3 Most Insane Things the CIA Has Ever Done



As people learned last year, the CIA might serve as executive producers to the occasional movie, but they do quite a bit more that people don't know about. A lot of it isn't nearly as sophisticated as the Bourne series would encourage people to think. If nothing else, a brief scratch beneath the surface reveals why the 9/11 Truth Movement is completely wrong. Seriously, could people who came up with ideas like these ever cover up such a large conspiracy?

1. Spy cats:


Yes, that's right. In the 1960s, the CIA spent around $20 million to surgically implant microphones in a number of trained tabbies in the hope that they might be able to get within earshot of the Soviet Union's premier. Actually, this doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. Sometimes you just need the right cat at the right time.

2. A spy nest on top of Mount Everest:


Werner Herzog called himself the "Conquistador of the Useless”" for having his crew and actors pull a ship over a mountain during the filming of Fitzcarraldo. Well, step aside, Mr. Herzog. 17 years before, the CIA had already beat him to the punch by attempting to drag a plutonium generator all the way to the top of the 22,000 foot Nanda Devi to create a power source when they wanted to spy on China. Unfortunately, when the expedition to drag the generator up the mountain encountered heavy snowfall, the generator had to be hid in a crevice. And when a follow-up expedition attempted to find it, the device was, well, missing.

3. Exploding Cigars:


No, it wasn't a party trick. If you want an exploding cigar, the CIA might know how to get one. Some sources claim that the agency tried to slip one or two to Fidel Castro over the years. It is uncertain whether or not this was a plan with an actual blueprint, or if it was just one of the brainstorms that some low-level analyst came up with in one of those moments when no one can think of anything else, or if it was just a prank that the CIA pulled to see what they could get people to believe. Whatever the case, the CIA probably would have preferred it had Castro been a recovering cigarette smoker, because a poisoned nicotine patch would have been so much simpler. 

How much do you trust the information in this article?

James Banks

is a Rochester-based writer. He is a former contributor to "The American Interest" Online and has written for "The Weekly Standard," "The Intercollegiate Review" and other publications. He works in web communications and is a doctoral student at the University of Rochester.

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