DC -- International Spy Museum -- 2. Covers & Legends:
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SPYCOV_141026_03.JPG: Cover or Legend:
A spy's false identify can take years to build and seconds to destroy. The importance, danger and duration of the mission determine how much care is invested in the creation of an identity.
A "cover" is usually part of a quick disguise. It can be as simple as a false name. A "legend" is a carefully developed artificial life history and background requiring painstaking attention to detail. A spy may live a false identify for years, establishing the legend in preparation for an operation.
SPYCOV_141026_06.JPG: Living Your Cover:
The first thing you must do is give up your identity. You will be given a new one -- your cover. Think of it as a new persona, one that guards and conceals the real you underneath, so you can carry out your secret mission with no one suspecting who you really are. Your cover story is tailored to you and to your mission. It must fit both, like a glove.
Just like an actor on a stage, you must live your cover and maintain the fiction of your new identity for as long as you are on a mission -- from a few days to several years. You must become your cover, your legend, and remember every detail, so that even under hostile interrogation, you will stay in character. Your mission, and your very life, depends on convincing people that this fiction is fact.
SPYCOV_141026_12.JPG: Admiral Stansfield Turner, then Director of Central Intelligence, presented the Intelligence Star for Valor to Antonio Mendez for his role in rescuing the diplomats.
SPYCOV_141026_24.JPG: Canadian Caper:
While radical followers of the Ayatollah Khomeini held other Americans hostage for over a year at the US Embassy in Teheran, CIA disguise expert Antonio Mendez facilitated the escape of six diplomats who had managed to seek refuge at the homes of Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor and Canadian consular officer John Sheardown.
Mendez evaluated a number of possible cover situations. What was believable and possible? A movie production company scouting locations for a new film fit the needs. Creating scripts, Hollywood offices, and announcements in Hollywood Reporter and Variety, Mendez's production company appeared authentic. The "film crew" would include the six American diplomats.
SPYCOV_141026_28.JPG: Kevin Harkins carried the "Argo" script with him, as well as trade publications that such a professional would be likely to have.
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2014 photos: Equipment this year: I mostly used my Fuji XS-1 camera but, depending on the event, I also used a Nikon D7000.
Trips this year:
three Civil War Trust conferences (Winchester, VA, Nashville, TN, and Atlanta, GA),
Michigan to visit mom in the hospice before she died and then a return trip after she died, and
my 9th consecutive San Diego Comic-Con trip (including Las Vegas, Reno, Carson City, Sacramento, Oakland, and Los Angeles).
Ego strokes: Paul Dickson used one of my photos as the author photo in his book "Aphorisms: Words Wrought by Writers".
Number of photos taken this year: just over 470,000.