Deception, Illusion, and Espionage: An Unlikely Recipe for Success | Jonna Mendez | TEDxFoggyBottom

Deception, Illusion, and Espionage: An Unlikely Recipe for Success | Jonna Mendez | TEDxFoggyBottom

SUBTITLE'S INFO:

Language: English

Type: Robot

Number of phrases: 189

Number of words: 1347

Number of symbols: 5661

DOWNLOAD SUBTITLES:

DOWNLOAD AUDIO AND VIDEO:

SUBTITLES:

Subtitles generated by robot
00:00
I was an undercover CIA officer for over 25 years I lived and worked overseas and around the world I lived in Europe I lived in the Far East I lived in the subcontinent I was supporting CIA operations from a technical point of view on a global basis the office that I belong to at CIA was called the office of technical
00:37
service we were some people said the CIA's answer to Q and the James Bond movies and to a certain extent that's exactly what we did we were composed of mechanical and electrical engineers we had chemists and physicists working for us and then another group of people harder to explain we had counterfeiters we had disguise officers forensics folks we were a big cluster of technical capability that
01:09
could handle just about any kind of operation that you could imagine and some that you could not like you we did not give James our toys we knew that James was either going to lose them or he was going to break them so we traveled with our equipment typically Moscow where we were focusing a lot of our attention was one of the hardest places in the world if not the hardest place in the world for the CIA
01:40
to work operationally we were we were considered by the KGB to be the main enemy and we returned the compliment by calling Moscow the belly of the beast it was a beast it was we thought the KGB it was 10 feet tall and so did they and so we spent a good amount of time trying to figure out how to do the work the work was a meeting with agents putting down dock dead drops putting up signals making phone calls
02:13
letters doing all of that while under surveillance by the mighty KGB our officers were under 24-hour seven-day-a-week surveillance of all types our apartments were bugged our cars were followed if we were walking through Moscow we were being stopped by foot surveillance right behind us it was almost impossible to get anything done the surveillance was like an embrace from the KGB that was
02:45
smothering us so what do you do how do you react to that kind of Opposition in the field my husband was Tony Mendez and he was played by Ben Affleck and the movie called Argo Tony they didn't mention it in the movie but Tony had deep connections to Hollywood to the the trades people out in LA that did a lot of things we were interested in doing special effects people make up people
03:17
tony was chief of disguise ten years before I was chief of disguise and so he passed on some of his expertise to me but he had a particular interest in the magic industry out in LA not so much the magicians on the stage but the people that were working behind the scenes to make that magic happen so we went to LA and we posed some questions to them we said we have a problem we're looking for novel
03:47
solutions what have you got can you help us we need to hide the true identity of our officers in Moscow well la did have some ideas of course that's what they do for a living they introduced us to a new concept they said what you are calling an operation we call a performance that's what we do we put on performances and before we start working on that performance we have to initially we have to define the stage
04:19
that the performance is going to take place on so for you CIA is that a streetscape is it a parking garage are you gonna be in a car you have to know what your stage is then you have to know who your audience is who are you playing to who are you trying to fool is that the guard outside of the American Embassy that you have to walk back and forth past him a couple of times a day is it the team in the car following you
04:49
down the street or is it the hidden video camera in your parking garage in the embassy who is watching you who do you try and fool once you assemble those two pieces you can pretty much choose the time and choose the place and simply overwhelm them with your performance then they showed us some tools that they used the one that really caught our eye is what's called a stunt double mask you all know how they're used when the movie
05:21
star is so famous or so good-looking that they can't risk damaging him they'll put a stuntman in a stunt double mask on the horse except for Tom Cruise Tom Cruise does not allow stunt doubles in his movies he does it all himself we liked the idea of stunt double masks they're quick on the quick off they dramatically change your appearance and we started using them and found them to be valuable to our operations but that audience piece of it
05:54
did not allow you to get close enough to one of those masks before the illusion fell apart and you saw it was a mask so we went back to our disguise labs out at Langley and we invented a whole new genre of masks masks that are so good that are so realistic that you can actually get up close and have a personal contact with someone for an extended period of time they're good enough that you can brief the President
06:27
of the United States in the Oval Office wearing a mask and he isn't sure if it's you or if it's if it's someone else I said the stunt double mask came off quickly so did our new masks on and off like a hat those masks were the beginning of a whole new generation of work that we did at the CIA once we could make these masks that fit you so
06:57
well then we discovered we could make a twin we could make another you there could be two of you we could actually make five or six of you but usually one extra was all we needed if we had two of you we could play some games with surveillance and perhaps and get some of our officers free and we did that we also were working on something called a jack-in-the-box it was a pop-up dummy that we used in car surveillance
07:28
situations and we discovered we could make a mask of you put it on the dummy with a wig and your clothing in a car surveillance situation you could exit the car the dummy would pop up surveillance would come around the corner and and never have a clue what was going on this all sounds a little far-fetched and you wonder how valuable was it really there was one case that always stuck in my mind we met with a
07:57
soviet asset one particular night and he handed us a bag of film once it was developed the pentagon told us that that night that film saved the US government Department of Defense two billion dollars in research and development that they did not have to pursue because we now knew what the Soviet Union was doing in their radar program for the next ten years airborne and on the ground
08:28
offensive and defensive if you want to talk about value for the work that's being done that's just one small example you might wonder that I can tell you these stories and I can tell you these stories because this information is no longer classified although that cat-and-mouse game goes on a pace in Moscow it's not over you might also ask me well then what are they doing if they're not doing this and
09:00
I would have to tell you that I can't tell you because if I did I'd have to kill you thank you [Applause] [Music]

DOWNLOAD SUBTITLES: