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Read the complete transcript of this episode, which aired on February 24th, 2004.

Episode 3: SpyCatchers

Most of us think of James Bond as the quintessential spy -- a man who always knows who the enemy is, always manages to steal his secrets with grace and aplomb, and always manages to escape from elaborate traps no other mortal could survive. But the world of espionage is much more subtle and, ultimately, more fascinating than the movies portray.

In the aftermath of September 11, the CIA and FBI were criticized for their failure to predict and counter the attacks. What is being done to prevent another tragedy?
Since the end of the Cold War, the concept of the "enemy" has changed tremendously; today's adversaries can be not only foreign spies or soldiers but suicide bombers, terrorists and operatives working for sleeper cells in remote corners of Afghanistan or even in our own country. In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, the CIA and FBI were criticized for their failure to predict and counter the attacks. What is being done to prevent a tragedy of that magnitude from transpiring again? The events of 9/11 compelled both agencies to revamp the way they handle national security in order to respond to an ever-present and ever-changing threat. Time is of the essence -- both organizations must be at least one step ahead of the enemy at all times, with more advanced devices and more cunning tactics.

Framed by the unparalleled insight of retired CIA "master spies" Tony and Jonna Mendez, "SpyCatchers" looks at the old and new worlds of espionage, revealing the mistakes and successes of the past while delving into the updated ways new spies are trained. Tony and Jonna Mendez were chameleons of the espionage world who eluded the K.G.B. in Russia at the height of the Cold War. They now apply their unique skills to help train a new generation of spies and counter-intelligence officers ("SpyCatchers"). In the film, the couple describes how they became spies, what it was like to operate in Moscow, and how they developed some of their most ingenious disguises. They also recount their most important missions and assorted tricks of the trade. Lending additional perspective is Prof. Bernard Reich, who sets the historical context for one of Tony Mendez's greatest espionage triumphs -- in which Mendez played a role in averting a potential nuclear weapons standoff between the U.S. and Soviet Union, preventing a turn of events that has "only one parallel since World War II, and that was the Cuban Missile Crisis."

This is the first time cameras have been allowed into the FBI's undercover training school, giving viewers their first glimpse of how counter-terror agents are trained. The audience will come face to face with the CIA's "Predators," unmanned aerial vehicles equipped with hellfire missiles and streaming real-time video; the "Nightstalker," the FBI aircraft equipped with infrared cameras that was used to track American traitor Aldrich Ames; and the "Help Wizard," part of an interactive training program, which scolds or encourages agents depending on the quality of their interrogation skills. The Mendezes participate in a new "Hounds and Hares" training exercise that pits the CIA against the FBI; they act as "hares" -- foreign agents coming to Washington to meet with and activate a terrorist sleeper cell agent. Can they outwit the "hounds" -- the FBI's elite special surveillance group who've never before been caught on film?

Producer/Director: Carol Fleisher

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