“They slit the cat open, put batteries in him, wired him up. The tail was used as an antenna. They made a monstrosity. They tested him, and tested him. They found he would walk off the job when he got hungry, so they put another wire in to override that. Finally, they are ready. They took it out to a park bench and said: ‘Listen to those two guys. Don’t listen to anything else – not the birds, no cat or dog – just those two guys!’ (…) They put him out of the van, and a taxi comes and runs him over. There they were, sitting in the van with all those dials, and the cat was dead.”
Victor Marchetti — Special assistant to the Deputy Director of the CIA
“The environmental and security factors in using this technique in a real foreign situation force us to conclude that for our (intelligence) purposes, it would not be practical.”
CIA Project Acoustic Kitty — Final Report
Acoustic Kitty was a CIA project launched by the Central Intelligence Agency Directorate of Science & Technology, which in the 1960s intended to use cats to spy on the Kremlin and Soviet embassies. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_TODAY
In an hour-long procedure a veterinary surgeon implanted a microphone in the cat’s ear canal, a small radio transmitter at the base of its skull and a thin wire into its fur.
This would allow the cat to innocuously record and transmit sound from its surroundings.
Due to problems with distraction, the cat’s sense of hunger had to be addressed in another operation.
Victor Marchetti, a former CIA officer, said Project Acoustic Kitty cost about $20 million.
As Edward Luttwak concluded long ago,
“There have been only two kinds of CIA secret operations: the ones that are widely known to have failed—usually because of almost unbelievably crude errors—and the ones that are not yet widely known to have failed.”
A declassified CIA document obtained in 2001, under the Freedom of Information Act, by Jeffrey Richelson — a senior fellow at the national security archive in Washington — unfortunately shows that Project Acoustic Kitty is no exception to the rule.
The CIA Once Trained a Cat to Be a Spy
From the Bay of Pigs fiasco to the tall tale of Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction,” the CIA is no stranger to expensive and embarrassing blunders.
One such blunder occurred in the ’60s and was known as Operation Acoustic Kitty, a real-life program to train a house cat to become a super-secret spy.
Unfortunately, even the most deranged cat hoarder knows cats are un-trainable, a bit of info the CIA, despite their vast knowledge, failed to realize.
Cats, who rarely listen to anybody, would rather be jerks than the next Puss ‘N Boots.
Acoustic Kitty — Wikipedia
Animal Spies & Warriors — Operation Acoustic Kitty