Revealing Cold War espionage technology: Dove spies, hidden cameras and other gadgets.
In an interview with Wired, Jonah Mendez, the former head of espionage technology at the CIA, spoke about some of the most critical photographic tools used for Cold War espionage. Some of the gadgets he describes sound like myths, but they were actually very useful in intelligence gathering businesses.
During the Cold War, surveillance of Moscow was one of the most difficult missions faced by CIA agents. The service found many different methods for obtaining critical information, many of these methods involved photography. One such tool was the pigeon camera, which was a small, lightweight camera attached to pigeons by a leash. The camera was programmed to take pictures at regular intervals as the pigeons flew around their targets.
Because pigeons could be trained to return to their original locations, spy pigeons were particularly useful for taking aerial photographs of targets and competed with or surpassed the quality of satellite imagery at the time.
However, conspiracy theorists have been inspired by this true story and claim that in modern times governments have defiled robotic pigeons that record our movements !!
Mendez in the video also describes a number of different hidden cameras, such as the one hidden in the body of a pen, the Tropel Pen Camera. He says this particularly impressive piece of technology was handmade and took pictures through a set of stacked lenses that were on the body of the pen.
According to Mendez, photography as a means of espionage was a valuable source for the CIA during the Cold War. They could be hidden in incredible places, such as ties, books, etc.
If you are in New York and you like these gadgets of the era, then visit it espionage museum.