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CIA project tried to turn cats into spies

Posted on Wednesday, 20 March, 2013 | Comment icon 32 comments | News tip by: Still Waters

Image credit: sxc.hu

Operation Acoustic Kitty attempted to turn otherwise ordinary pet cats in to secret listening devices.

The experimental project was attempted in the 1960s in an effort to find an effective way to eavesdrop on the private conversations of foreign officials. To accomplish this, researchers augmented a common household cat with surveillance equipment including a microphone in its ear canal and a small radio transmitter in the base of its skull. The cat was then trained to go and sit next to the target so that it would pick up what was being said.

To test the effectiveness of their creation, CIA staff members drove the experimental feline to a local park and released it in the hope that it would let them eavesdrop on the conversation of two people sitting on a bench. Unfortunately things didn't quite go to plan - the cat was utterly disinterested in its agenda of national security and instead decided to wander in to the street where it was promptly run over by a taxi.

The project was abandoned soon afterwards.

"The problem was that cats are not especially trainable - they donít have the same deep-seated desire to please a human master that dogs do - and the agencyís robo-cat didnít seem terribly interested in national security."

  View: Full article |  Source: io9.com

  Discuss: View comments (32)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #23 Posted by ashven on 21 March, 2013, 8:36
Go travelling Starseed,i promise you people are inherently good
Comment icon #24 Posted by shrooma on 21 March, 2013, 8:40
. I take it, like the rest of us, you don't include politicians in the term 'people' then....? :-)
Comment icon #25 Posted by boonroonru on 22 March, 2013, 23:15
I think this story is bogus. Most cats don't get run over unless someone is deliberately trying to. They usually look both ways.
Comment icon #26 Posted by tigerlilly on 31 March, 2013, 0:14
Really? The cat was ran over? Really?
Comment icon #27 Posted by ReddWolfe on 10 June, 2013, 16:37
Newspaper Headline: 'CIA CAT HIT BY TAXI'
Comment icon #28 Posted by -M7 on 9 July, 2013, 4:24
Eat your heart out 007
Comment icon #29 Posted by miauimut on 30 July, 2013, 17:59
what? the cute cat will be like james bond, showing like this http://mediailmu.net
Comment icon #30 Posted by Shayde on 19 August, 2013, 12:45
This is why Blofield could never win against Bond. Did he never consider that his fluffy white cat wasn't possibly employed instead by Leiter's CIA mob?!!
Comment icon #31 Posted by brlesq1 on 20 August, 2013, 10:10
Even if they could train a cat (which is laughable) where would they let it loose? Last I heard, cats aren't allowed inside government buildings, which I assume is where such clandestine conversations would take place. Or were they thinking of a park bench?
Comment icon #32 Posted by brlesq1 on 20 August, 2013, 10:11
And now they want to use insects...I can see it now. The proverbial fly on the wall gets squashed by the proverbial fly swatter.

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