Jim picks up his briefing at a carousel and is informed that Vincente Bravo, dictator of Nueva Tierra, plans to invade his neighbor, democracy San Cristobal, within 48 hours. The United Peoples' Republic (UPR) has sent their man Nikor Janos to San Cristobal to supervise the invasion and receive the coded plan. The IMF must break the code and thwart the invasion.
Jim assemble the usual team plus agent Lynn. In the final briefing, the team review a small wheeled device capable of traveling through a pipe and taking a picture. The invasion plans are being delivered by a courier from the UPR and the code is merged with a photo and a special spray is needed to separate the message from the photo. They review a film of Bravo's headquarters and they've tipped off the dictator that Lynn is an American espionage agent arriving in the country the next day. The American have captured guerilla "El Lider," a revolutionary leader in San Cristobal, who hasn't been seen in seven years. They have a special message of their own that is important enough for the UPR to encode.
Lynn is leaving San Cristobal by plane and going to America and Paris is also on board disguised as El Lider. He hijacks the plane and forces it to land in Nueva Tierra. while Bravo and Janos discuss the fact that Lynn has escaped them. Jim is at the airport disguised as an officer and meets with their local contact, while Paris is greeted as a former revolutionary and Lynn is taken into custody. Their contact taunts one of the officer drivers and when the military man gives chase, Willy drives up in a substitute car and leaves it for the man when he returns.
Aboard the plane, Bravo's man Lacerda interrogates Lynn and search her. Willy and Jim are working as surveyors outside of Bravo's headquarters while Paris is taken in past the heavy security via the substitute car. Lacerda finds a hidden microdot on Lynn's contact lens.
Paris is taken to Bravo and Janos while Barney emerges from a secret compartment in the substitute car and slips through the grounds and into the basement. Bravo knows Paris from ten years ago and says he doesn't know the new man, but Paris quickly covers then activates a hidden microphone in his knife so Jim and Willy can listen in. Barney then shorts out the lights in the basement where the communication center is, slips in, and gets to the nearby pipe juncture. Paris demands to know of the invasion plan and wants to know what his reward will be for going along. He demands the presidency and goes over Bravo's head to Janos.
While Paris stalls, Barney slips the device into the pipes and sends it by control cable toward the communication center, after wiring its camera into the building's satellite dish. Lacerda brings in the enlarged microdot and they ask Paris to leave, but he warns that his revolutionary forces in San Cristobal would rise up against them if he were to have an "accident." Once he's gone, Janos goes over the microdot and determines they must code and send it to the UPR.
Barney uses the device's built-in drill to bore a hole in the pipe above the communication center, but a few drops of water spill out as it moves forward to position its camera.
Bravo and Janos consider what to offer Paris but Bravo doesn't want him involved at all. Janos prepares to offer Paris a bribe… and kill him if he refuses. Jim sends word to Barney that the coded message is on the way. Bravo takes the microdot to the basement while Janos meets with Paris and secretly assures him he will have an independent position as Vice President.
The communication center operative bonds the photo to the coded message as the camera transmits it. However, the operative notices the water and looks up to spot the leak. Spotting nothing, the man continues working and in the van, Jim and Willy get a clear shot of the coded message and since it's their message, they start decoding it. Meanwhile, a janitor prepares to go into the pipe room, pausing long enough to alert Barney. The IMF agent manages to hide above the ceiling pipes, but his equipment is in plain sight. Fortunately the janitor doesn't notice them and leaves.
Jim has trouble decoding the message while Janos reassures Bravo that Paris is considering their offer, and he only offered him money. Meanwhile, they get word that the UPR courier will arrive early in 30 minutes, leaving them in a race against time.
Bravo and Janos work to decode the invasion plans as the IMF look on and tape the message. Barney then withdraws the device and gets back in the car's secret compartment, while Jim determines the photo is part of the key to decoding the message. Bravo and Janos begin the invasion while Paris demands to see them. Jim and Willy figure out the clock in the photo is the key to the code.
Paris accepts Janos' offer, and Bravo is surprised. Paris leaves with Barney, after tying up the driver and guard. Jim and Willy send the decoded plans to San Cristobal while Bravo and Janos prepare to toast their victory. However, they get word that their invasion has been anticipated, and they were the only two who knew the invasion plans. As the IMF listens on, the two fight and a gunshot rings out. The IMF drives away, the invasion thwarted.