Saturday, December 27, 2014

The CIA tried out some of James Bond's gadgets in real life

The Lektor Decoder. The Homing Pill. Skyhook. Everyone knows that 007 has used some cool high-tech gizmos and weapons over his career.

The CIA tried out some of James Bond’s gadgets in real life

Image via Thunderball

The Lektor Decoder. The Homing Pill. Skyhook. Everyone knows that 007 has used some cool high-tech gizmos and weapons over his career. But, you might not be aware that, back in the day, the CIA tried to copy a bunch of those gadgets for their own use. A professor at England’s Warwick University has discovered that the CIA copied a few of them for real-life secret agents to use.

"There was a surprising two-way influence between the CIA and the James Bond novels during the Cold War, stemming from the mutual admiration between CIA director Allen Dulles and Bond author Ian Fleming," said Dr Moran.

"This ranged from the copying of devices to the agency using the 007 novels to improve its public profile."

In an edition of Life magazine, from 1964, Dulles described his meeting with the "brilliant and witty" Fleming in London in 1959, where the author told him the CIA was not doing enough in the area of "special devices."


On his return to the US, Dulles urged CIA technical staff to replicate as many of Bond's devices as they could. The flick-knife shoes were produced for spies, although the Goldfinger homing device could not be made to work – cities confused the signal.

More than that, though, the Russians apparently found the friendship between the head of the CIA and the fictional British spy's creator to be rather hilarious.

The team from Warwick University combed the archives in the Soviet press, and found that Russia's leaders were laughing about the friendship between Dulles and Fleming.

"The Communists were talking a great deal about their links, which was recorded in newspapers of the era," he said. "And they were saying how useless must the CIA be if they are relying on a British novelist for inspiration." [The Telegraph]

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