‘Mission Impossible’: CIA’s former chief of disguise recalls time she ‘infiltrated’ Oval Office with a mask

Yet another “conspiracy theory” is now looking a lot more plausible.

For years, the tin-foil-hat brigade has insisted that stand-ins for politicians and celebrities, including President Joe Biden, have been donning masks and fooling the world.

It seems laughable.

I mean, would the Deep State really dispatch a fake Biden for an appearance on a late-night talk show?

Maybe, maybe not.

But an excerpt published in the Daily Mail from a new book by the CIA’s former Chief of Disguise makes one thing perfectly clear: They absolutely could do it if they wanted to.

In her new book, titled, “In True Face: A Woman’s Life in the CIA, Unmasked,” Jonna Mendez recalls the time she “deceived the Secret Service, infiltrated the Oval Office and shocked the President… by peeling off MY face.”

In 1989, Mendez, a young white woman, “changed into a man’s suit and donned the mask of a black male, adding matching skintight latex gloves that were precisely painted with the same skin color, including veins,” she writes.

“Exercises like this, if successful, provided proof of concept,” she explains. “Could I convincingly change my gender? What about skin color? Could I change both at the same time?”

Mendez’s office director, Frank Anderson, escorted her into the office of Judge Webster, a former director of the FBI.

“A tall, broad-shouldered executive, Anderson walked in first, followed by a 5’7′ black man wearing a suit and tie,” Mendez recalls.

“As soon as I removed the full-face mask, Judge Webster’s face lit up like an enthusiastic little boy,” she writes. “Astounded by the mask’s ability to change ethnicity and gender, he and Frank decided we needed to show off this new capability to the President, George HW Bush.”

After some discussion, it was agreed that the White House Secret Service agents would never buy Mendez as a black man.

“While it is lifelike and animates well, I can’t walk or talk like a black man,” she told Webster and Anderson. “The Secret Service will take one look at me, ask me a question, and it will all be over.”

Instead, a female mask was prepared in the CIA’s “lab in Langley” for President Bush.

“The mask was a masterpiece,” Mendez writes. She had named the mask “Becky” after “one of our best sculptors, a young Latina woman.”

“Two days after that, I waltzed into the White House, drafting through security behind Judge Webster,” she recalls.

Once inside the Oval Office, “Webster introduced me by my name and explained I was here to show the President some of the agency’s new disguise capabilities,” according to Mendez. “I pulled out the folder I’d brought, which contained photos of the President himself in disguise, from when he was director of the CIA.”

And here’s where the conspiracy theorists again found vindication.

Mendez writes:

After explaining that our disguise capabilities had improved immensely since his time at the agency, I began enumerating all the ways we could use them to evade the KGB.

We could convincingly disguise an officer, even create a clone of an officer – a twin! We could change an officer’s ethnicity or gender or ‘borrow’ another person’s identity if necessary.

This technology would change the way we were able to work against KGB harassment on the streets of Moscow.


Bush was thrilled.

“Suddenly charismatic and intensely curious, his eyes were almost sparkling as he asked questions,” following the “big reveal,” she writes.

On X, users contemplated the “implications” of Mendez’s memoir.

“Imagine what’s possible today,” wrote one user on X. “Nothing is, what we think it is.”

“Occasionally we’ve seen videos of ‘Joe Biden’ making a public appearance while appearing to wear such a mask (the tag showed),” said another user. “Lots of implications of this.”

“This was in 1989?” asked one user. “Imagine today’s capabilities.”

Melissa Fine


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