Washington: Robotic catfish, cameras in makeup compacts and secret documents in cigarette packs—all these things may sound like they come from a James Bond flick. But the Central Intelligence Agency used all these gadgets in reality, it has been revealed.The US spy organization launched a complete overhaul to its cia.gov website, including new pages on YouTube and Flickr containing historical Agency videos and picture galleries.
“The idea behind these improvements is to make more information about the agency available to more people, more easily. The CIA wants the American people and the world to understand its mission and its vital role in keeping our country safe,” Fox News quoted Leon Panetta as saying.
In terms of pure coolness, however, the new Flickr pictures take the cake— including a never-before-seen gallery of special-agent supergadgets.
Some of the items featured are your run-of-the-mill spy gear—hidden cameras, devices to secretly extract letters from envelopes, and codebreaking machines—while others range from the bizarre to the spectacular.
The agency has also revealed a penchant for robotics.
There`s ‘Charlie,’ for example, an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) shaped like a fish that the agency used to study aquatic robot technology. Controlled via radio, it contained built-in ballast and propulsion systems allowing it to covertly travel underwater.
Another is the dragonfly ‘Insectothopter,’ one of the first micro spy drones of its times.
“It was an initiative to explore the concept of intelligence collection by miniaturized platforms,” according to the site.
First Published: Wednesday, February 23, 2011, 13:39