Animals have been serving in the secret agencies and in the military as early as 1908. Our little cuddly and furry friends have been useful for the government to a great extent. And why not no one is gonna suspect them as dangerous spies, they are so innocent and cute. It all started when Germans first attached cameras to pigeons to take aerial photographs.
Although these stories seem to be too good to be true, but in fact, there is much evidence that supports these allegations. A Declassified CIA documents revealed that in the 1960s efforts were made to wire up a cat as a remote listening device, with its tail used as an antenna. The project was as dubbed “Acoustic Kitty,” and was abandoned after the unlucky feline was sent into a park to eavesdrop on some men sitting on a bench but was run over by a taxi before it could get into position. The project was estimated to have cost more than $14m.
Another proof is the dolphins in the Navy. The U.S. Navy had a program to train these highly intelligent animals, but rather than being trained to kill, the dolphins are used for peaceful missions to identify mines and disable the enemy swimmers.
Now, let’s look at the top 10 Animals who are accused of spying.
1. Iran is the country with the most animal spying cases. Iran arrested two pigeons hanging around a uranium enrichment plant in 2008. They gave a confusing description of birds “bearing a blue-coated metal ring, with invisible strings,”. They claim the rings and strings are some sorts of communication devices.
2. In January 2016 a big vulture was captured flying over Lebanon after arousing suspicion because it had a tracker on its tail. Lebanese villagers seized the poor bird and accused Israel of training it as a spy. In fact, the bird was tagged for tracking by Tel Aviv University, but the GPS transmitter apparently raised suspicion.
3. In 2009 George Osborne’s cat Freya went missing. and after Osborne became Chancellor of the Exchequer and moved into number 11 Downing Street, right next door to the British Prime Minister, he received a phone call notifying him that Freya had been found, and was retured home to the Osborne family.
However, suspicions arose soon after Freya began wandering in and out of some of the government’s most sensitive buildings, and some whispered that she might have been captured by a foreign power and bugged to do spying around.
4. In the 1960s and 1970s, the US military trained pigeons to fly over enemy territory and scope out potential ambushes. They were guided by laser pointers and trained to drop recording devices if they saw enemy troops.
5. In 2007, Iran arrested 14 foreign squirrels who were attempting to infiltrate the country with ‘spy gear,’ according to state news, though no photos were ever released. Officials said they succeeded in apprehending the suspects “before they were able to take any action”.
6. A pigeon with numbers on its tail was captured by Indian police on suspicion it was working for Pakistan. Police x-rayed the bird, claiming it as a “suspected spy” according to The Guardian. but unfortunately nothing adverse has been found, but the police kept the bird in their custody.
7. A dolphin in Israel was acting strange off Gaza, and attracted the attention of Hamas’s Qassam Brigade Naval Commandos. Upon investigating, they found what was described as “a murderous dolphin”, equipped with a surveillance package. As usual, no photos of the dolphin nor its equipment were released.
8. During the Napoleonic Wars between England and France in the early 19th century, a French ship was wrecked off the shore of northeast England. According to local legend, a monkey dressed in a miniature military uniform was the only survivor. The townspeople immediately suspected the monkey of being a French spy and questioned the innocent animal, who obviously failed to answer their questions. After a trial, the monkey was convicted of spying and hanged.
9. In 2016, the magazine New Scientist reported that the US Defense Department’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) planned to remotely control sharks by implanting electrodes into their brains. The sharks would be used to stealthily track underwater vessels and can use natural abilities to sense electrical gradients and follow chemical trails.
10. Declassified documents released by Britain’s National Archives reveal that two cats and a dog were suspected of spying for the Germans during World War I. The cats and dog had been observed frequently crossing the British trenches on the Flanders front line, arousing suspicions that they may have been carrying messages from the Germans.
Bonus facts: In 2018, Iran’s senior military advisor Hassan Firuzabadi said that Western intelligence agencies tried to smuggle chameleons into the country. He said they could detect uranium mines.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the US military trained pigeons to fly over enemy territory and scope out potential ambushes. They were guided by laser pointers and trained to drop recording devices if they saw enemy troops. The program stopped 45 potential ambushes, according to the former animal trainer of the US navy Bob Bailey.