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wiredmagazine9721 karma

Well, we could stretch pretty far. We could turn men into women, but not just any man. Not a Marine, for instance! Not every man would let us put a wig on him...We could change ethnicity as well as gender. There are so many stories that it is hard to settle on one - but we did turn a 6’5” blonde Texan into a Pakistani wearing shalwar kameez and sandals made out of recycled tires, carrying a cigar into the lair of a terrorist at one part. That was as much an acting gig as it was a disguise operation - but it worked, to his credit. Nobody, including me, got shot!

wiredmagazine7852 karma

Not sure I can answer this. Maybe I can say that I don’t look like I want to, but I left my tools in the CIA Disguise Labs. There is a mask back there that makes me look pretty wonderful, but they won’t let me have it anymore...

wiredmagazine6484 karma

We were part of the process of the development of facial recognition. One of CIA’s directors, Bill Casey, asked Tony Mendez if we had facial recognition like in one of the Bond movies - Goldfinger I think. We did not. Casey said, “Well, let’s get on with it!” and to my knowledge that was the beginning of our participation. Facial recognition is based on multiple immovable points on a human face, things like the distance between the eyes, from outer corner of the eye to the outer corner of the mouth. How the ears are set. Things that are hard to alter. Hard, but not impossible. That is where it intersects with disguise. Facial Recognition is a terrific tool, but not foolproof.

wiredmagazine5819 karma

I can tell you a little about a failed operation - one that has always been stuck in my mind because I can’t really say exactly why it went wrong. I don’t know why. But it did, and it was in Moscow. One of our officers was using a disguise that I had helped prepare for him. It was a mask. Somewhere during that evening the operation went wrong and our officer had to abort. Part of that act was to remove his disguise and stash it somewhere nearby - like maybe under a rock. I don’t know. What I DO know is that the KGB found it, and that it is now on display in the KGB museum in Moscow - a place that, unfortunately, I cannot visit. I would love to see my work on display, even if it is these years later and even if it is probably slowly decaying. It was a lovely piece of work at the time...

wiredmagazine4145 karma

No. That was always the crazy part of the story. Glasses? Really? He took them off and became Superman? Lois didn’t realize that he was the hero, right in front of her. No. Glasses are useful in they break up the geometry of the face, can distract depending on the style (cat-eye with rhinestones anybody?) but by themselves they aren’t enough. In Clark Kent’s case, I think they were serving simply as a stand-in for the absence of the Superman costume.