Culture at the fair: intelligence pioneers

The story is worthy of a Hollywood film. In 1989, the CIA urgently had to exfiltrate from the USSR one of its best moles, a KGB general who believed he had been exposed. In the “Disguise” department, which trains agents in the use of false papers, wigs, camera pens or double-bottomed satchels, Jonna Mendez develops a daring scenario.

During a performance of the ballet Coppélia At the Moscow Congress Center, the general and his wife will take advantage of the few minutes of intermission to exchange clothes, jewelry and hairstyles with a couple of bogus tourists, before going down the drain!

This incredible mission is one of the delicious anecdotes gathered in The spies tell, animation series from the eponymous book by Chloé Aeberhardt (1). For five years, the journalist collected testimony from retired CIA, KGB, DST or Mossad retirees “Rewrite the history of intelligence by giving women the place they deserve”. And twist my neck at the shot of “The intriguing sexy who sleeps to getr information ». A century after his execution for high treason, the courtesan Mata Hari still haunts the collective imagination.

Tasty deconstruction of clichés

The spies met by Chloé Aeberhardt often had to fight to find a place in a macho environment. And it is often because they were underestimated that they were able to carry out their missions. No one was suspicious of Gabriele, a young student hired as an analyst in the West German secret service and who, out of love and then out of conviction, transmitted thousands of top secret documents to the Stasi. It was because she was a woman that Martha, an agent for the American military intelligence service in Panama, managed to gain the confidence of General Noriega’s mistress and obtain his surrender in 1990.

The mischievous tone of the narrator, who details the little ones ” next to “ of the survey, goes perfectly with the dazzling colors and the minimalist line of the illustrator Aurélie Pollet. Its inventive staging is teeming with visual finds, as when the well-ordered living room of Ludmilla, a former Soviet spy who lived decades in Argentina under a false identity, lying to her own daughters, suddenly breaks into a thousand pieces: “She gave her life to the KGB: remorse, a crack and the whole house collapsed..

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