About CIA

 

Directorate of Science and Technology

Advanced Flaps and Seals Kit

In this “flaps and seals” kit for advanced users, tools handmade of ivory in a travel roll were used for the surreptitious opening of letters and packages during the 1960s.


Argo Ads and Articles in Variety

To rescue six American diplomats who evaded capture during the seizure of the United States embassy in Tehran, Iran, on November 4, 1979, CIA technical specialists created a fake movie-production company in Hollywood and delivered disguises and documents that made possible the diplomats’ escape from Iran in 1980.

The CIA team set up “Studio Six Productions” and titled its new production “Argo.”

Ads and articles were placed in Variety.  The ads proclaimed Argo to be a “cosmic conflagration” written by Teresa Harris (the alias selected for one of the six Americans awaiting rescue).

 

Argo Producer Notes

To rescue six American diplomats who evaded capture during the seizure of the United States embassy in Tehran, Iran, on November 4, 1979, CIA technical specialists created a fake movie-production company in Hollywood and delivered disguises and documents that made possible the diplomats’ escape from Iran in 1980.

The team set up “Studio Six Productions” and titled its new production “Argo.”

This document includes an Introduction, Story Treatment & Locations, and Visuals.

 

Artist’s Concepts for Argo

To rescue six American diplomats who evaded capture during the seizure of the United States embassy in Tehran, Iran, on November 4, 1979, CIA technical specialists created a fake movie-production company in Hollywood and delivered disguises and documents that made possible the diplomats’ escape from Iran in 1980.

The team set up “Studio Six Productions” and titled its new production “Argo.”

The script had a Middle Eastern sci-fi theme that glorified Islam. The story line was intentionally complicated and difficult to decipher. Shown here are the artist’s concepts for the “film.”

 

Beginner’s Flaps and Seals Kit

These tools were used for learning how to clandestinely open, read, and reseal envelopes or packages without the recipient’s knowledge.

 

"Belly Buster" Hand-Crank Audio Drill

CIA used the “Belly Buster” drill during the late 1950s and early 1960s to drill holes into masonry for implanting audio devices. After assembly, the base of the drill was held firmly against the stomach while the handle was cranked manually. This kit came with several drill bits and accessories.

52.5 cm x 22.5 cm x 5 cm
(L x W x H)


CIA Semi-Submersible

CIA designed and manufactured this two-man semi-submersible in the 1950s. It carried no weapons, was cramped, had limited endurance, and required a "mother ship" for transport and recovery. However, the vessel could approach areas ships could not.

The semi-submersible was small and quiet. The craft was made of wood and aluminum, with plywood sheathing on the bottom, sides, and deck. This construction made sonar or radar detection unlikely. The semi-submersible could be sunk—without personnel—in depths of up to 30 feet. After sinking, it could be left underwater for periods of up to three to four weeks. When running in the "deck awash" position, it was almost impossible to see.

Its speed semi-submerged was up to 4.7 knots; its cruising speed was 4.1 knots, and its slow speed was 2.5 knots. With a range of about 110 miles, it could carry two men and 120 pounds of their equipment.

overall length:  19 ft
beam:  5 ft, 3 in
height:  6 ft, 9 in
weight:  3,650 lbs.

 

"Dead" Drop Spike

CIA used the “Belly Buster” drill during the late 1950s and early 1960s to drill holes into masonry for implanting audio devices. After assembly, the base of the drill was held firmly against the stomach while the handle was cranked manually. This kit came with several drill bits and accessories.

52.5 cm x 22.5 cm x 5 cm
(L x W x H)

 

Digital X-Ray Detector Panel

This glass panel is a component of a solid-state detector used in an X-ray imaging device.  Etched onto the panel is an array of about 1,100 x 900 picture elements ("pixels"). Each consists of a field-effect-transistor (FET) switch and a light-detecting diode. X-rays make a separate scintillation material "glow" visible light, reducing the total amount of energy needed to create an image. The pixels on this glass panel accumulate the light generated by the scintillation material, for storage and subsequent readout by the controlling computer. Originally intended for digital mammography applications, this glass panel demonstrated enormous dynamic-range and readout-speed improvements over the charge-coupled-device (CCD) technology it replaces.

30.4 cm x 25.3 cm
(L x W)

 

Distortion Measuring Set

Atlantic Research Corporation’s distortion measuring set was used to analyze the percentage of distortion on a communications circuit in Bangkok.  This unit is dated "9 July 1969."  At that time, Bangkok Bureau was located in its first office on Soi 39.

 

Dynazoom

The Dynazoom was a state-of-the-art device for stereo viewing of satellite and aircraft film in the 1960s and 1970s. It optically couples two commercial microscopes capable of magnifications up to 300x. Using these tools, analysts could extract maximum intelligence from stereo image pairs—but setup was not easy. Unlike today’s highly automated stereo viewing of digital imagery, analysts had to manually and painstakingly align film and adjust the microscopes to view images in stereo on the Dynazoom.

46 cm x 53.5 cm x 24 cm
(L x W x H)

 

Elephant Counter

CIA technicians invented and used this unusual device in the 1960s to keep track of the enemy in Southeast Asia. The mission was to count people and supplies moving down the Ho Chi Minh Trail from North Vietnam to South Vietnam along the borders of Laos and Cambodia. Many of the Laotian trail watchers whom CIA recruited could not read or write, let alone understand English. And so the device featured “pictograms,” such as symbols representing troops, trucks, motorcycles, carts, bicycles, tanks, cannons, small artillery, missiles, donkeys, and yes, occasionally elephants, a common beast of burden in Laos. Alongside each pictogram was a knob that could be set to a number, and then the data could be transmitted to an airplane by activating a toggle switch. Though such devices were ingenious in concept and design, the realities of life on the ground in SE Asia meant that it was always difficult for CIA to arrive at an accurate measure of traffic on the trail.

 

FBIS Central Eurasia Program Mongolian Typewriter

Since 1941, an organization dedicated to the collection and exploitation of open sources has helped policymakers understand our adversaries and the world around us. The Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) originally monitored foreign shortwave radio as part of the Federal Communications Commission and contributed valuable information gleaned from the airwaves to customers in the Office of Strategic Services and the US Departments of State, War, and Navy during World War II.

At the conclusion of the war, FBIS became a founding element of the new Central Intelligence Group. That same year, the National Security Council tasked the Director of Central Intelligence to operate FBIS as a service of common concern, specifically "to conduct all Federal monitoring of foreign propaganda and press broadcasts required for the collection of intelligence information to meet the needs of all Departments and Agencies in connection with National Security."

In 2005, FBIS was the seed from which the Director of National Intelligence established today’s Open Source Center to be the premier provider of open-source intelligence for the US Government.

Shown here is a Mongolian typewriter used on the Central Eurasia Program of FBIS during the 1950s.

 

FBIS Central Eurasia Report Glossary of Selected Russian Social Science Terms

Since 1941, an organization dedicated to the collection and exploitation of open sources has helped policymakers understand our adversaries and the world around us. The Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) originally monitored foreign shortwave radio as part of the Federal Communications Commission and contributed valuable information gleaned from the airwaves to customers in the Office of Strategic Services and the US Departments of State, War, and Navy during World War II.

At the conclusion of the war, FBIS became a founding element of the new Central Intelligence Group. That same year, the National Security Council tasked the Director of Central Intelligence to operate FBIS as a service of common concern, specifically "to conduct all Federal monitoring of foreign propaganda and press broadcasts required for the collection of intelligence information to meet the needs of all Departments and Agencies in connection with National Security."

In 2005, FBIS was the seed from which the Director of National Intelligence established today’s Open Source Center to be the premier provider of open-source intelligence for the US Government.

Shown here is a glossary of Russian social science terms used by FBIS.

 

FBIS Text Message Announcing Yugoslavian President Tito's Death

Filed on May 4, 1980 from the FBIS Austria Bureau, this message regards the Bucharest Radio announcement of President Tito’s death.  It states:

“The LYC Central Committee of the presidium of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia have informed the workers class, the working people and citizens, the peoples and nationalities of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia that comrade Josip Broz Tito, President of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and LCY Chairman, has passed away.”


Insectothopter

Developed by CIA’s Office of Research and Development in the 1970s, this micro unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was the first flight of an insect-sized vehicle (insectothopter). It was intended to prove the concept of such miniaturized platforms for intelligence collection.

Insectothopter had a miniature engine to move the wings up and down. A small amount of gas was used to drive the engine, and the excess was vented out the rear for extra thrust. The flight tests were impressive. However, control in any kind of crosswind proved too difficult.

6 cm x 9 cm x 1.5 cm
(L x W x H)

 

Lithium-Iodine Battery

The Central Intelligence Agency often develops technology and conducts research that not only advances its mission but, when declassified, can have significant impact on the world. In the 1970s, the CIA shared research it had done on lithium-iodine batteries with the medical community. This same technology is used in heart pacemakers today.

4.5 cm x 2.6 cm x 2 cm (large)
2.6 cm x 2.5 cm x 1.5 cm (small)
(L x W x H)

 

Modified Lady’s Makeup Compact

A code is a system of communication in which groups of symbols represent words. Codes may be used for brevity or security. Here, a code is concealed inside the mirror of a lady's makeup compact. By tilting the mirror at the correct angle, the code is revealed.

1.5 cm x 6 cm
(H x Diameter)


One-Time Pads

One-time pads (OTPs) are used to encode/decode agent communications. They are issued in matching sets of two:  one pad of sheets for the encoder and a matching pad for the decoder.  No two sets and no two sheets within a set are alike. Each sheet contains a random key in the form of five-digit groups. Once a sheet has been used to encode a message, it is torn off the pad and destroyed. Encryption by OTP is virtually unbreakable.

OTPs can be made of paper, silk, or highly flammable cellulose-nitrate film that can be destroyed quickly and easily in an emergency. They can be as small as a postage stamp.

10 cm x 6 cm
(L x W)

 

Radio Receiver Concealment

A subminiature radio receiver is concealed in this modified pipe. The user hears the sound via "bone conduction" from the jaw to the ear canal.

 

Robot Fish "Charlie"

CIA's Office of Advanced Technologies and Programs developed the unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) fish to study aquatic robot technology. Some of the specifications used to develop "Charlie" were:

  • speed
  • endurance
  • maneuverability
  • depth control
  • navigational accuracy
  • autonomy
  • communications status.

The UUV fish contains a pressure hull, ballast system, and communications system in the body and a propulsion system in the tail. It is controlled by a wireless line-of-sight radio handset.

61 cm x 28 cm x 18 cm
(L x W x H)

 

Sculpted Clay Ear


Seismic Intruder Detection Devices

These Cold War Era intrusion detectors were designed to blend in with the terrain. They can detect movement of people, animals, or objects up to 300 meters away. The devices are powered by tiny power cells and have built-in antennae. Transmitters relay data from the device via coded impulses.

4.5 cm x 3.3 cm x 1.5 cm
(L x W x H)

10.3 cm x 2 cm
(L x Diameter)

 

Silver Dollar Hollow Container

This coin may appear to be an Eisenhower silver dollar, but it is really a concealment device. It was used to hide messages or film so they could be sent secretly. Because it looks like ordinary pocket change, it is almost undetectable.

0.3 cm x 4 cm
(H x Diameter)

 

"Studio Six Productions" Accoutrements

"Studio Six Productions", was the dummy studio set up by CIA to rescue the six Americans trapped in Iran at the Canadian Ambassador’s home. The studio titled its new production “Argo” after the ship that Jason and the Argonauts sailed in rescuing the Golden Fleece from the many-headed dragon holding it captive in the sacred garden—much like the situation in Iran.  The script had a Middle Eastern sci-fi theme that glorified Islam.

 

"Studio Six Productions" Logo Items

To rescue six American diplomats who evaded capture during the seizure of the United States embassy in Tehran, Iran, on November 4, 1979, CIA technical specialists created a fake movie-production company in Hollywood and delivered disguises and documents that made possible the diplomats’ escape from Iran in 1980.

The CIA team set up “Studio Six Productions” and titled its new production “Argo.

To lend credibility to the ruse, Studio Six Productions set up offices on the old Columbia Studio lot formerly occupied by Michael Douglas, who had just completed producing The China Syndrome. A logo was created, and cards, stationery, and other logo items were produced.

 

"Studio Six Productions" Portfolio

To rescue six American diplomats who evaded capture during the seizure of the United States embassy in Tehran, Iran, on November 4, 1979, CIA technical specialists created a fake movie-production company in Hollywood and delivered disguises and documents that made possible the diplomats’ escape from Iran in 1980.

The team set up “Studio Six Productions” and titled its new production “Argo.”

The company’s portfolio includes introduction and publicity documents.

35 cm x 27 cm x 3 cm

(LxWxH)

 

The Well Dressed Spy … Bodyworn Surveillance Equipment

Q: What is the most remarkable feature of an intelligence officer’s appearance?

A: Nothing at all. They are inconspicuous.

Their clothing, accessories, and behavior must be as unremarkable as possible — their lives (and the lives of others) may depend on it. This is a responsibility that operational artisans, technicians, and engineers of the Office of Technical Readiness (OTR) take seriously. America's intelligence officers can safely collect intelligence in hostile environments because they know that quality and craftsmanship have been "built in" to their appearances, leaving no traces to alert the enemy. Thus, intelligence officers who are "unremarkable" in their daily activities, such as walking to buy a newspaper on a drizzly day, bravely collect "remarkable" intelligence undetected by hostile observers.

Q: What makes an intelligence officer “well dressed”?

A: They wear clothing and accessories skillfully crafted by operational artisans, technicians, and engineers from the Office of Technical Readiness (OTR).

“Well dressed" intelligence officers have confidence, whether attending a formal social event or performing their daily routine, because the clothing and accessories they wear have been expertly crafted to be secure and stylish—perhaps concealing a miniature camera behind a brooch or button.


Posted: Jul 23, 2012 09:04 AM
Last Updated: Nov 21, 2012 08:31 AM