CIA Spy Devices That Were (Almost) Never Used

Everyone knows that the Central Intelligence Agency is the consummate spy organization but only a few truly know the kinds of things that make it the covert agency that it is. Not only does the CIA hire and train the most highly skilled and intellectually advanced minds available, but they also employ some of the most advanced technology, most of which is not known to the general public.

Dragonfly “Insectothopter”
This spy tool is a small robot that actually looks and flies like a real dragonfly. It was designed during the 1970s by the CIA’s research and development department specifically for espionage purposes. It never made it past the prototype stage, however, because of several mechanical issues including a propensity to malfunction when met with a strong crosswind.

Acoustic Kitty
In keeping with the animal theme, the CIA developed Project Acoustic Kitty, which by most people’s estimation may not have been the best idea. Essentially, it consisted of using real domestic felines and fitting them with hidden microphones and antennae in their ears and tail, respectively, and covertly placing them in enemy territory. The idea was that the cats would wander around the area without drawing suspicion and the attached microphones would pick up and transmit information to CIA agents. The $25 million project was scrapped after the maiden cat was sent into a park to spy on two Soviet agents but was hit by a passing car and killed as it was crossing the road.

Camera in Cigarette Pack
Before the proliferation of smartphone cameras (or even smartphones themselves), the CIA developed a device that looked like an ordinary pack of tobacco cigarettes but was in fact a still image camera unit. The device was capable of producing near-digital quality photos. It was heavily used during the 1980s and 1990s by agents, but the advent of other mini camera technologies has since made the Cigarette Pack Camera obsolete.