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Tony Mendez

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Tony Mendez
Mendez (left) with Jimmy Carter
after the Canadian Caper
Birth nameAntonio Joseph Mendez
BornNovember 15, 1940(1940-11-15)
Eureka, Nevada, U.S.
DiedJanuary 19, 2019(2019-01-19) (aged 78)
Frederick, Maryland, U.S.
Allegiance United States
Years of service1963–1990
UnitGraphics and Authentication Division
Battles/warsIran hostage crisis, Cold War
AwardsIntelligence Star (1980)
CIA Trailblazer Award (1997)
Order of the Sphinx (2000)

Antonio Joseph Mendez (November 15, 1940 – January 19, 2019) was an American technical operations officer for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He worked in support of covert CIA operations. He wrote three memoirs about his CIA experiences.

Mendez was known for his on-the-scene management of the "Canadian Caper" during the Iran hostage crisis. He helped rescue six American diplomats from Iran in January 1980 by arranging to have them pose as a Canadian movie crew. As part of their cover, the diplomats carried passports issued by the Canadian government to document them as Canadian citizens.[1] This was loosely made into the 2012 Academy Award-winning movie Argo.[2]

In 2009, Mendez was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.[3] He died on January 19, 2019 from complications of the disease in Frederick, Maryland, aged 78.[4]