Culture and Society

What are some of the gadgets that CIA agents use?
Answered by Discovery Channel
  • Discovery Channel

    Discovery Channel

  1. It's not exactly James Bond material, but CIA agents do get to use a range of gadgets for hiding or passing on information secretly. For national security reasons, the agency doesn't want the general public to know all its methods, but many items can be seen at the CIA museum. Here are just a few examples:

    • The dead drop spike. This small, hollow, pointed container can be filled (with notes, money, film, maps or similar) and then easily pushed into earth to hide it. The spike is waterproof, so it can even be concealed in the mud of a shallow stream.
    • The microdot camera. This gadget would take tiny photographs that could be pasted into an innocent-looking letter to another agent, who would then decipher the images under a microscope. Operatives used the Mark IV microdot camera in the 1950s and '60s.
    • The hollow silver dollar. Still in use today, this CIA favorite can conceal a small letter or microfilm.

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