Yes, the CIA Flew U-2 Spy Planes From Aircraft Carriers
On May 1, 1960, the Soviet Union shot down a CIA U-2 spy plane and captured its pilot, Francis Gary Powers. It was an international crisis for America’s intelligence agencies. A planned summit between Pres. Dwight Eisenhower and Premier Nikita Khrushchev was scuttled, much to Eisenhower’s embarrassment and to... Read more
How Baseball Betrayed Cuba’s Covert Ops
April 5 is opening day for Major League Baseball. This season, there’s speculation that the recent thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations could lead to even more players from Cuba, home to some of the world’s best ballplayers and most enthusiastic fans, joining the big leagues here in the United States.... Read more
The CIA Created Fake Weed That Can’t Get You High
In the 1970s, America’s top intelligence agency created super-skunky fake weed and burned it as part of a drug-abuse program that toured the country. According to declassified meeting minutes from 1972 and an old article saved by CIA, the Agency’s Office of Medical Services had a drug abuse booth... Read more
This Weapons Designer Was a Real Life Man of Mystery
On Oct. 6, 1975, an individual walked into the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s New York Field Office to make a statement. He was agreeing not to talk about the work of Paris Theodore, one particularly colorful and mysterious weapons designer. “The undersigned agrees that he has no intention of... Read more
How the CIA Set the Stage for Egyptian Strongmen to Last
In Egyptian politics, the army is king, or more precisely, kingmaker. The Muslim Brotherhood’s failure to account for this role led to its 2013 undoing, in which the military played its familiar political part, ousting Pres. Mohammed Morsi in favor of its own Fatah Abdel El Sisi, a general. In... Read more
To Understand Soviet Satellite Imagery, the CIA Once ‘Spied’ on America
In 1963, director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency John McCone wrote a memo to Secretary of State Dean Rusk stating that the CIA had obtained “good reproductions” of Soviet satellite imagery. The memo, recently disclosed, is the subject of a brief article by Steven Aftergood at Secrecy News.... Read more
The CIA Battled the Kremlin With Books and Movies
Originally published on May 2, 2015. During the Cold War, Moscow’s Ministry of Culture was a master of censorship. The Kremlin’s cultural bulwark screened non-Russian films, suppressed literature and shaped the lives of Soviet artists. The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency also dabbled in the dark arts of cultural influence.... Read more
The CIA’s Weird History of Nuclear China
Earlier this month, the CIA declassified a treasure trove of information — the daily briefs it wrote for U.S. presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson from 1961 to 1969. The agency’s memos cover one of the most fascinating and frightening periods of American history. During the 1960s, communist ideologies... Read more
Special U.S. Air Force Squadron Snatched Spy Film Capsules From Mid-Air
On Aug. 11, 1984, a special U.S. Air Force squadron flew its last mission in heavily-modified C-130 transports, snatching a spy-satellite film capsule dangling from a parachute as it descended from Earth’s orbit. It was all part of the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office’s Falling Star initiative, supporting the Discoverer/Corona satellite... Read more
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