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MI6 is the name of the intelligence service for which nation?

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Ever wonder where MI5 and MI6 got their numbers? Well, there used to be a lot more of them. By the end of the Second World War, Britain had 17 Military Intelligence units—MI1 dealt with codes, MI4 covered maps, etc. Now only two are left.
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True or False: the highest-ranking American officer to ever be convicted of spying was a colonel in the US Army.

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Col. George Trofimoff of the US Army worked in military intelligence, with top-level security clearance. He was also a spy for the Soviets, and passed along 50,000 pages of data over the course of 25 years. He is the highest-ranking American officer to ever be convicted of spying.
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What was the name of the CIA program which helped lure people into safe houses, in order to test the effects of LSD?

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The CIA set out to building safehouses in New York and San Francisco for the sole purpose of studying the effects of LSD on non-consenting subjects. One outfit was called Operation Midnight Climax: In order to lure people into these safe houses, the CIA had several prostitutes on their payroll—yes, you read that correctly—who would entice “clients” to come back to the houses. Once there, the prostitutes would dose them with various substances—most famously LSD. The subjects were then monitored behind a two-way mirror. It is alleged that the officials who ran the experiments described them as "fun, fun, fun. Where else could a red-blooded American boy lie, kill, cheat, steal, rape and pillage with the sanction and bidding of the All-highest?
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True or False: One CIA agent once evaded the KGB by faking a birthday party for himself.

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When you know you’re being tracked, you have to get creative. One CIA officer who had a rendezvous in Moscow arranged a fake birthday party. He and his driver brought a fake birthday cake in the car with them, knowing the KGB were tailing them. The car took a sharp turn to elude their trackers, the CIA officer jumped out, and a silhouette popped out of the cake so it would look like he was still in the car.
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True or False: SMERSH, the Soviet intelligence agency that employed Dr. No and Goldfinger in the James Bond novels, was NOT based on a real organization.

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SMERSH, the Soviet intelligence agency that employed Dr. No and Goldfinger in the James Bond novels, actually existed. Smert Shpionam, AKA “Death to Spies”, was an organization in operation during the Second World War, and one of their missions was the recovery of fragments of Hitler’s skull. We know Bond is already in the mix, but it also sounds like a great plot for an Indiana Jones movie.
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What was the name of the double agent who helped prevent an assassination attempt against Queen Elizabeth I?

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A double agent prevented an assassination attempt against Queen Elizabeth I. Gilbert Gifford hid messages in beer barrels destined for Chartley Hall, where Mary, Queen of Scots, was imprisoned. He helped to sneak messages between Mary and her supporters, but at the same time he secretly deciphered the notes and passed information to Elizabeth. This intel finally convinced Elizabeth to have Mary beheaded.
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What was the name of the amateur spy ring founded by Paul Revere?

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In the mid-1770s, long before his famous ride, Paul Revere formed an amateur spy ring. The group came about in response to the brewing conflicts between the Patriots and loyalists of the Thirteen Colonies. Named the “Mechanics,” Revere and his associates would report on “the Movements of British Soldiers” and pass on any information they could acquire to their allies.
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True or False: a Russian spy once evaded capture by getting lost in the New York Public Library.

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Earl Pitts spied for the Russians while working for the FBI in the ‘80s and ‘90s. The FBI set up a sting operation to catch him, but Pitts inadvertently thwarted their attempt—by forgetting where to meet his contact. He wandered around the wrong part of the New York Public Library for half an hour before giving up and leaving.
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True or False: Spy satellites can have such powerful zoom, they can take an accurate and clear picture of a license plate on Earth.

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The cameras in spy satellites can photograph license plates from 50 miles up in space.
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True or False: Soviet spies were often tasked with seducing high-ranking men and blackmailing them for information.

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Soviet spies often had the...uh... sensitive task of seducing high-ranking men and blackmailing them for information. One former sex spy described the training she received, which included filming orgies with classmates and critically evaluating the tapes afterward.
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During the American Civil War, Confederates destroyed as many as 60 Union ships by disguising bombs as...

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Some of the best spy weapons don’t look like much. During the American Civil War, the Confederates disguised bombs to look like lumps of coal. When a Union sailor shoveled the coal bomb into their ship’s boiler, the explosion was big enough to cause serious damage—as many as 60 Union ships were destroyed this way.
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Which famous world leader tried to assassinate Josip Broz Tito, Yugoslavia’s head of state, many times (although he always failed)

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Joseph Stalin really didn’t like Josip Broz Tito, Yugoslavia’s head of state. Tito got so fed up with the constant stream of spies attempting to assassinate him, that he sent this message to Stalin: “If you don’t stop sending killers, I’ll send one to Moscow and I won’t have to send a second.” Despite attempts including a specially-designed disease and a poison jewelry box, Tito outlived Stalin by 30 years.
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What was the name of the covert program which repatriated Nazi scientists to America after World War II?

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Wernher von Braun is considered the father of rocket technology. During the war, he helped to design the V-2 rocket— a weapon the Germans hoped would be their saving grace in a war that, by the mid-40's, was beginning to look unwinnable. After the war was won, Von Braun was secretly repatriated to the United States (along with thousands of other leading German scientists) as part of a government program called Operation Paperclip. He was soon assigned to the rocket task-force at NASA, and served as the chief engineer for the Saturn V rocket. No big deal, though— the Saturn Five was only the engine that propelled Apollo 11 to the moon.
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What was the name of the Dutch exotic dancer who famously spied for the French?

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Mata Hari, the Dutch exotic dancer who spied for the French, was executed in 1917 for being a German double agent.
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True or False: A Russian spy once attempted to keep Edward Snowden in the country by proposing to him on social media.

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Anna Chapman—AKA Anya Kushchenko—began spying for Russia in the 2000s and became famous for it back in Russia. When the Russian government tasked her with keeping Edward Snowden in the country, she attempted to seduce him by proposing over Twitter.
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Which American baseball player became an espionage agent during WWII, at one point being tasked with a potential assassination?

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Morris “Moe” Berg was an American baseball player who got caught up in espionage during the Second World War. At one point, he went into enemy territory to attend a lecture by Nobel Prize-winning German physicist Werner Heisenberg. If he determined that Heisenberg seemed close to building an atomic bomb, he was to assassinate the scientist on the spot. Luckily for Heisenberg, he wasn’t close at the time.
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True or False: Shakespeare is thought to have been a spy for the British government.

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False! But it’s close... Christopher Marlowe, the English playwright and contemporary of William Shakespeare, might have been a spy for the British government. He did have a history of getting into legal scrapes that the government would smooth over. The Privy Council also ordered Cambridge University to grant Marlowe an MA, saying that they needed him for “matters touching the benefit of his country.”
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True or False: Many Cold-War-era spies were given glasses with cyanide pills hidden inside.

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Cold War suicide glasses had a single cyanide pill hidden in the arm. When a spy found themselves in trouble, they could chew on the arm of the glasses to poison themselves and avoid torture. Playing with your glasses is a pretty common nervous habit, one that hopefully none of the aforementioned spies were afflicted with.
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Which of these options was a trait that the Russians used to identify American spies during the Cold War?

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Russia used an incredibly subtle trick to identify hundreds of spies: Americans would use good-quality, rust-proof staples on their documents, whereas actual Russians used cheap staples that left a rust stain behind.
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Which of these famous British authors was a government spy, who helped to push Scotland into joining Great Britain? (Hint: They wrote Robinson Crusoe)

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Daniel Defoe was an English writer famous for the novel Robinson Crusoe. Defoe was also a spy for the English government. He earned the trust of the Scottish elite and covertly helped push Scotland into accepting union with England, even becoming an advisor to Scottish parliamentary committees.
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True or False: The CIA once designed an escape toolkit that agents could hide in their posterior.

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Desperate times call for desperate measures. The CIA designed a tiny anal toolkit, which a spy could hide in their posterior in case of trouble. Once captured, the spy would simply poop out the toolkit and make their escape.
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When did the British government admit that their secret espionage service, MI6, really existed?

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The British government didn’t acknowledge the existence of MI6—James Bond’s employers—until 1994.
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In the 1940s, the Nazi SS decided to bug a Berlin brothel, Salon Kitty, in order to record high-ranking Nazis in compromising situations for potential blackmail. The plan went awry when a British spy tapped into Salon Kitty’s surveillance system and...

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In the 1940s, the Nazi SS decided to bug a Berlin brothel, Salon Kitty, in order to record high-ranking Nazis in compromising situations for potential blackmail. The plan went awry when a British spy tapped into Salon Kitty’s surveillance system and recorded Joachim von Ribbentrop plotting an imminent invasion of Gibraltar.
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Before the CIA, there was the OSS. What did that stand for?

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Before the CIA, there was the Office of Strategic Services. The OSS was headed by William "Wild Bill” Donovan. Donovan had caught the attention of governmental higher-ups first as a soldier in WWI, and then as a zealous smasher of speakeasies during the Prohibition Era. Prior to being posted as head of the OSS, President Roosevelt had offered Donovan the governorship of the Philippines (which Donovan declined.)
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About This Quiz
When most of us picture the life of a spy, we imagine something out of James Bond. Jetpack gunfights and martinis on the moon, right? Well... sort of. Although the world of espionage can certainly be glamorous at times, what the movies always seem to miss is just how utterly bizarre it can be as well. Of course, you already know that... right? Time to find out.


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