Cold War between the two superpowers America and the Soviet Union spawned new theories in espionage. One of these was to deploy non-humans to ferret out vital information from the opponent’s camp. US Central Intelligence Agency has revealed its plans to train a variety of non-humans to operate on the ground, in the air, and at sea. They included cats, dogs, and dolphins apart from pigeons, ravens, and crows. The intention was to involve them in espionage activities during the Cold War.

Daily Mail UK mentions a raven of early 1974.

It had remarkable abilities but it vanished, presumed to have fallen victim to others of its kind. The CIA considered using cats as possible eavesdropping devices. They had ideas of implanting some electrical contraption in the brain of canines to explore possibilities of remote control. A third was the experiment with dolphins to spy on the development of a nuclear submarine fleet by the Soviet Union. That was in the 1960s. However, the agency did not pursue these options.

US Navy still use dolphins and seals

The CIA had two projects for using dolphins in undercover operations.

They wanted to check out the feasibility of training these mammals to replace human divers. The work of these non-humans would be to plant explosives on selected locations. Another task could be to gain entry into important installations and position items to spy on happenings around. Yet another use could be to just swim alongside submarines and collect their acoustic signatures. However, the agency abandoned the projects but the US Navy uses dolphins and seals even today.

Daily Mail UK also talks about feathered friends.

Here, the CIA sought the help of ornithologists in order to find details about birds that are familiar with certain regions in the Soviet Union. One of these was where they had a facility for chemical weapons. In the early 1970s, there was thinking on using birds of prey and ravens. Their missions would be to help to eavesdrop by leaving behind listening devices on nondescript locations like a windowsill.

Glimpse into CIA's Cold War espionage

According to Fox News, the CIA has declassified documents pertaining to espionage on the Soviet Union during the Cold War era.

In the 1970s, it trained pigeons to carry out clandestine missions to photograph sensitive sites. The birds would be fitted with miniaturized equipment that would automatically capture relevant photographs. There were studies on the feasibility of using dolphins and birds to support spying operations. However, those remained as possible options. CIA admits - “For a variety of technical and other reasons, none of the programs ever became operational.” Espionage is an ongoing activity. Every country tries to learn more about the strengths and weaknesses of its rival and the world of today uses more advanced technology.

There is hardly any place for birds and animals.

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