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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Masters Of Disguise Discuss Saddam Hussein's Possible Disguises

Aired August 1, 2003 - 20:33   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, Saddam Hussein may have a new look. The Pentagon released a set of digitally enhanced photos of the former dictator. I don't know if you've seen them today, they have been out a lot.
The photos are meant to show how he might have changed his appearance after weeks on the run.

I'm joined now by Antonio and Jonna Mendez in Washington, the husband and wife that are the co-authors of the book "Spy Dust". And both are, how is this former chiefs of disguise for the CIA. Welcome, appreciate you joining us.

ANTIONIO MENDEZ, FORMER DIRECTOR OF DISGUISE, CIA: Thank you.

COOPER: What is the key to a good disguise, Antonio?

MENDEZ: Well, the disguise really has to fit into the context that you're using it. A good disguise standing out there alone is not all that effective. In fact, as you say, could put six pounds of makeup on some people and still wouldn't make any difference.

COOPER: I want to show you both the couple of images that we have been getting out of Saddam Hussein. These were digitally enhanced. Jonna, what do you think of the images? To me, it looks like Saddam Hussein with a white mustache. I don't see what the big disguise here is.

JONNA MENDEZ, FORMER DIRCTOR OF DISGUISE, CIA: That isn't an particularly effective disguise. Tony did a similar sketch last night of what he thought Saddam would look like as an old man. I believe, he removed that mustache for starters.

But, you know, you're looking at these without any animation. If Saddam could walk and move and act convincingly like like an old man, it could work.

COOPER: Antonio, do you have your drawings of some possibilities for disguise?

A. MENDEZ: I do have them. I believe you all have them, too.

COOPER: Let's put some up on the screen even we can talk about it a little bit. This is with longer hair.

A. MENDEZ: There is my old man. COOPER: And the difference is long hair...

A. MENDEZ: The difference is that you're moving the hairline, which they didn't do in the other one, but in this case, here is another example of a bearded person, but with an ethnic costume, which is part of what you're trying to do.

In other words, what you're trying to do is take advantage of the population at large, particularly those who are not interesting, maybe that you could blend into.

COOPER: And, Jonna, I guess it is not just, I mean, if Saddam Hussein is apparently on the run or allegedly on the run, moving from place to place, it is not just him, I guess, it's whoever is with him has to be in some form of disguise as well.

J. MENDEZ: That's right. His entourage is also going to have to be really low key. They're going have to try to blend in and look like ordinary people other than government officials. It's a pretty major problem, especially if he's moving around the city or the area like it sounds like he is.

COOPER: Antonio, I understand you brought in some implements of disguise with you.

A. MENDEZ: Yes, I just thought I would throw a couple things on here. That's a nose and a beard and that sort of thing. And even a set of teeth.

J. MENDEZ: I think the point here is that these are things that can be -- very quickly be put on and taken off. Fairly radically change the way you look so if Saddam is moving from a building to a vehicle, or vice versa, he could put these on and take these off.

COOPER: But, I mean, this requires a certain amount of forethought. Having rubber noses in your suitcase is not everyone's forte. I mean, I know you guys do it because that's your expertise. Do you think Saddam actually prepared for this kind of thing?

A. MENDEZ: This is the sort of thing you could meet some makeup artist in Hollywood and commission and he could have it in place. You know, you want to have this sort of thing laid aside for the day that you might need it.

J. MENDEZ: This would have facilitated Saddam's movement even before the war. And that's one of the reasons that we think he probably does have a cabinet with some materials that have been prepared.

COOPER: It is a fascinating topic. Antonio and Jonna mendez, nobody knows disguise better than you two. Appreciate you joining us to talk about it.

J. MENDEZ: Thank you.

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