Jonna Mendez, Former CIA Chief of Disguise, Joins The National Cold War Center’s Advisory Board

BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. (April 16, 2024) – Jonna Mendez, the former CIA Chief of Disguise who played a key role in America’s victory in the Cold War, has joined the National Cold War Center’s (NCWC) National Advisory Board.

Recruited into the Central Intelligence Agency in Europe, Mendez was an operative in Moscow and around the globe throughout the Cold War. Upon her retirement, Mendez received the CIA’s Intelligence Commendation Medal.

“I am thrilled to be part of the National Advisory Board for the nation’s official museum of the Cold War,” said Mendez. “I hope my unique, personal perspective will help current and future generations understand the gravity and lessons of the Cold War and all that went into sealing America’s victory.”

Following Mendez’s retirement from the CIA she transitioned to a second career as a photographer, consultant/lecturer and author. Her recently published book, In True Face: A Woman’s Life in the CIA, Unmasked tells the courageous story of being a female spy in the height of the Cold War. Mendez also co-authored Moscow Rules with her husband Antonio Mendez, a former CIA operative who led the “Canadian Caper” during the Iran hostage crisis that inspired the 2012 film, “Argo.”

“Jonna Mendez did not simply live through the Cold War. She served on the front lines in a complex and intriguing role,” said Mary Gay Shipley, chair of The National Cold War Center Board of Directors. “We look forward to benefitting from Jonna’s fascinating experience as we build this world-class museum.”

The National Cold War Center is a federally designated museum that will be located on the campus of the former Blytheville Air Force Base (originally known as the Blytheville Army Airfield), which opened in 1942 as a training facility for World War II pilots. In 1958, the base was converted to a Strategic Air Command alert mission. It remained a key U.S. military command for three decades – through events such as the Cuban Missile Crisis and the signing of the treaties officially ending the Cold War in the early 1990s. The NCWC is targeting a grand opening date in the fall of 2027. Once open, the NCWC will serve as the United States’ official museum of the Cold War.