According to a report in the Telegraph, the CIA decided to think outside the box when hostilities with Russia were at their peak during the Cold War in the 1960’s. CIA operatives decided to use cats fitted with bugging devices in order to try and uncover the deepest and darkest secrets of the Kremlin and to prevent espionage against them. The Telegraph relies upon recently declassified documents to bring to light the CIA’s unusual approach of feline bugging devices.
Bugging Devices – Kremlin Cat Flap
In what was a fairly unprecedented move in spy circles, the CIA decided to implement the use of cats as a form of eavesdropping device during the height of the Cold War in the 1960’s. According to the report in the Telegraph, the CIA believed that the cats deemed worthy of being fitted with bugging devices, could be used to listen to secret conversations from park benches, window sills and dustbins. The crude technological ability of bugging devices at the time was not good news for the cats that were chosen for the top secret missions. Speaking to the Telegraph, former CIA officer, Victor Marchetti, states “They slit the cat open, put batteries in him and wired him up. The tail was used as an antenna. They made a monstrosity. They tested him and tested him. They found he would walk off the job when he got hungry, so they put another wire in to override that.” So, understandably, cats weren’t lining up round the block to be fitted with the bugging devices.
Bugging Devices – Accident Waiting To Happen
Unfortunately, the CIA’s decision to fit cats with bugging devices was a fairly unmitigated disaster and can scarcely have got off to a worse start. The first trial run of the spy cat was a financial faux pas to say the least. Speaking to the Telegraph, Victor Marchetti stated, “They took it out to a park and put him out of the van, and a taxi comes and runs him over. There they were, sitting in the van with all those dials, and the cat was dead.” Bugging devices have come a long way since the Cold War as technologically capabilities have improved dramatically which, no doubt, will come as a relief to members of the feline community.