Placeholder Image

字幕表 動画を再生する

  • - [Mike] Hi, everyone, I'm Mike.

  • - [Thespi] And I'm Thespi.

  • - [Mike] And today, we're going to talk to you

  • about bizarre but completely true part of history.

  • - [Thespi] Spy cats.

  • - [Mike] Yes, the true story of how the CIA

  • tried using cats to spy on foreign leaders

  • during the height of the Cold War.

  • - [Thespi] This is going to be exhilarating.

  • - [Mike] The story goes that in the mid-1960s,

  • the CIA's directorate of science and technology

  • was looking for a way to conduct surveillance

  • on a foreign head of state.

  • They were inspired by the fact that cats

  • were allowed to come and go as they pleased

  • during this specific head of state's strategy meetings.

  • Cats were not paid much attention

  • as there were a bunch of feral cats in the region.

  • - [Thespi] Cats are elusive.

  • They're slinky.

  • They can get wherever they want.

  • But you notice a cat.

  • You see it walking around, you're like,

  • what is this cat doing here?

  • - [Mike] Have you ever been suspicious of a cat, Thespi?

  • - [Thespi] Every time my cat and I connect eyes,

  • I know there are secrets of the universe

  • trapped in his tiny little skull.

  • Not many, but they're there.

  • - [Mike] I don't think I would be as suspicious of a dog.

  • - [Thespi] Dogs are there to make people happy.

  • Cats are there to plug away at your insecurities over time.

  • I genuinely do think that cats have ulterior motives,

  • which is why I wouldn't trust a cat to be a spy.

  • - [Mike] Right, and we'll get to that

  • 'cause that is relevant.

  • (Thespi laughing)

  • It's unclear who came up with the idea of spy cats,

  • but from those observations mentioned earlier,

  • the idea was born and became known as Acoustic Kitty.

  • - [Thespi] Bum, bum, bum, or should we say,

  • meow, meow, meow. (laughing)

  • - [Mike] Hate you. (laughing)

  • Since it was the 1960s, recording technology

  • didn't allow them to isolate certain sounds.

  • So, recordings contained ambient noise

  • that made it difficult to hear conversations.

  • The theory, according to one source,

  • was that because cats have cochlea like humans,

  • they would be able to filter out the unnecessary noise

  • and focus on the voices they were targeting,

  • and it seemed like they were actually able

  • to condition the cats to listen to human voices.

  • - [Thespi] When my cat and I lock eyes

  • and we're holding them,

  • and I'm seeing the vast emptiness,

  • there's something going on in there,

  • but I as a human cannot get there,

  • how could you look at lots of cats and go,

  • "Oh, we're on the same page"?

  • - [Mike] I think there's a lot of, dare I say,

  • misplaced confidence?

  • - [Thespi] Were all these people men

  • who were running this program?

  • - [Mike] You know, it was the '60s.

  • - [Thespi] Most likely.

  • Interesting, interesting.

  • - [Mike] Once the CIA had the idea,

  • they had to execute it.

  • However, designing an implant that contained a microphone,

  • antennae, transmitter, and power source,

  • and that was virtually undetectable by the animal,

  • and would not impact its movement would be difficult.

  • (meows)

  • - [Thespi] I am so terrified about where we're going.

  • If we're like, look, kitties can't have little robot collars

  • that clearly look like walkie-talkies

  • where they're communicating with intelligence.

  • - [Mike] How cute would that be, though?

  • - [Thespi] I can see a cat,

  • I can see a thick collar,

  • I can see it looking industrial,

  • I can see like, Austin Powers' Dr. Evil lair vibe,

  • but that's not what we're talking about.

  • We're talking about secret hidden spaces,

  • which means they're gonna have to do stuff to the cat

  • to get the things inside of the cat.

  • - [Mike] So this is where it gets a little dicey.

  • (Thespi groans) The people aren't gonna

  • like this very much.

  • - [Thespi] Okay, warning to all the kitty lovers out there.

  • Know that we don't agree with this.

  • - [Mike] Eventually, they figured out placement

  • throughout the body.

  • The microphone was positioned in the ear canal.

  • A 3/4-inch transmitter was placed

  • at the base of the cat's skull

  • where its scruff provided ample space.

  • And a very thin wire antennae

  • ran from the transmitter through the cat's fur.

  • The placement of the batteries

  • to use as the power source is not apparent,

  • but obviously had to be small,

  • which restricted the length of recordings.

  • According to a trainer, ultrasonic sound,

  • not audible to humans,

  • was used to guide the cats' movements.

  • - [Thespi] As someone who tries to walk their cats,

  • putting my cat in a harness is already

  • a dangerous enough excursion.

  • - [Mike] Both dummies and real cats

  • tested out the equipment before the team

  • was ready to use it for real.

  • Officials weighed the potential bad press

  • for using animals for this sort of project

  • if word were to get out against the potential benefit,

  • and they decided to proceed with the project.

  • - [Thespi] The dummies, little cat shapes,

  • they're like, "Okay, this is what it would look like

  • "on the kitty model."

  • Someone else was like, "Hey Bob, you think this looks

  • "a little sketchy?"

  • And then, the other guys was like, "Actually Bob,

  • "I think it looks good."

  • So they're doing, essentially, a Venn diagram.

  • And on one side is stopping Cold War,

  • and the other side is people who like animals.

  • And they're trying to find an intersection

  • for what would be okay, and is this worth it?

  • And clearly, they were like, "We're okay with this."

  • - [Mike] Finally, the day came

  • for the official implantation of the recording device.

  • The procedure itself took an hour,

  • as a group of onlookers watched a vet

  • open up a female cat with gray and white fur.

  • The cat was asleep, by the way.

  • - [Thespi] I would be horrified if the cat wasn't asleep.

  • - [Mike] It said that one audio engineer

  • asked to sit after seeing the animal cut open.

  • - [Thespi] I'm surprised nobody fainted.

  • Wonder what the cat's name was.

  • - Me too! - Like, are they

  • cutting up Mimi?

  • - [Mike] It is a female cat, so.

  • According to Victor Marchetti,

  • the executive assistant to the deputy director of the CIA,

  • the implantation went as follows.

  • They cut the cat open, put in batteries and wires,

  • and used the tail as an antennae.

  • He said, quote, "They made a monstrosity."

  • (thunder crackles)

  • - [Thespi] So you see here, what you do

  • is you cut the cat open, you put the batteries and wire in,

  • and you just use the tail as an antennae.

  • It's just as easy as that.

  • And then in the meanwhile,

  • like there's the Dr. Frankenstein onlookers

  • in the background going,

  • (gasps) "We've made a monstrosity."

  • And like, imagine poor little Mimi,

  • she's getting sewed back up on the table.

  • Imagine her coming out of it and just being like,

  • "What the God green earth

  • "have these (beeps) other giant cats done to me?"

  • - [Mike] As she recovered, the system proved to work.

  • But some tech they had placed

  • to control the cat's movements,

  • which had previously succeeded,

  • didn't work with any reliability.

  • After she recovered, tests proved disappointing.

  • While the cat could be directed small distances

  • or in places it was accustomed to,

  • it did not overall work well outside in the real world.

  • As we'll soon see, ultimately the risks

  • of a rogue spy kitty overruled the possible benefits.

  • - [Thespi] What was that Hilary Duff movie?

  • "Agent Cody Banks."

  • - [Mike] Right!

  • - [Thespi] That scene where he's getting all the spy toys,

  • and he's running around, and they're like,

  • "Okay, here's your cool skateboard.

  • "Here's all your things."

  • I like to think of little Mimi running around the CIA,

  • and they're just like, "Mimi, come back,"

  • and she's just trying to pick up signals.

  • But she's also a goddamn cat,

  • so she's like, "What am I even doing here?

  • "I'm so confused."

  • So, poor Mimi is just trying to bust out of there

  • and find a new life.

  • So of course it's not working.

  • - [Mike] The hubris is wild here.

  • - [Thespi] They should've taken a moment,

  • predicted the future.

  • And they should've been like, "In 2019,

  • "the world's most important movie will be released,

  • "'Cats,' where humans will be designed to look like cats."

  • And they should've held out.

  • And they should've controlled Rebel Wilson as a cat

  • as a rogue operative spy.

  • - [Mike] This is brilliant. (dinging sound)

  • - [Thespi] This is what dreams are made of.

  • Not to keep going back to Hilary Duff, but like,

  • anything is possible.

  • This is possible.

  • It's wrong.

  • - [Mike] However, the implantation of the recording device

  • was still considered a win as it was operative.

  • The cat just wasn't as controllable as once thought.

  • - [Thespi] I can totally imagine going to a meeting,

  • and be like, "Look guys, can we not control the cats?

  • "Yeah, but we're getting signal,

  • "so we at least implanted something correctly."

  • - [Mike] Managers like to spin things.

  • - [Thespi] I would do the same thing.

  • I'd be like, "Guys, guys, guys,

  • "we're missing out on the silver lining,

  • "which is we could put wires in anything."

  • - [Mike] Marchetti also observed that the cat

  • would walk off the job when hungry.

  • So, they put in another wire to try to override that.

  • Finally, they decided to deploy the spy kitty for real.

  • They took it out to a park bench and said,

  • "Listen to those two guys.

  • "Don't listen to anything else,

  • "not the birds, no cat or dog, just those two guys."

  • - [Thespi] Is it like when parents talk to kids

  • and they squat down real low, and they're like, "Okay Mimi,"

  • and they hold up the two pictures, and they're like,

  • "You see these two guys?

  • "That's who you're gonna listen to."

  • Again, knowing that cats understand no English.

  • - [Mike] According to Marchetti,

  • they took the cat out of a van,

  • and a taxi comes and runs the cat over.

  • There they were, sitting in a van with all those dials,

  • and the cat was dead.

  • - [Thespi] Oh my god.

  • Did Mimi just die?

  • - [Mike] It's very abrupt.

  • - [Thespi] That's a lot.

  • Like poor little Mimi finally outside,

  • finally trying to break free,

  • finally trying to do something, and then just like that.

  • Can you imagine how much time and money they have invested

  • in Mimi and her brethren to make this happen?

  • - [Mike] However, in a lecture given

  • at the International Spy Museum,

  • CIA historical advisor Keith Melton

  • discussed the mission of Acoustic Kitty.

  • He claims that the cat was, in fact,

  • not run over while crossing the road,

  • and lived a long, healthy, and natural life.

  • - [Thespi] Keith is 100% lying out of his bum.

  • Again, this is like Victor going in there and being like,

  • "Look guys, this didn't work, but this did."