In the 1970s, we created a camera so tiny that a pigeon could carry it! The camera was strapped to the bird’s chest with a little harness, and the bird would be released over a secret area in a foreign country that we wanted to know more about. The camera would snap pictures as the bird flew back home to us.
Pigeons were perfect because they are such common birds! Who would ever think a pigeon was actually a secret spy-bird taking photographs for the CIA?
Virginia Hall’s life reads like a spy movie. She worked for America’s first spy agency, the Office of Strategic Services, during WWII.
Virginia organized spy networks, assisted escaped prisoners of war, and provided essential information to help us win the war. She had to stay one step ahead of the Nazis, who desperately wanted to capture her.
For her cunning and courage, she was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross—the only civilian woman in America to be so honored.
After WWII, Virginia joined the CIA. She continued to work on secret operations, one of only a few women at the time to do so, until she retired in 1966. And she did it all despite having a prosthetic leg, which she named Cuthbert.