Acoustic Kitty

One of the benefits of going to school in the DC area is you get some pretty neat professors. I am currently taking a class on the History of American Spying taught by the Chief Historian of the CIA. This class is full of all kinds of interesting tidbits. But this one was too good to keep to myself. And seeing as how it was an operation inside DC it applies to our site. (note: altho I am fairly certain this violates the edict that the CIA can not operate on American soil – but we’ll ignore that for right now)

The operation was known as “Acoustic Kitty” – the CIA were having no luck eavesdropping on the Soviet Compound on Wisconsin Avenue. Eventually one group in the Agency noted that Soviet notables were congregating around a park outside the compound. The group then launched this plan.

It centered around a cat. A very special cyborg cat. Yes I did just say cyborg cat. The CIA trained a cat, then surgically inserted an antenna inside its tail while inside its chest they installed a power-source and a microphone.

They let “Acoustic Kitty” out of their surveillance van, intending for it to “stray” into the park and eavesdrop on the Soviets. But wouldn’t you know it – poor “Acoustic Kitty” got run over by a taxi cab on Wisconsin Avenue his very first day on the job.

As if being mutilated by CIA surgeons and getting run-over weren’t enough of an insult to this poor cat – an agent dodged traffic on Wisconsin and scooped the CIA technology out of “Acoustic Kitty’s” remains.

You can read a little more about this in a redacted CIA memo here and in a brief summary under Article 27 here.

27 Comments so far

  1. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on July 15th, 2005 @ 10:52 am

    This could be, quite possibly, the funniest thing I’ve ever read.

  2. Chris (unregistered) on July 15th, 2005 @ 11:34 am

    That story rules!

  3. Don (unregistered) on July 15th, 2005 @ 11:39 am

    Actually an embassy is considered foreign soil; inside the Soviet embassy was legally the USSR, therefor I imagine the CIA is allowed to snoop there.

  4. yes (unregistered) on July 15th, 2005 @ 6:20 pm

    Typical CIA screw-up, especially considering the scheme failed at least once before.

    I remember reading about an exact same experiment that took place in the 60’s, except the cat was inside, at a diplomat’s cocktail party. It went over to the food table and just hung out there all night….no conversations were picked up at all…

  5. Klug (unregistered) on July 15th, 2005 @ 6:29 pm

    I’m guessing that there may be special dispensation for it being the District of Columbia. There may have been FBI cooperation (perhaps it was an FBI cat?)

  6. Klug (unregistered) on July 15th, 2005 @ 6:55 pm

    One more thing: the Acoustic Kitty operation couldn’t be related to Hanssen. The memo (with the taxi reference) is dated 1967. He worked for the Sovs from 1979-2001.

  7. CentralIncompetenceAgency (unregistered) on July 15th, 2005 @ 7:17 pm

    It’s kind of ironic how a land known for its’ ingenuity can have such an overall bad reputation in general for its’ spying capabilities.

    It’s no wonder reading something like this. Often it seems like they have no lack of ingenuity- just no sense of what is practical.

  8. George (unregistered) on July 15th, 2005 @ 7:25 pm

    ‘It’s kind of ironic how a land known for its’ ingenuity can have such an overall bad reputation in general for its’ spying capabilities.’

    Maybe that’s because we never hear about their successes – because then whoever they did succeed against would know they were had?

    Only failures get reported…

  9. Rich (unregistered) on July 15th, 2005 @ 7:43 pm

    There is no “edict” preventing CIA operations within the US, they are merely restricted from influencing/effecting US commercial or political processes and interests. Limited, and usually trumped by the FBI, but not completely restricted by any means.

  10. Ken (unregistered) on July 15th, 2005 @ 9:55 pm

    Would’nt you know it. A college puke gets his jollies of by reporting something that is a part of national security. Move puke! we don’t need you.

  11. darpino (unregistered) on July 15th, 2005 @ 10:28 pm

    Good eyes Klug. I guess the chronology would be the “Acoustic Kitty” caper happened first and Hanssen blew the tunnel operation second (which he did).

    And yes Ken – I am a college puke blowing National Security wide open by reporting open source material that has been in the public for 22 years. You really got me there. BTW it’s “jollies off” not “jollies of” unless of course that’s how they say it Jerktown.

  12. Burnasaurus (unregistered) on July 15th, 2005 @ 11:45 pm

    Looks like Ken just got pwned.

  13. MiRRoRMaN (unregistered) on July 16th, 2005 @ 1:57 am

    Movies of this story available at

  14. TerminalHistoryAddict (unregistered) on July 16th, 2005 @ 10:08 am

    Could you please post which course you are taking (under or grad?) and at which University? Sounds like it’s worth auditing at least! Thanks.

  15. I AM BORED (unregistered) on July 16th, 2005 @ 11:17 am

    Ken gets his jollies off by being a douche

    /flame on

  16. jerry (unregistered) on July 16th, 2005 @ 12:15 pm

    Why isn’t this stuff in the Post? There’s got to be more stories like this.

  17. truck (unregistered) on July 16th, 2005 @ 1:06 pm

    I remember hearing something about this being primed for the cold war, I also remember that the power source inside the cat had a tendency to leak causing the cat to die in horrific circumstances as acid from the battery burned through the cats stomach lining.

  18. archer (unregistered) on July 16th, 2005 @ 1:24 pm

    Ken!-No,Ms.Darpino is not a puck(vomit)but just learning about America the failure.

    I wonder if the following is taught in Darpino’s history class?

    In 1915 Pres. Wilson secretly bribed the Russians-4325Million-not to sign a peace treaty between Germany and Russia.After promising the voters–no troops into Europe, Wilson lied–3 months 2 nd term the Bastard started WWI and continued USA killings into WWII and into IRAQ—millions died.The dirty business was the zionist Jews blackmailed Wilson—Sexual affair known to them—promise a homeland for the Jews or else!. Belford and verselis agreements- blockade-starved 750,000 Germans and 32000 sea mines surrounded Germany- in 30’s—at the same time Grandpa Bush was sucking Hitler in business deals.

    How about USS LIBERTY ISREAL BOMBING AND KILLINGS–I bet that is also a non-talk issue.

    Maybe Ken can lighten up—and read some hidden truthes before he name calls.

    We stole a country for them ,now they want the world–USA needs help!

  19. Rukhuz (unregistered) on July 16th, 2005 @ 2:24 pm

    Archer, you are a Fool’s Fool! Your twisted mind CANNOT rewrite history. Everyone knows about Nazi Germany’s systematic genocide (ethnic cleansing) of various ethnic, religious, national, and secular groups during World War II. Early elements include the Kristallnacht progam and the T-4 Euthanasia Program established by Hitler that killed some 200,000 people.

    The Jews of Europe were the main victims of the Holocaust in what the Nazis called the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question”. The commonly used figure for the number of Jewish victims is six million, so much so that the phrase “six million” is now almost universally interpreted as referring to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, though mainstream estimates by historians of the exact number range from five million to over six million. Other groups deemed “undesirable”, especially Poles, Russians and other Slavs , Roma, Sinti, the mentally or physically disabled, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and political dissidents, were also persecuted and murdered. Taking all these other groups into account, the total death toll rises considerably. Estimates place the total number of Holocaust victims at up to 26 million men, women, and children, although the number 11 MILLION is usually held as more reliable.

    So, Archer … your blasphemy falls on deaf ears.

    THe Allied Nations’ stopped a mad man (Hitler)from destroying Europe and exterminating millions of innocent lives. No, Archer you fool, you can’t argue with that.

  20. darpino (unregistered) on July 16th, 2005 @ 2:32 pm

    Hey TerminalHistory –

    The class is an undergrad course at George Mason University offered every summmer. It is under their HIST 389 program which is composed of several classes each semester which focus on different topics in American History. You just have to scan each summer’s 389 offerings for “The History of American Spying”.

  21. Karen (unregistered) on July 17th, 2005 @ 12:53 am

    It’s become apparent that ET’s have had a jump on these operations for quite some time, now. Maybe, they can offer a training seminar next time around. It appears that squirrels were a big comodity with them, last season; however, birds and cats go with the archives as old news. “CIA…let’s get with the program…we’re in 2005!”

  22. john mccarthy (unregistered) on July 17th, 2005 @ 9:16 am


    The dreaded sources and methods club is at it again. Anything to get the job done, boyz and girlz. If ya can’t ‘out’ them, ‘in’ them.

    WND is currently looking into this info sent to the MSM immediately after the Novak Article.

    And it does not stop, the pattern, that is… craft and sources and methods personified. Why not bug the bench in the park?



  23. ericatruth (unregistered) on July 18th, 2005 @ 3:42 pm

    Wow, that’s amazing.

  24. Rachel (unregistered) on July 27th, 2005 @ 11:20 pm

    Okay,so I guess that most people who replied to this thought it was funny and clever,I think it was a little sick and no,I’m no PETA thumping something something,but if someone implants anything into anyone and turns them loose on unknown streets,please see me…… cause I would like to IMPLANT a little something in you,and once you get over the pleasure,I’m going to drop your ass off in B-Dad,and then we will see who’s laughin,again,guess what? It will not be me,because I do not pull my weight on the lesser beings,and if you do,burn m-fucker. Yours,Rachel,lowely cheffer in VA

  25. Rachel,can not get to this .com,to bad (unregistered) on July 27th, 2005 @ 11:47 pm

    Oh boy,tell me how to get here,because I’m ready for a little c-dwindling debate you conserative bitches!!! E-mail me,cause I will rip you something you have a need to be ripped!! Living happily and not killing anything, in Rappahannock VA,yours,Rachel

  26. yurfjyv (unregistered) on August 17th, 2005 @ 3:26 am

    thats awesome

  27. Joe (unregistered) on August 19th, 2005 @ 1:16 pm

    Rachel rules. Ya bunch of left wing phags.

    Combat Vet

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