Meet Tony Mendez, Author of ARGO

Update - The date and time for this have been changed from Sunday to Friday, Dec. 14 from 5-7pm.

ARGO - The true, declassified account of CIA operative Tony Mendez’s daring rescue of American hostages from Iran that inspired the critically-acclaimed film directed by and starring Academy Award-winning Ben Affleck, and co-starring John Goodman, Alan Arkin, and Bryan Cranston.

  • Book Signing
  • Meet ARGO author Antonio “Tony” Mendez
  • Washington County Arts Council
  • Friday, December 14
  • 5pm – 7pm
  • 14 W Washington Street
  • Off the Square in Downtown Hagerstown

Mendez was named by the CIA one of the top 50 officers in the first 50 years of the organization, and a recipient of the Intelligence Star for Valor for the ARGO operation. Mendez is a highly decorated CIA veteran, and is now widely known, for his on-the-scene management of the “Canadian caper” during the Iran hostage crisis, in which he exfiltrated six American diplomats from Iran in November 1979. Posing as a Canadian film crew, they were accompanied by Dennis Packer, a CBC cameraman. As part of their cover, the diplomats carried passports issued by the Canadian government to document them as Canadian citizens. After declassification of records, the full details of the operation were reported in a 2007 article.

After graduating from high school in Colorado, Mendez went on to study at the University of Colorado. He was hired by the Central Intelligence Agency in 1965, becoming an espionage artist for the Technical Services Division. Mendez worked as a CIA officer in South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. His work in the agency frequently dealt with forging documents, creating disguises and handling other graphical work related to espionage. He served in the CIA for 25 years. He was the director of a division in the CIA (Chief of Disguise). After retirement, he served on the Board of Directors for the International Spy Museum. He has written four books, and works full-time as an artist. He has been featured in numerous articles, and other books. His art work is sold at Pleasant Valley Studios, at Gifts in Boonsboro, and at numerous galleries.

According to, what people are saying about Tony Mendez, and ARGO:

“This true spy story has it all: guile, audacity, and bravery in a struggle with a fanatic and lethal enemy, a crucial role played by a loyal ally, and a marvelous conspiracy with Hollywood.”

—R. James Woolsey, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency

“Artist-spy Tony Mendez paints a dramatic portrait of unlikely collaborators—Hollywood, the CIA and Canada—allied in the common cause of freedom. Mendez fills Argo with the drama, pressure and tension of one of CIA’s most spectacular rescue operations. ARGO is proof that espionage reality is more riveting than spy fiction.”
—Robert Wallace, former director, CIA Office of Technical Service

“Tony Mendez is a spy’s spy. His work saved my neck on numerous occasions. I laugh quietly to myself when I watch Hollywood’s version of disguise technology in today’s spy movies—because Tony did it better. What he did in the Argo operation was spine-tingling espionage at its very best.”
—James M. Olson, former director of CIA Counterintelligence

“ARGO is a must-read to understand how dangerous risks have been successfully managed by men and women like Tony Mendez operating in secrecy for our protection.”

—William H. Webster, former director, Central Intelligence and Federal Bureau of Investigation

This event is sponsored by the:
City of Hagerstown
Hagerstown Washington Co. Convention & Visitors Bureau
Washington County Arts Council