In the 1960’s, the CIA launched Operation Acoustic Kitty where they attempted to create a feline cyborg type affair to spy on the enemy.
A surgeon implanted a microphone in its ear and a radio transmitter at the base of its skull. The surgeon also wove an antenna into the cat’s fur. The whole thing cost a great deal of money and for the field testing stage in the hope that the cat could be trained to listen to the conversations of foreign spies.
CIA bods drove the cat the park and released it hoping that it’s training would direct it towards two people on a bench where it would then broadcast their conversation back to base. Unfortunately the cat couldn’t really be arsed with that plan and walked in the opposite direction where it was run over and killed by a taxi.
In a heavily redacted memo, the CIA concluded: “Our final examination of trained cats…convinced us that the program would not lend itself in a practical sense to our highly specialized needs.”
That hasn’t stopped agencies from trying to weaponise animals. The US Government attempted to chip insects as well. Dr Evil wanted sharks with frickin laser beams attached to their heads, but got seabass.
That doesn’t appear to have deterred the Russians. Marine experts in Norway believe they have stumbled upon a white whale that was trained by the Russian navy as part of a programme to use underwater mammals as a special ops force.
According to The Guardian:
“We were going to put out nets when we saw a whale swimming between the boats,” fisherman Joar Hesten told Norwegian broadcaster NRK. “It came over to us, and as it approached, we saw that it had some sort of harness on it.”
The strange behaviour of the whale, which was actively seeking out the vessels and trying to pull straps and ropes from the sides of the boats, as well as the fact it was wearing a tight harness which seemed to be for a camera or weapon, raised suspicions among marine experts that the animal had been given military-grade training by neighbouring Russia. Inside the harness, which has now been removed from the whale, were the words “Equipment of St. Petersburg”.
Russia has never hidden the fact that they have trained dolphins to solve various tasks, from analysing the seabed to protecting a stretch of water, killing foreign divers and attaching mines to the hulls of foreign ships.
However, when interviewed by Russian broadcaster Govorit Moskva, Col Viktor Baranets said “if we were using this animal for spying do you really think we’d attach a mobile phone number with the message ‘please call this number’?”
Given the reported track records of this sort of thing, I wouldn’t be overly surprised if they did.