Monday, February 27, 2017

Vintage Images - Cats


copyright-free from Dover 

"Acoustic Kitty was a CIA project launched by the Directorate of Science & Technology, which in the 1960s intended to use cats to spy on the Kremlin and Soviet embassies.  In an hour-long procedure a veterinary surgeon implanted a microphone in the cat's ear canal, a small radio transmitter at the base of its skull and a thin wire into its fur. This would allow the cat to innocuously record and transmit sound from its surroundings.  Due to problems with distraction the cat's sense of hunger had to be addressed in another operation.  Victor Marchetti, a former CIA officer, said Project Acoustic Kitty cost about $20 million.

The first Acoustic Kitty mission was to eavesdrop on two men in a park outside the Soviet compound on Wisconsin Avenue in Washington, DC.  The cat was released nearby, but was hit and killed by a taxi almost immediately. However, this was disputed in 2013 by Robert Wallace, a former Director of the CIA's Office of Technical Service, who said that the project was abandoned due to the difficulty of training the cat to behave as required, and "the equipment was taken out of the cat; the cat was resewn for the second time, and lived a long and happy life afterwards." Subsequent tests also failed.  Shortly thereafter the project was considered a failure and declared to be a total loss.

The project was cancelled in 1967. A closing memorandum said that the CIA researchers believed they could train cats to move short distances, but that "the environmental and security factors in using this technique in a real foreign situation force us to conclude that for our (intelligence) purposes, it would not be practical."  The project was disclosed in 2001, when some CIA documents were declassified." ~ Wikipedia.

6 comments:

magpiestitcher said...

Obviously it was dog-people who came up with this one. Train a cat?

Shay said...

I know. Although Minnie has learned to come running when I yell "treat" because she knows I'm about to slip something nice to the dogs.

Bunnykins said...

A simple collar wouldn't do? I'd like to implant something in those scientists.

Lady Anne said...

Only a government agency would come up with a plan to herd cats!

Anonymous said...

@ Shay - But obviously Minnie has *you* trained to let her know when treats are happening!
Cat logic.
(From Magpie, but I'm hitting an "open ID error.")

Bunnykins said...

I use the occasional midweek opening of the cat treat bag as a fire drill given that I'm too creaky to scour four floors of split level house to hunt for cats. I'm trying to teach them to appear from wherever they've been so I can grab them just in case of an emergency evacuation. And, btw, Tuesday is catnip day - or else there will be yowling.