Monday, July 20, 2009

gadgets, secrets, & spies, oh my

The CIA (umm, no not the Culinary Institute of America). The Central Intelligence Agency.

Ceremonial Swearing-In Of Leon Panetta Is Held At CIA Headquarters

Their motto: We are the nations first line of defense. We accomplish what others cannot accomplish and go where others cannot go.

Everyone knows the headquarters are located in Virginia. An impenetrable fortress of security that only the ultra top secret clearance people can ever access. Unless of course you have the secret decoder ring (a.k.a. the Romance Writers of America, Kiss of Death chapter).

Keyhole with binary language

We visited the OHB (everything is DC is an acronym-it borders on absurd :) ) The Original Headquarters Building. I felt a little like Dorothy in Oz, wandering (escorted at all times mind you) through the halls of the CIA. It’s the kind of experience that is almost surreal. So fascinating and exciting and unbelievable that your mind is racing a thousand miles a minute. Unfortunately I can’t tell you about it because then they would have to kill you. (Kidding, sorry, couldn’t resist.)

They have a museum of gadgets, from the ultimate in high tech (at least for their time, their ultimate high tech gadgets are still classified) to the very low tech.

One of my personal favs was in the Cold War Gallery. The East Germans (pretty sure that’s the right country) would bump up against a person of interest and they would mark them with German Shepherd girl dog pheromones. (Later I read the Soviets would put it on the bottom of shoes.) Apparently boy German Shepherds can uber-track that scent for about four days. So once the pheromones were applied to the unsuspecting mark, then the boy dog traced the target’s movement seeing where they went, if they took the same route every day, etc. Very low tech but apparently very effective.

I'll leave you with this caveat. If you happen to see a very determined German Shepherd following you around you’d better be on your best behavior. :)


ps. The CIA has a website:

Also, the secret decoder ring people website:

1 comment:

Sophie Littlefield said...

i wasn't there! darn my cave-dwelling-ism. maybe next year. ;)