Romanticized in Hollywood through the James Bond and Jason Bourne film series, spies have long captured the public imagination. The idea of traveling the world with any identity, unlimited resources, and the ability to slip away from any situation makes spies seem like real-life super heroes. In real life, most spies possess two traits, the clearance to access secret information and the ability to blend in with a crowd.
Here are a few things you might not have known about spies.
28. From Russia, With Love
George Koval was a Russian spy who managed to infiltrate the Manhattan project during WWII and steal America’s nuclear secrets. He single-handedly provided critical technology for Russia’s nuclear arsenal and accelerated their atomic program by at least four years, if not more. It wasn’t discovered he was a spy until 2002, which means he was a pretty good spy.
27. The Anti-Mime
Sarah Edmonds, a white Canadian woman, working for the Union Army during the American civil war, managed to infiltrate Confederate territory in Virginia disguised as a black man. She was known as a master of disguise.
26. Good Dog!
Sergeant Stubby was a WWI American war dog who was promoted to sergeant for single-handedly catching a German spy who was mapping out Allied trenches. His promotion meant he outranked his owner who was just a lowly corporal. No. YOU sit.
25. Like Herding Cats
In the 1960s, the CIA spent $20 million on a project called “Acoustic Kitty” where a microphone and radio transmitter was implanted into a cat. The project was abandoned when they realized that cats don’t care at all about geopolitics.
24. Giving Hitler the Bird
Cats weren’t the only animal spies. Back in WWII, automatic cameras were attached to homing pigeons to conduct aerial surveillance of German positions.
The word “lollapalooza” was used by American soldiers in the Pacific to identify Japanese spies, who would mispronounce it. It was used because even Japanese spies that have had extensive english language training would likely not have practiced saying this word.
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