Operation Acoustic Kitty and the CIA Trained Spy Cat

2 Pack Animals That Changed the Course of Human History
13/03/2018

Operation Acoustic Kitty and the CIA Trained Spy Cat

One job you may not have associated with cats is spy work.

It sounds like something straight from a James Bond movie, but in the 1960’s the CIA did indeed attempt to train a cat to be a spy.

It was during the Cold War times, and the US was intent on the finding out Soviet secrets.

Someone came up with the idea of planting surveillance equipment into a cat, thus Operation Acoustic Kitty was born.

Surgeons implanted a microphone into the acoustic kitty’s ear and a transmitter into the flesh behind her neck. A hidden fine-wire antenna twisted through her fluffy tail.

The Acoustic Kitty cat was trained to focus on her target and to ignore distractions.

Her first mission was to take place in a park in Washington D. C. opposite the Soviet Embassy. Her task – to capture the conversation of two men sitting on a park bench.

CIA agents waited nearby in a strategically parked van, loaded with surveillance equipment, and of course with the acoustic kitty all set up and ready to go.

They released acoustic kitty. Unfortunately, probably so intent on her target as she had been trained to do, she failed to notice the oncoming taxi that struck her.

All this only came to light in 2001 when several CIA documents from the sixties were declassified and released to the public.

In 2013 Robert Wallace, a former Director of the CIA’s Office of Technical Service insisted, despite rumors to the contrary, that the acoustic kitty survived the accident. He claims she went on to live a long and happy life after a surveillance-equipment-removal operation.

The CIA disbanded Operation Acoustic Kitty in 1967. A memorandum titled ‘Views of Trained Cats’ released in 2001 stated that

. . . the environmental and security factors in using this technique in a real foreign situation force us to conclude that, for our purposes . . . it would not be practical.

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