Sunday, November 3, 2013

10 Most Audacious Eavesdropping Plots

Operation Ivy Bells
At the height of the cold war, the National Security Agency, CIA and the US Navy collaborated to tap into underwater communication lines used by the Soviet Union. 

Operation Stopwatch
This joint operation between the CIA and the British Secret Intelligence Service was again an attempt to tap into communications by the Soviet Military.

The Cambridge Spies
Rather than relying on modern eavesdropping, this operation used old fashioned infiltration.

Click to enlarge.
The Gunman Project
During 1976, the KGB managed to install miniaturized eavesdropping equipment and transmitters inside 16 IBM Selectric Typewriters used by staff at the US embassy in Moscow and consulate in Leningrad. 

The Bundesnachrichtendienst Trojan Horse Affair
Germany may have been the victim off NSA eavesdropping, but its own Federal Intelligence Service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst, has also engaged in such activities.

The MI6 Spy Rock
In a modern version of the dead letter drop, British spies working out of the embassy in Russia used a transmitter concealed in an artificial rock to pass classified data. 

Acoustic Kitty
Acoustic Kitty was a top secret 1960s CIA project attempting to use cats in spy missions, intended to spy on the Kremlin and Soviet embassies. (more)

Moles in Berlin
In 1956, American and British agents tunneled into East German territory in order to tap a telephone line. This allowed them to eavesdrop on important conversations between Red Army leaders and the KGB. A segment of the tunnel can now be visited. (more)

An international diplomatic crisis erupted in May 1960 when the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) shot down an American U-2 spy plane in Soviet air space and captured its pilot, Francis Gary Powers. Confronted with the evidence of his nation's espionage, President Dwight D. Eisenhower was forced to admit to the Soviets that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had been flying spy missions over the USSR for several years. (more)

Animal Spies
A former CIA trainer reveals, the U.S. government deployed nonhuman operatives—ravens, pigeons, even cats—to spy on cold war adversaries. “We never found an animal we could not train.” (more)