Spy toys at the CIA museum



The top-10 list contains mostly just cameras. Kind of boring.

There’s a more detailed exposition, here, linked from the bottom of the article.

The exposition’s interface sucks. The fixed-layout is unsuitable for longer descriptions as they have to be scrolled through.

Some gems:

  • Cufflink compass
  • Radio receiver in a smoking pipe, with bone-conduction speaker
  • Distortion measuring set (well, not exactly a spy toy, rather a telco thing, but many telco things can double as spy toys)
  • Dynazoom microscope for simultaneous viewing of two negatives to get stereo imagery from aerial cameras
  • Insectothopter, a miniature UAV, impressive for 70’s and even today
  • Gap-jumping antenna, for magnetic coupling of signals
  • Digital xray sensor panel
  • Seismic intrusion detector
  • Microdot camera (okay, okay, it was in the top-10 list; what would be nice would be a more in-depth description of the microdot tech)
  • Escape/evasion kit
  • Various flavors of multitools
  • “Belly Buster” drill
  • Silk-printed maps (paper rustles, and silk is durable enough)
  • Caltrop tire spikes
  • SOFLAM laser target designator

All in all, the online-shown artefacts are somewhat underwhelming. E.g. no sign of the Thing, the SIGINT/ELINT is only touched on the surface, no TSCM.

Two books about the spy operations I suggest are:

  • Robert Wallace, Henry Robert Schlesinger - Spycraft - The Secret History of the CIA’s Spytechs, from Communism to Al-Qaeda
  • Peter Wright: Spycatcher
    Each one is worth the time, and they are the best when consumed one after another; the first one is written in a rather bragging style, from ex-CIA guys, the second one in a more down-to-the-Earth one that mentions even the CIA’s (and MI5’s) blunders, from an ex-MI5 guy.


…c’mon, talk, spy tech is fun…!

[crickets becoming louder]

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