Former CIA Chief of Disguise Breaks Down Cold War Spy Cameras | WIRED

During the Cold War, surveillance in Moscow was the most difficult kind of surveillance that the US had encountered around the globe. There are lots of was to collect intelligence, and cameras were former CIA Chief of Disguise Jonna Mendez’s favorite. Jonna talks about all the different photography methods US spies used during the Cold War, from carrier pigeons holding tiny cameras to a variety of different spy cameras that could be hidden in pens, ties and pocketbooks.

Check out Jonna Mendez’s most recent book The Moscow Rules or find more information about her on her website on

Moscow Rules:

Archival images courtesy of the International Spy Museum (SPY) in Washington, DC, a Guinness World Record recognized nonprofit with the largest collection of spy artifacts in the world. At the Museum, you can see firsthand some of these spy gadgets:

Additional Archival Images Courtesy of:

Images of Tolkachev are courtesy of a family friend, from The Billion Dollar Spy. You can find out more about the book here:
Image of Matchbox Camera courtesy of the CIA, who does not endorse the contents of this production.

Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division

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Former CIA Chief of Disguise Breaks Down Cold War Spy Cameras | WIRED