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CIA told how it used spy pigeons in the Cold War

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — The US CIA has declassified details of its Cold War operations that used pigeons, the BBC reports.

The published documents say that the pigeons were trained for secret missions, which, in particular, included photographing objects on the territory of the USSR.

Pigeons are not the only animals that have attracted special services: in about Rhone dumped bugs on windowsills, and dolphins trained for underwater operations.

The BBC recalls that the CIA Museum in Langley (Virginia) is closed to visitors, but a journalist from the broadcasting corporation, during an interview at the headquarters of the office, drew attention to the figure of a dove with a camera mounted on it. At that time, operations using animals were classified.

But now it was possible to find out that in the 1970s, during the operation “Takana”, the American secret services were studying the possibility of fixing small cameras on pigeons that would automatically take pictures.

The pigeons were ideal for such a mission due to their unique ability to find their way home from anywhere, even from where they had never been before. The images they took were of higher quality than satellite photographs of that time.

In addition, the CIA tested the possibility of electrical stimulation of the brain of dogs in order to orient them from a distance, and tried to place listening devices in cats as part of the Hearing Cat operation.

By 1967, the CIA was spending over $ 600,000 on programs involving birds, dolphins, dogs, and cats. The intelligence agency tested animals from parrots to falcons; by the mid-1970s, the CIA concluded that it was pigeons that were ideal for espionage.

As follows from the documents, in September 1976 the goal was determined – the Leningrad shipyard, where advanced Soviet submarines were created. As stated by the BBC, this is the last part of declassified materials and the outcome of the operation is still unknown to the general public.

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