
MICHAEL MORELL:
During the Cold War.
JONNA MENDEZ:
Back during the Cold War. I don't know how many hundreds of thousands of Americans that were in Germany. But this group was part of them, I thought. And I got to know them over a period of years. And I started dating one. And I ended up marrying, this is my first husband, in Switzerland. And I learned, three days before the wedding, that he actually worked for the CIA. He was not a department or Army civilian.
MICHAEL MORELL:
So he told you three days before the wedding?
JONNA MENDEZ:
Yeah.
MICHAEL MORELL:
How did you react to that? (LAUGHTER)
JONNA MENDEZ:
You know, we were so young. And I was from Kansas, loving being in Europe. And I really didn't give it a lotta thought, what the CIA was. I vaguely knew. But I didn't pay that much attention to it. That sounds ridiculous, but it's true.
MICHAEL MORELL:
So you marry him, and he's working for the CIA. And that's how you end up at the CIA?
JONNA MENDEZ:
Well, then we came back to Washington, D.C., for a brief period of time. And like so many operational officers, we went straight back out. We went to the Far East. And there I was, with no job. And so I ended up working for our office, for the CIA office, doing administrative stuff, in the Far East.

Then, we came back home. He went back into school at GW University. I needed a job again. This is the third time. And I went to work at Langley, at CIA headquarters, in Langley. And they hired me as a secretary. At that time, they hired almost every female that crossed the threshold, as a secretary. It was okay, though. We all knew that it was probably the beginning of a career. But most of us didn't know what that career might look like.
MICHAEL MORELL:
So you started as a receptionist. But then, you moved to become a photo operations officer. What is that? I've never even heard of that.
JONNA MENDEZ:
Well, it was a really great job. I ended up working for the director of the Office of Technical Service. It was a man with about 1,000-person staff. He didn't need a secretary. So I was bored. I was going to go to the Smithsonian. And I showed him out the window. You could see the castle.

I said, "I'm going to look into positions over there." He said, "Have you thought about taking some of our courses?" And in OTS, we were the "Q" for CIA. We had everything from audio bugs to microdots to disguises. He said, "I know you like photography. Why don't you take some of our photo courses?"

And so a week later, I was down south, in Washington, D.C. They had a little twin-engine plane with a harness for one person in the back. They had taken the doors off, thoughtfully. They gave me a 35-millimeter camera with a 1,000-millimeter lens. This is old school.

That's a big, long, heavy leans. And it was called Airborne Platforms. I spent the day flying around, seeing if I could resolve small details with that moving lens, in a moving plane. I spent the evening in the darkroom, a place I loved to be anyway.

And I thought, "Okay. If this is the new reality, I will stay." And that was the beginning of becoming a photo operations officer. So as a photo ops officer, I traveled around the world, training a lot of our assets, agents, some of our case officers, in how to use not just commercially available photography equipment, but a lot of proprietary equipment that we had, special films, special techniques for shooting in the dark, practically.
MICHAEL MORELL:
So how did you wind up in disguise?
JONNA MENDEZ:
Somewhere in the middle of my career, I made a discovery that I could actually steer my career, that I could take charge of it, and head in a new direction, if I wanted to. I had been assigned to the subcontinent for a summer, replacing someone who had to go back on home leave.

And I had fallen in love with the culture of the country that we were in, just head over heels in love with it. I transitioned, there, from black-and-white photography to color, which is a much more-difficult medium in the darkroom. It doesn't matter so much in the camera. But in the darkroom, it's very touchy. I came back from that temporary assignment and talked to our career person in my office and said, "I'd like an assignment out there. I'd really like to work out there."
MICHAEL MORELL:
And this is south Asia.
JONNA MENDEZ:
South Asia. On every level, it was interesting to me. The work was very interesting. We had access to amazing amounts of information that the CIA was interested in. And my career officer said, "There are no photo operations officer jobs available for the next three or four years. But there is a disguise job coming up, in two years." So I went and talked to disguise and said, "I want to become a disguise officer." And it was full-time training, two years. And off I went. That was the transition.
MICHAEL MORELL:
It is one of the great things about the place, that you can transition your career like that. It really is. There is this large internal labor market, where people can move around and learn new things. It's really a remarkable aspect of working there.

How did you learn the craft of disguise? How long did it take? Did you have mentors? How did that work?
JONNA MENDEZ:
That's a big question, with probably, a wordy answer. I went in kind of stone cold. I didn't know about disguise. I had seen some things that we had done. In one of my assignments, an officer had come in, when I was working for chief of station, officer had come in.

He sat down on a sofa, talked to me for a few minutes, went in to visit the boss, and left. And I discovered, he was an African American officer. And at the time, I thought, "That's interesting." Because the country we were in, we hadn't really deployed that many African American officers.

Turns out, he wasn't an African American officer. He was a disguise officer, who was showing our chief of station a new capability that we had to change ethnicities, to go from one to the other.

I had a lot of mentors. I started out with the women, it was women then, in traditional disguise and learned what you need to know about how to cut a wig, how to fit a wig, how to do basic disguise changes, beards, moustaches, all the things that you think of, stereotypically, when you think of disguise.

That training went very, very well and very easily. I think women take to some of that more readily than men, because we've been disguising ourselves since we were, probably, 11 or 12. But then, we moved into the area of advanced disguise, which was just coming online at the time.

And that was involved with more things like sculpting, working in real laboratories, understanding the materials. We ended up making partial masks, full-face masks, prostheses, fake ears, all kinds of things. That's the training that took the most time, was the most difficult, but in the end, was the most rewarding.
MICHAEL MORELL:
So Jonna, let's go through the fundamentals of disguise. Whom would you disguise? Was it just CIA officers? Was it recruited agents? Was it both? What's the purpose? What are you trying to accomplish? Can you talk about that a little bit?
JONNA MENDEZ:
The answer, basically, is we disguised any intelligence officer or asset who had a need, either for deniability, possibly for personal-safety reasons, in order to be able to step away from a surveillance situation. There were lots of situations where disguise was the obvious remedy.

We had established a requirement definition process; sometimes it seemed case officers would watch Mission: Impossible on Saturday night. And they'd come in Monday morning and say, "I need a disguise." So we would sit down with our officers and say, "What is the scenario? What are you trying to accomplish?"

And sometimes, they didn't need a disguise at all. Sometimes, we'd send them off to another part of our office. But when they did need a disguise, then we had to decide which level of disguise we were working with. Some officers in embassies around the world, some intelligence officers, are the first responders, if we have a walk-in to the embassy, that says, "I want to speak to someone, an intelligence officer. I have information."

There's a protocol in those embassies. It's usually an intelligence officer that steps forward. It quickly became apparent, when terrorism started raising its head, that those officers needed protection, when they're walking down and meeting with you don't know who, and you don't really understand, initially, what their intent is.

So we used with them what we would call light disguise. It was not finely fitted or finely tuned. But it was enough to conceal who they were. It was enough to conceal who they were, when they walked out of the embassy at the end of the day. And somebody would not follow them home, for instance, and see where their house was and see where their family lived and set them up for something untoward.

So that was one way that we would use the disguise. A case officer would come in and say, "I'm meeting with an asset in a denied area, a really difficult area to work in. I cannot be recognized." It's life and death, sometimes. In Moscow, it was life and death almost always. "I need a way that I can be face to face with that officer and not compromise him, not compromise the operation."
MICHAEL MORELL:
The agent.
JONNA MENDEZ:
Yeah. And so we would disguise our officers with whatever level of disguise they needed, just something that would get them through that situation. We had moments, I'm thinking of one myself, where I was meeting in a foreign country, in a hotel, with a very high-level political figure in that country, who would be easily recognized.

And he was working for us. My job was to disguise him, so that he could quickly step into a car, lean down, put on this disguise, sit up in the car, and no casual observers, no law enforcement officials, no one was going to recognize who he was, while he was having that meeting. So it was a very broad palette that we were working with. And it just depended on the circumstances of the operation.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Were men or women better at pulling off disguises? Or was there no difference?
JONNA MENDEZ:
There were issues on each side. Our female officers were much more accepting of disguise materials. They were much more comfortable wearing them. The issue could be that, usually, when we finished with you, you didn't necessarily look better. You looked different.

But it wasn't always pretty. And if you take, you know, professional women, who pride themselves on how they appear, some of them had to swallow deep, when they left our office with their disguise materials. On the other hand, some men, many men, if Tony Mendez was here, he would say, "a lotta men," don't particularly want to put on a wig and a moustache. They just don't.
MICHAEL MORELL:
They don't feel comfortable.
JONNA MENDEZ:
They don't feel comfortable. And if they're military people, they're even less comfortable. And we used to laugh about the threat of having a United States Marine walk into our office, and we had to disguise him. So our job, with the men, was a little more extensive than with the women.

We would design a disguise. We would fit it for them. We would make sure that it was comfortable. But it couldn't stop there. Because they would walk out of the office with their disguise. And we weren't sure that they would ever actually put it on.

So as the last step, we added in a final exercise, where they put everything on. And we would send them to the cafeteria at the agency. We'd send them down to go have lunch with everyone who knew them: their boss, their peers, their subordinates. Everybody was there. And that could be a very come-to-Jesus moment, when they discovered that nobody paid any attention. Nobody really cared. After a couple of episodes like that, we thought, if they needed it, they would probably put it on.
MICHAEL MORELL:
So Jonna, beyond appearance, did you also coach people on how they walk, their mannerisms? Was that part of what you did?
JONNA MENDEZ:
That was part of it. It's more a part of it than most people would imagine. Because the oval facial features are just a piece of who you are. I have friends who've always told me that I had a unique walk. They used to kind of smile, when they said that.

I don't know what they're talking about. But I do know that, if I put on a wig and change my outfit, they still know it's me, because they see me coming with this walk. So part of programming somebody for a disguise, when you'd get them into your disguise room, you would examine.

Do you have any unique characteristics? Are there things that people call out about you? Do you have mannerisms that you're aware of? We'd watch them all through this to see if we could see mannerisms that they might not know about. We would actually have them walk. We would talk to them for a while. We're evaluating them the whole time. We would ask people things like, "Do you have any distinguishing characteristics?" And they would say, "No. No, I don't. No." And they'd be sitting there with some huge birthmark on their neck or tattoos up one arm. So we'd make notes. And then there are behavioral aspects of it, depending on where you're going. There are things that, maybe, you want to avoid doing, or you might want to change how you do them.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Are there typical American behaviors that you have to hide? Or is it really individual?
JONNA MENDEZ:
It's both. The individual things, we try to pick up in our labs, while we're putting together the disguise. The behavioral, self-awareness was really all we could do with that. But we would talk to them about, "Why is it, if you go, say, to France, that they can always spot the Americans?"

And they can. They can see groups of us. They can see a couple of us. I just went and took my son. His friend, they got targeted for pickpocketing. They got targeted, because they were obviously American. So you think about, what is it that they see that we don't see? And it's a bunch of small things.

First of all, we show up, usually, in brand-new, bright, white sneakers that have never even been out of the shoebox, because you bought them for the trip that you're going on. People that wear baseball hats should be aware that there aren't that many other baseball hats around.

We are sloppy, by most European standards. We'll use Europe as a backdrop here. They think we're sloppy. We show up in sweatshirts and tracksuits. They are pretty well turned out. The women are especially well turned out. But they see us, they think we are loud.

We are loud. We make way more noise than they do. You know, things like, you go in a movie theater, and you move down the row. They're facing you, when they move by you. We are facing the screen, when we move by them, which they consider terribly rude. And so they notice it. It's not a small thing.

Even in a darkened theater, they go, "Hmm, that's not one of us. We don't do that." From the way you eat to the way you smoke to just your general posture. We slump. We lean on things. If you're in an elevator, and there's one of those rails that goes around, we're hangin' onto that rail like we're gonna fall over.

If there's a place where you can put your elbow, we'll lean on that. And even if there's nothing around us, Americans do this thing, where we stand on one foot, all the weight on one foot. And the hip is kind of out. They don't do that. They just stand straight. You know, their mothers told them, "Stand up straight."
MICHAEL MORELL:
This is all part of making them blend in.
JONNA MENDEZ:
Yeah. It's bits and pieces.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Jonna, a couple more questions about disguise. Do you consider it an art, a science, a little of both?
JONNA MENDEZ:
There is a science behind it. We have people who have chemistry backgrounds, who evaluate materials for us, who actually invent materials for us. If you're talking about mask technology, for instance, we started out modeling what Hollywood did, which was stunt-double, latex masks.

And we used them for some situations. But they were uncomfortable. They didn't breathe. If you were in a climate with any humidity, they were suffocating. So we went off chasing other materials that would animate more, that-- that were breathable, that were easy on, easy off.

So there is a technological aspect to it, the same with hair goods. We like to use real hair. But that's a problem, especially if there's humidity. So then we use Kanekalon and things like that. And then there's a problem, security-wise. Because if you look at it with infrared, it looks like a glowing snow cone on your head. We were always chasing down those kinds of things. On the other hand, we had a couple of officers who were simply magic at putting disguise materials together, at changing the way people look, at applying the materials, and of thinking up new ways to go about disguise.
MICHAEL MORELL:
That's the art of it.
JONNA MENDEZ:
That's the art of it. It's a big part of it.
MICHAEL MORELL:
So I've heard you make a distinction between disguise and illusion and deception. What are the nuances there?
JONNA MENDEZ:
When you're talking about illusion and deception, as it applies to disguise, we were out in Hollywood, back behind the scenery, behind the performances, whether it was onstage or on film, talking to the people who work with the magic community, the people that not only invent the deceptions and illusions that we see onstage in Hollywood, but who actually build them.

There's an engineering piece to that. We were after that engineering piece. We were a technical office interested in performing some deceptions and illusions on the streets, where our officers were working. If they could disappear people on the stage, in Hollywood, we wanted to know how to do that.

We had a few people we wanted to disappear or reappear on the streets in Moscow. So the book gets into this in some detail that really hasn't been explored, previously. We never could explore it, until now, about how we took those techniques and applied them. And in this book, we're talking about how we applied them in Moscow, which was the toughest scenario that we were up against during the Cold War.
MICHAEL MORELL:
So you're not gonna like this question, because I know you're modest. But what made you so good at what you did? Was it an artistic eye? Was it a spark of creativity? Was it a sense of daring? What would you pinpoint as your success in this field? Why were you so good at this?
JONNA MENDEZ:
No one has ever asked me that question before. If I was good, it's because I was surrounded by people who were better, who were so talented, people who were artists, people who had spent their entire lives, in one form or another, doing this kind of work, people who were generous with their knowledge, when I came in, and shared it without thinking twice about it.

There were a lot of artists in the area, where I worked. They're very difficult to manage, I would tell you. It's not your normal group of government bureaucrats in any of these offices that I worked in. The really, really good ones were amazing.

Even after they retired, they continued using some of those skills that they have. And there is one, in particular, who works today with prostheses for people who are injured, people who have been horribly disfigured by some sort of a scenario. And he can help put them back together. He can help make them whole again, using a lot of the materials, a lot of the techniques, that we used in our disguise labs. So it was a great group of people, who took me in, put their arms around me.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Jonna, if it's okay, I'd like to ask you a few questions about your husband, Tony.
JONNA MENDEZ:
Sure.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Who, for my listeners who don't know, passed away in January. I'm very sorry. How did you meet Tony?
JONNA MENDEZ:
Wow. Hold on just a second.

Well, I had known Tony for so long that I almost forgot when I met him. But when pressed, it was a Christmas party. It was in the Far East. It was an OTS Christmas party. Our chemists had invented a new punch that year. (LAUGH) We were on the top floor of an embassy. Somebody introduced me to Tony Mendez. And I wandered off. And he went out to go home and fell down the steps at the embassy. That was the first time I ever met Tony Mendez.
MICHAEL MORELL:
That was the special punch?
JONNA MENDEZ:
It was. It was a punch that was outlawed. They had to give up the recipe, (LAUGH) and they were never allowed to make it again. It's in one of our books. It's really funny.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Tony once wrote, "The best spy is an actor." Do you agree with that?
JONNA MENDEZ:
In some situations. I don't think you always have to be an actor. But I think our best case officers, and I don't know, you might know a little something about this. I think our best case officers have personalities that we search for.

They have interpersonal skills. They are, to a man, they are people that you want to get to know better. We used to say, if they weren't working for us, my God, what would they be doing? But they were working for us. They were going out, finding the people who had the information, recruiting them, developing them, and then, at a certain point, asking them to work for us. I thought it was the gutsiest job in the world, a job that I knew I could never do. I had such admiration for our case officers.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Must be extraordinarily difficult to sit across the table and try to convince somebody to commit espionage against their own country.
JONNA MENDEZ:
I always flipped it.
MICHAEL MORELL:
It's really hard.
JONNA MENDEZ:
I always flipped that around and said, to myself, "What would it take for someone, who I considered a friend, to sit down over and drink and say, "You know what? I'd like you to work for my country and betray yours"? I can't think of how they could get me to do that.
MICHAEL MORELL:
So your new book is written with Tony, The Moscow Rules. Covers your time as operations officers in Moscow. What was that time period like?
JONNA MENDEZ:
You know, when we went to Moscow, we were in and out. Neither one of us was ever actually assigned, not a full, straight-up assignment, like the CIA does. We were there TDY, temporary duty. Something would come up. An idea would come up. They would need some help.

They would send for disguise officers. We were there a lot. But like in a lot of operational scenarios, as technical officers, we tended not to work in the country we were assigned to. So when I was in the Far East, the work that we did was outside of the country we lived in. That's how we managed the Moscow account.
MICHAEL MORELL:
You talk, in the book, about how important it is to always listen to your gut. Sounds like a good rule. Sounds like a key rule. Did some officers have a better gut than others, in your experience?
JONNA MENDEZ:
I don't know that I can broadly apply that and say, "Yes and no." I'm pretty sure that there were degrees of this awareness. That was one of the Moscow rules. Listen to your gut. And the subtext of that rule, I always thought, had to do with aborting an operation, not being put off by saying, "This simply doesn't feel right," and shutting it down without any evidence that you could present to your boss.

The fact was, you didn't need any evidence. You could go back to your office and say, "I didn't go. Something wasn't right there." Because if you go, if you go against your gut, if you go, and if it is off, and if it is wrong, there's somebody's life in the balance. They will arrest, and typically, in Moscow, they will execute the asset that works for you.
MICHAEL MORELL:
So Jonna, you and Tony helped with many of the exhibits at the new Spy Museum that just opened here, in Washington. It's a departure from its previous incarnation, with a much broader look at intelligence and spycraft. What do you like best about the new museum?
JONNA MENDEZ:
There's not much that I don't like. It's a purpose-built building that is simply architecturally stunning. It's a gorgeous, gorgeous building with all kind of transparencies. There's a transparent veil, a glass veil, that overhangs what is a black box.

And inside of that box, we have the room, and we have the luxury, because it took five years to put this new museum together, to very thoughtfully explore some areas that, in the first spy museum, we presented. But you couldn't go into it, necessarily, in any depth.

In this museum, you can sit down and interact with a lot of the exhibits. There must be more computer screens in this museum than there are in most schools. You can play games. You can look at history. You can go to Abbottabad with you. (LAUGH) And you can Red Team what the intelligence officers were having to grapple with and present to the White House.

You can watch as information comes in about, is it Osama bin Laden in there? Well, here's a piece of information that would make you think it's him. Here's another one that would raise questions. And you try and imagine being the analyst putting together these pieces, knitting it into a piece of intelligence that you can take to the White House, to the president, and say, "This is the best that we've got," and then watch them grapple with, I think it was a 60% chance.
MICHAEL MORELL:
I think the president, if he were here, would tell you he was 50/50, at the end of the day.
JONNA MENDEZ:
Wow. And then try to imagine being the president. Are you going to pull the trigger or not? It takes what was just, you know, the headlines in the newspaper. And it takes you into the moment and everything that was involved. It's a fascinating piece of work. And you can walk in and sit down at a computer screen. And you can go through it. It's excellent.
MICHAEL MORELL:
So both you and Tony have been advocates for more transparency about the world of intelligence. Why do you think that's important?
JONNA MENDEZ:
You know, a lot of people think of working at Langley as working with a family. And they think of their work as a calling. People that go into CIA typically stay. They stay for long periods of time. They don't hop around to different jobs. The reason is, once you get in there and see what the work is and see what the possibilities are and understand that you can participate and make a difference, actually help make a difference, and sometimes, you can read the newspaper the next day and know that you made a difference, it's addicting.

Tony always said that working at the CIA was like drinking from a firehose, and that retiring was like jumping from a moving train. And in our office, retirement, the average lifespan, when I retired, the average lifespan for our guys, our men, was 18 months.

They retired and died. It was their life. It was absolutely their life. I think what Tony and I have tried to do is open it up enough where young people could consider, maybe, this kind of work, government work, as honorable work. They could consider it as a career, something positive that they would like to be a part of.

And I know that one officer at Tony's celebration of life, he spoke. He talked about the number of young people that came in after the first of Tony's books, The Master of Disguise, after the publication of that book. And they said, "We read that book. And we would like to be part of this. We want to join the CIA." That was kind of our goal. Now, I know that CIA has 50,000 applicants a year. They are not worried about getting to the bottom of the barrel. But we just like to encourage people to consider it as a career option.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Jonna, you've been terrific with your time. I just wanna ask just a handful more questions.

Both you and Tony were consultants, are consultants, for a number of Hollywood treatments of the intelligence business. Which movie do you think best captures what the intelligence business is all about? I get asked this question all the time. (LAUGH)
JONNA MENDEZ:
You might run up against a problem with me, because I don't watch that many movies. I don't watch that much TV. We were amazed at what they did with Argo. Of course, like a lot of movies, they kind of move a little right or a little left of what is the ground truth, because they're making entertainment, not a documentary. But actually, Argo gave a very compelling look inside of an intelligence scenario.

We always like the John le Carré books. We like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. We like that whole series. We have always been entertained by James Bond, less so today. Doesn't seem to age well. Tom Cruise is crazy fun to watch. But of course, nothing is real in a Tom Cruise movie.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Mission: Impossible, yeah. So another question, you met with then-President George H.W. Bush in the Oval Office, in disguise. How did that come about? What happened? Tell us about that.
JONNA MENDEZ:
You know, it was never my intention to take that material to the White House. It was a new version of our mask technology. Initially, it made me an African American man. It was stunning. It had gloves that came with it. I showed it to my office director.

He said, "Let's show the DCI," head of CIA. That was Bill Webster. He said, "I love this. Let's show it to the president." I said, "I can't. I can't go to the White House as a man. I can't walk it. I can't talk it. Looks great." He said, "Make another one."

So we did. And a young woman who worked for me, basically, gave me her face as a goodbye, because she was leaving. And so we did take it to the White House. I went to Webster's house in true face, went into a restroom, and put on this disguise. His little dog hated me, when I walked in. The dog barked like crazy. When I came out, the dog loved me. So there's that. (LAUGH)
MICHAEL MORELL:
That's great.
JONNA MENDEZ:
We went to the White House. I said, "I have no ID. I have no paperwork. I have nothing." He said, "That's okay." And he was right. We went and stood outside of the Oval Office. And there was something going long. And we were stuck in a big circle, telling jokes.

And I was trying very hard to laugh very hard in my mask. Then we went in. I was the first one to brief President Bush. I showed him some pictures of him wearing some traditional disguises, when he was head of CIA. I said, "So I'm going to show you now the latest in disguise." The said, "Well, where is it?" I said, "I'm wearing it." So he looks harder.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Wow.
JONNA MENDEZ:
So I said, "I'm going to take it off and show it to you." And he said, "No, no, no, no." And he got up. And he came around. And he walked behind. He looked. He went, and he sat back down. He said, "Okay, take it off." So I peeled off my face. And John Sununu, who was sitting next to me, to the left.
MICHAEL MORELL:
White House chief of staff at the time.
JONNA MENDEZ:
Almost fell out of his chair. Because the whole time I was talking, he was next, he was making the notes of what he was going to say to the president. He wasn't ready. Everybody else was kind of ready. Everybody else, from the picture, was amused.

It was Brent Scowcroft, Bob Gates, John Sununu. I'm forgetting. There's one other. Anyway, it was an interesting group of people. So I was the first one out of the office. And I was followed by the White House photographer, who had been in the room and had been taking pictures. I guess they take pictures all the time. She came over and said, "What did you do? What was that?" And I said, "I can't tell you. It's classified."
MICHAEL MORELL:
That's great. Jonna, thank you so much for your time. You know, I really hope that there is a Tony and a Jonna Mendez at CIA today. But thank you for spending the time with us. The book is The Moscow Rules. And the authors are Tony and Jonna Mendez. Thank you.
JONNA MENDEZ:
Thank you.
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