CIA Inflatable Sex Doll Experiment: "Blow Up" Gets New Meaning

You know how, when KGB agents are tailing you, all you want to do is roll out of the car while your driver keeps going? Only those agents aren't dumb: If they suddenly see one fewer head inside the car, they're gonna know something's up. Spytechs at the CIA figured that if you brought along something compact yet inflatable, you could quickly blow it up as you exited the vehicle, and nobody would see any difference. It was the early '80s so, naturally, the researchers thought of sex dolls.

Two noob CIA engineers were sent to a shady shop in DC's red-light district to pick up some anatomically correct sexy-time dolls. The dolls were attached to a system of rapid inflation, essentially a tank of compressed air that could pump the dolls up in less than a second. Only problem was, the dolls split at the seams when the inflation happened too quickly. (Ooh la la!)

This being the pre-internet era, and a time when mail-order took 6-8 weeks for delivery, those two poor bastards had to keep going back again and again to the sex shops to buy new dolls. The description in Spycraft is priceless:

When the young techs returned to a store for more dolls, the proprietor's quizzical stare seemed to raise uncomfortable questions about their private lives. After all, they could not explain, "You see, we work for the CIA..."

Try as they might, the techs couldn't get the sexy plastic ladies (or men?) to blow up appropriately, and even with added valves for air control, they tended to sag inhumanly.

Added to that was the problem of rapid deflation—agents who jumped out of cars tended to jump back into them after the mission or drop was carried out. Probably the most embarrassing scenario would be that the KGB caught up with the agent after he had jumped back in the car, and got a closeup of him wrestling with a sex doll in the back seat.

The "elegant solution" was, sadly, far less risque. The "Jack-in-the-Box" (or JIB) that went into operation tucked inside a briefcase, and emerged as a simple, two-dimensional cutout of a man's head and shoulders. Apparently KGB tails didn't get too close—merely the suggestion of a body was enough.

As if to drive this point home, CIA agent and US traitor Edward Lee Howard—on the run from a suspicious FBI in Santa Fe in 1985—built his own JIB out of a toilet plunger, a coat hanger and a Calvin Klein jacket, with a Styrofoam dummy head wearing a fashionable Jerome Alexander wig to complete the illusion. He jumped out of the moving car as his wife drove, propping up the dummy in her hubby's place. (Who was the bigger dummy: the dummy, the lady propping up the dummy or the guy selling state secrets to the Soviet Union?) Sadly, American agents were as easily duped as their Eastern Block counterparts. According to Spycraft, "The FBI did not discover his escape until some 25 hours after he jumped from the car."

All of this CIA tech and much more like it is covered with great depth and hair-raising anecdotes in Spycraft, a new book by Robert Wallace and H. Keith Melton, reviewed by us, and available for pre-order at Amazon.