CIA-Style Hide and Seek: Exploding Notebooks, Suicide Needles, Rectal Tool Kits and More

The freakiest thing about reading CIA gadget lore is that it's all real. The nerds working for the agency's Office of Technical Services were always devising and building gadgets to get people out of—or into—difficult situations. Here's a rundown of crazy stuff from the Spytech book, not necessarily stuff you'd carry… »5/23/08 7:30pm5/23/08 7:30pm

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 … »5/23/08 12:30am5/23/08 12:30am

Camouflaged CIA Speed Boat Looks Like Junk, Runs Like Jet

It looks like your typical junk, tooling around on coastal waterways in Southeast Asia in the late 1960s. Think of it in Apocalypse Now terms: It was basically a water taxi for personnel on highly classified missions. OK, so then say that classified mission is somehow compromised—here's what it looks like when it… »5/22/08 8:00pm5/22/08 8:00pm

CIA Animal Tech: Bats, Cats and Rats As Covert Operatives

I was surprised to learn that the CIA has had a long though not always fruitful relationship with the animal kingdom. In Spycraft, the authors describe many clever animal-assisted devices, from the dead-rat dead-drop pouch to the "acoustic kitty," a cat with a remote listening system embedded in its body. And what's… »5/22/08 2:20pm5/22/08 2:20pm

CIA Airlines: Inflatable Getaway Plane Delivered Upon Request

You find yourself held under "house arrest" in a remote jungle region of Indonesia, sometime in the late 1950s. You may have your suit, fedora and at least one halfway decent tie, but the chances of getting back to the US of A seem slim. The CIA thinks you're not so dispensable, so spytechs—with the help of the always… »5/21/08 8:50pm5/21/08 8:50pm

Resistance Isn't Futile: Explosive Edible Flour, Cigarette Guns and Other WWII OSS Tricks

To kick off our CIA gadget series, I'm starting with something from the beginning, well, before the beginning: covert weaponry sent to resistance fighters behind enemy lines during WWII. They thought of all kinds of disruptive technologies, including exploding edible flour, cigarette-shaped single-use guns and other… »5/21/08 2:20pm5/21/08 2:20pm

CIA Spy Gadgets Revealed: Q Ain't Got Nothin' On Langley

This week is Gizmodo's salute to CIA spy technology. What's the occasion? The May 29th release of Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA's Spytechs from Communism to al-Qaeda, by Robert Wallace and H. Keith Melton (with Henry R. Schlesinger). While we don't typically review books, this one happens to be the best… »5/21/08 10:00am5/21/08 10:00am