The CIA once implanted microphones in a cat as part of a bizarre Cold War plot to spy on the Soviets, reveal declassified documents.
The report details how ‘pioneering’ scientists surgically implanted a wire along the cat’s spine, using its tail as an antenna, while a microphone was planted inside its ear canal.
A transmitter and power supply was sewn into the unlucky cat’s chest.
Known as ‘Project Acoustic Kitty’, the inhumane research project ran from from 1962 until 1967 and was developed as a new way of spying on the Soviets.
The initiative came at a high price, not just to the cats, but also to the CIA purse – costing $13 million (£10 million).
The experiments are summarised in a 1967 report called “Views on Trained Cats [Redacted] for [Redacted] Use”.
[graphiq id=”e3QszYDw4mh” title=”Poll: How Do You Feel About Government Surveillance?” width=”600″ height=”582″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/e3QszYDw4mh” link=”https://www.graphiq.com” link_text=”Visualization by Graphiq” ]
Unsurprisingly, robo-spy cats were never actually deployed in the field.
During a ill-fated test run in a park, the unfortunate feline was run over and killed by a car.
The concluding 1967 report confirmed that the cat-based bugging method was impractical.
However, it gave praise to the scientists who carried out the grim experiments.
“The work done on this problem over the years reflects great credit on the personnel who guided it particularly [redacted] whose energy and imagination could be models for scientific pioneers,” it says.
While the documents were first declassified in 2001, the macabre project was recently brought to light after Wikileaks tweeted a link to an archive of declassified reports.
Speaking at the time, former CIA officer Victor Marchetti told The Telegraph: “They slit the cat open, put batteries in him, wired him up. They made a monstrosity”.