Project Acoustic Kitty

Whoever came up with the concept of Project Acoustic Kitty in the 1960s should be glad that it remained classified for decades afterward, because this idea was so far off the rails the agents responsible would have been mercilessly shamed.

Strap in for this one, because it sounds like the plot of children’s action comedy movie.

acoustic kitty spy cat
Mother Nature Network

At the height of the Cold War in the 1960s, the CIA’s director of Science & Technology was looking for a unique new way to spy on the Kremlin and gather intelligence on Soviet Union embassies.

Acoustic Kitty set out to turn cats into spies… let the ridiculousness begin.

Project Acoustic Kitty (continued)

It would seem like trying to train a cat would be an exhausting experience, because really, what cat ever listens to anything?

Well, the CIA didn’t get the memo. The plan was to take these “trained” spy cats and implant a microphone in their ear canal.

acoustic kitty cat
Johnny Times

A radio transmitter was to be set into the base of the cat’s skull with wiring running up its body through the fur to attach to an antenna. The time of the procedure reportedly took about an hour.

In total, the CIA poured roughly $20 million into the entire operation — a large sum considering the problems that arose.

Project Acoustic Kitty (continued)

Project Acoustic Kitty was shut down in 1967 after initial tests turned out to be a complete failure. The reason the project wasn’t able to take off was that the cats would get distracted by their surroundings. (Picture a super secret spy agent cat peeking around a corner when a red laser suddenly appears on the wall nearby.)

acoustic kitty spy

Though it was never confirmed, one story perfectly sums up the absurdity of Project Acoustic Kitty: It’s said that the first mission was to have a cat spy on two men in Washington DC at the Russian embassy. As the story goes, almost immediately after the cat was released, it set off to cross the street, only to be hit by a car, immediately concluding Project Acoustic Kitty.

Project MK-Ultra

The CIA’s top-secret Project MK-Ultra is just plain creepy and a real eye-opener that display what lengths people are willing to go for power.

The purpose of MK-Ultra: Evaluate the efficacy of substances for the purposes mind control, gathering information, and torture.

project mkultra declassified document

Sheesh. No misinterpreting the goal here. From roughly 1953 to 1973, Project MK-Ultra was the root of some of the most devious, sinister human experiments on the planet, all on the government’s watch and they taxpayers’ dollar. The CIA went all in on the dosing and experimentation, testing substances long banned by…well, the federal government. Do as I say, not as I do. — US government.

Project Horizon

Project Horizon is another top-secret mission that never was. If the plan had been executed, the entire world (and then some) as we know it would be different. The plan was proposed in 1959 with the intention of building a military base… on the MOON!

project horizon moon base
Astrowright –

The US Army, Navy, and Air Force all had important figureheads come together to lay out a strategy that could get 12 American soldiers onto the moon in a permanent outpost by December 1966.

If that doesn’t already sound bananas, keep in mind that this meant the folks behind Project Horizon deemed it probable to get 12 soldiers on the moon almost three full years before Apollo 11 did it.

Project Horizon (continued)

The proposal’s astronomical goal was also accompanied by an astronomical cost of $6 billion. A massive chunk of that cash would have gone into the raw materials needed for Saturn rocket launches.

That “rocket launches” is plural in a big way. We’re talking about launching 147 Saturn A-1 rockets into orbit.

project horizon

Once in space, they would reach a station where a Saturn A-2 would shuttle 16 astronauts at a time to the space station and back.

This epic sci-fi fantasy proposed that the first 40 rocket launches would take place in 1964, just five years after construction was scheduled to begin.

Project Horizon (continued)

After the first year of Saturn launches, cargo delivery would begin in 1965. Fast forward four months and the first two men are on their way to the moon. By November 1966, the 12-man task force was expected to all be working away on the moon.

project horizon map
Defense Media Network

America’s moon defense team would have been fending off the Soviets with Davy Crokett rocket warheads and claymore mines to pop holes in their space suits. Yeah, sounds like video game concept.

When President Dwight Eisenhower was handed the outline of the plan, he gave the proposal a hard pass. A thumbs up by Eisenhower may as well have been an approval to light the treasury on fire.

Project MK-Ultra (continued)

Literally everything about Project MK-Ultra was super dark. At the head of the program was chemist Sidney Gottlieb, whose nicknames “Black Sorcerer” and “Dirty Trickster” pretty much sum up sum up the bright ray of sunshine he was to the world.

Many of the tests were conducted at top universities like Stanford and Harvard.

Daily Telegraph

On the other end of the spectrum of tests were things like Operation Midnight Climax, which is just plain bizarre. Brothels were set up by the CIA with workers on government payroll, luring in clients and dosing them without their knowledge.

This extended to mental patients, prisoners and, addicts or, as one agent once put it, “people who could not fight back.” Yikes.

Project MK-Ultra (continued)

Tests conducted at universities included some very notable people, such as Beat Generation figure Ken Kesey. Kesey may have been the greatest example of the irony of the failed mind-control experiments. Not only did the tests not work for mind control, but the One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest author made a point to “test” to everyone he could, helping create the counterculture movement.

Another subject of these tests, Ted Kaczynski, was led down a very different path — he is better known as the Unabomber.

project mkultra ted kaczynski unabomber
Yahoo News

One of the scariest things about this is that Project MK-Ultra likely would have never been made public had it not been for some 20,000 documents incorrectly stored in a financial records building. Whoops.

Even this discovery in 1977 is likely little more than the tip of the iceberg, as Director of the CIA Richard Helms ordered all the files be destroyed in 1973 after the Watergate scandal.

Kidnapping the Lunik

When the Space Race began, it really wasn’t that much of a race at all. The Soviet Union started the Luna program — often referred to by Western media as “Lunik” — in January 1959 by launching the Luna 1 into space.

russian lunik space
Keystone / Getty Images

As the months passed, the Soviets tirelessly toiled away with one launch after another, recording an array of new achievements, while the US had nothing more than a few failed launches to their name.

There was no way the Americans would take that lying down. After roughly a year of Soviet Lunik launches, sometime around late 1959 or early 1960, the CIA hatched a plan to steal their enemy’s success.

Kidnapping the Lunik (continued)

A perfect opportunity arose when the Soviet Union took an international tour to show off various technological achievements. Among the many advanced exhibits were a Sputnik satellite and the upper stage of a Lunik.

Once CIA intelligence confirmed that these were not just models, it was game on.

russia lunik
Communities Digital News

A small team of just four CIA agents were assembled, and they had their hands full. The satellites were heavily guarded on a nearly 24/7 basis. There was one crack in the Soviets’ seemingly impenetrable armor, though. When the Lunik was transported, it was brought by truck to a railyard where a guard would mark its delivery, but there was no expected delivery time…

Kidnapping the Lunik (continued)

One night, when the Lunik was loaded out into the truck, the agents (disguised as locals) followed suit. They followed the truck driver and pulled off a move that would have seemed fake if it were in the movies. The agents somehow managed to stop the truck driver at the very last stop before the drop-off, and took the truck while he was resting at a hotel and drove off to a salvage yard

russia lunik satellite
Popular Science

Soon as the team parked, it was time to get down to the real work. They opened up the roof of the truck and prepared to dismantle the whole thing to gather a full blueprint of the layout. Two men on the nose; two men on the tail.

When all was said and done, the satellite was returned good as new. The Soviets had no idea that they had just handed over the keys to winning the Space Race.

Operation Northwoods

Operation Northwoods is a tough one, because it reveals a darker side of government that we would rather believe couldn’t possibly exist. We expect that the United States government is meant to serve and protect the country, but sometimes, beneath the surface, there are more sinister motives at play.

operation northwoods declassified document
22 Words

The proposal of Operation Northwoods was intended to be what is known as a “false flag.” A false flag is a secret operation intended to deceive a group or nation by making it look like a certain act was committed by a group or nation that actually had nothing to do with it. This dates back to pirate ships flying a country’s flag, so their victims wouldn’t know to escape.

Operation Northwoods (continued)

In 1962, the US Department of Defense and Joint Chiefs of Staff came together to propose that either the CIA or some other government agency commit an act(s) of terrorism… against American civilians and military.

The insane plan was proposed, so that they could blame the Cuban government and go to war.

operation northwoods fidel castro

This proposal was presented shortly after communist leader Fidel Castro had come to power. By conducting a slew of hijackings, the US government planned on then fabricating evidence to make it look like Cuba was responsible.

With plans to hit major cities like Miami and Washington DC, there’s little doubt Americans would have fully supported retaliation against communist Cuba.

Operation Northwoods (continued)

Thankfully, the United States had President John F. Kennedy in office at the time of this proposal.

While the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Department of Defense were all on board and ready to go, they first needed the approval of the president. That wasn’t happening.

operation northwoods jfk
The Black Vault

JFK was staunchly opposed to the idea and rejected the proposal. Taking it a step further, JFK wanted to send a message that this was unacceptable by removing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Lyman Lemnitzer.

What may be craziest of all is that since the military thought the president was “soft” on Cuba, the dissent grew so strong, that many conspiracy theories believe this may have been a driving force behind the assassination of JFK.

Operation Paperclip

Operation Paperclip may be one of the most famous declassified programs in the history of the United States government. It is also responsible for helping kick off NASA and its entry in the Space Race with the Soviet Union.

So, when this top-secret operation began in 1945 at the end of World War II, its impact on the US (and world) was only just beginning.

operation paperclip scientists

As WWII was winding to a close, American agents of the Counter Intelligence Corps set out on a mission to round up German scientists and engineers. Rather than try these men for various crimes committed as members and leaders of the German forces, their genius minds were enlisted to help the States.

Operation Paperclip (continued)

Knowing the atrocities committed in WWII makes it easy to see why letting these scientists and engineers off the hook would be such a controversial move — which is exactly why this program remained secret.

While the US took over 1,600 experts in rocketry back to the States, the Soviet Union was making its own push, taking over 2,200 Germans for their own rocket program.

operation paperclip nazis

The Soviets may have had more men to build rockets, but the Americans had the greatest asset of all in Wernher von Braun.

Von Braun was a mastermind among geniuses. His work on various rockets led to the launch of the United States’ first satellite into space, the Explorer 1.

Operation Paperclip (continued)

Von Braun and his team of scientists were eventually integrated into NASA’s program where they would eventually create the Saturn V. With von Braun serving as the chief architect, the rocket was able launch the Apollo spacecraft to the moon.

operation paperclip nazis werner von braun
Those Conspiracy Guys

Were it not for Operation Paperclip, the United States would undoubtedly be years behind the advanced technological state of rocketry today.

Controversial as the program was, Apollo program director Sam Phillips has stated that without the likes of von Braun, we likely never would have reached the moon at all.

Had the US never taken these German aeronautics and rocketry experts, the Space Race would have likely just been Russia breaking new ground time and again.

Project Star Gate

Without a doubt, Project Star Gate is one of the wackiest secret operations the U.S. Army has ever funded. Although the entirety of its 18-year run was extremely small scale and the CIA determined the program pretty much provided “a large amount of irrelevant, erroneous information,” the fact that the government ever gave this the green light is fantastic.

stargate project remote viewing telekinesis
ESP Experiments

For the most part, Project Star Gate focused on remote viewing, something that is widely considered to be little more than pseudoscience.

The concept of remote viewing was first proposed in 1970, eight years before Project Star Gate started. Essentially, a person uses psychic powers to sense or “see” something that is remote or hidden.

Project Star Gate (continued)

In 1977, the Army Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence introduced the GONDOLA WISH program to “evaluate potential adversary applications of remote viewing.” It was made into an official operational program in 1978 (and had a million name changes), taking up two buildings in Maryland’s Fort Meade.

project star gate esp psychic

When journalist Jack Anderson reported on the paranormal research and experiments, the National Academy of Sciences National Research Council thought it was… well, really dumb.

Critiques of the exposed secret program were so harsh that the Army cut funding. That wasn’t the end, though, as the Defense Intelligence Agency re-branded the project with a new name and kept the funding going.

Project Star Gate (continued)

Project Star Gate consisted of roughly 15-20 people from its inception to its closure in 1995.

The purpose of the research was to make clairvoyance a more structured, scientifically concrete process. Ironically, the final reports on the entire operation seemed to only focus on how that is exactly what was not achieved.

stargate project, esp, remote viewing
Reality Sandwich

Impossible to replicate. Lacking in practical use. Little reliability.

Pretty much every government official that wasn’t directly in the program had nothing but negative things to say about program from its effectiveness to practicality.

Nonetheless, we can’t ignore the fact that CIA files also suggested that those in charge of Project Star Gate seemed to think they did have some success. Who knows, calling the operation a total bust could be just the disinformation the government wanted to leak to the public.

Manhattan Project

One of the craziest things about the Manhattan Project is how it operated at such a large scale as an open secret.

It all began a year after the discovery of nuclear fission in 1938 as a small-scale operation looking to create the world’s first nuclear weapon.

manhattan project albert einstein

The top-secret research began after in 1939 after physicists Leo Szilard and Eugene Wigner wrote a letter to the President Franklin D. Roosevelt warning him of “extremely powerful bombs of a new type.”

It’s known today as the Einstein-Szilard letter after the brilliant Albert Einstein signed the document to add validity to the gravity of the situation.

Manhattan Project (continued)

The number of American scientists and physicists working on the Manhattan Project was very small scale at the start of World War II but, as time passed and the war worsened, urgency to create the nukes grew the entire operation to over 130,000 people!

manhattan project scientists

It would seem impossible that everything could remain hidden from the general public, but there were some extreme measures taken to ensure secrecy.

An overwhelming majority of workers employed essentially only knew their job and nothing else about the project. For further security, workers could face up to 10 years in prison or a $10,000 fine (over $100K today) for divulging any information about what they were doing.

Manhattan Project (continued)

It’s believed that before the nuclear bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, all of 1,000 or so people had any idea that the Manhattan Project was working on atoms despite the massive amount of raw materials shipped in to various factories.

manhattan project
National Parks Conservation Association

Even more incredible is that it’s believed that before they were used, “no more than a few dozen men in the entire country knew the full meaning of the Manhattan Project.”

A massive operation that employed over 130,000 people and cost $2 billion (over $22 billion today), only a handful of people knew what was truly going on the entire time.

Gulf of Tonkin Incident

The Vietnam War was a long and ugly, lasting nearly two decades. Worst of all is that this messy affair the United States got involved in was in retaliation to something that never actually happened.

The Gulf of Tonkin Incident was a false flag operation that escalated the Vietnam War to unfathomable heights.

uss maddox gulf of tonkin
MR Online

It was actually not one, but two separate “incidents” on August 2 and August 4, 1964. The first incident went down during an intelligence mission run by the USS Maddox while off the shores of North Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin when three North Vietnamese Navy torpedo boats began pursuing the destroyer.

Gulf of Tonkin Incident (continued)

A battle broke out, resulting in damage to ships on both sides and four deaths on the North Vietnamese side, but that wasn’t the end of it… supposedly.

Two days later, a second incident occurred when radar signals indicated more ships were attacking again.

president lyndon b. johnson
The Atlantic

This second attack was all President Lyndon B. Johnson needed to justify retaliation. What ensued was a strategic, carefully worded address to make it appear that an unprovoked attack forced the United States’ hand to respond.

The reality of the situation was a mess: North Vietnam was not responsible for starting either of the two incidents.

Gulf of Tonkin Incident (continued)

In 2005, a historical study by the National Security Agency was declassified, revealing it had determined that the Johnson administration lied about Vietnamese boats firing first. As instructed, the Maddox fired three warning shots when the ships got too close, which ended up sparking the conflict.

secretary robert mcnamara gulf of tonkin map

As for the second incident on August 4, it turns out that entire incident could be chalked up to false radar images. When Secretary McNamara learned of this, he took it upon himself to not tell the president. Americans “retaliated” by bombing an unoccupied stretch of water.

President Johnson’s entire premise for the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution to assist against communist aggression was based on a lie.