Operation Cornflakes may have seemed pretty silly, but it was nothing compared to Operation Acoustic Kitty. The plan involved wiring up a cat so that it could be used as a mobile recording device. Unfortunately, due to the fact that cats are cats, and they do not take orders from the CIA, they had to turn him into Frankenfeline to make the scheme even partially operational:
“They slit the cat open, put batteries in him, wired him up. The tail was used as an antenna. They made a monstrosity. They tested him and tested him. They found he would walk off the job when he got hungry, so they put another wire in to override that.”
They then took the $20 million dollar tabby, and put him out on Wisconsin Ave. to go spy on some Russians. The cat promptly got run over by a taxi, and Operation Acoustic Kitty came to a premature end.
From the CIA memorandum [PDF]:
“We have satisfied ourselves that it is indeed possible [REDACTED]. This is in itself a remarkable achievement. Knowing that cats can indeed be trained to move short distances [REDACTED] we see no reason to believe that a [REDACTED] cat can not be similarly trained to approach [REDACTED]. Again, however, the environmental and security factors in using this technique in a real foreign situation force us to conclude that for our [REDACTED] purposes, it would not be practical.”
So, it took twenty million dollars and a dead Frankenkitty to conclude that although a cat will do simple tricks if it suits the cat’s purposes, cats do not make ideal secret agents. That is some ground breaking research right there. I think the CIA would have been better off re-investing in Skinner’s Project Pigeon.