Top 20 CIA Secrets That Are Crazier Than Movies

The CIA has been surrounded by conspiracy theories ever since it was created. We all know the government is up to something, but these confirmed CIA secrets are wilder than any internet theorist’s dream! Forget all those car chases and agents with guns hidden in ankle holsters, because the truth is even more bizarre. Check #18, #14, and #3!

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#20. Operation Mongoose

The “Cuban Project,” also known as Operation Mongoose, was a covert operation against Fidel Castro’s government in Cuba. The CIA made failed attempts to assassinate the Cuban leader since removing communists from power was a prime focus of the Kennedy administration.

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And how they planned to do it was bizarre, to say the least. The hits included exploding cigars, hiring the mafia and poisoning milkshakes. There was also a plan to introduce chemicals in his shoes that would make his hair fall out! That way they would destroy Castro’s image, could you imagine him without the beard?

#19. The Unabomber

The Unabomber was the target of the most expensive investigation in the whole history of the FBI, and when they finally caught him, he had a shocking confession to make. Turns out that it was CIA experimentation that turned him into a life of crime.

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Ted Kaczynski participated in a series of experiments sponsored by the CIA. These Harvard human experiments sought to measure individuals’ responses to extreme stress and they left terrible psychological effects on Ted.

#18. Operation Acoustic Kitty

This CIA project was launched in the 1960s and intended to use cats to spy on the Kremlin and Soviet embassies. The plan was to turn hearing-augmented cats into portable spying devices.

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But if there is one thing we know about cats is that they never do what we want them to do. So, of course, the kitties got distracted and never really learned how to eavesdrop on the Soviets.

#17. Air America

Established in 1946, the American passenger and cargo airline was covertly owned by the CIA from 1950 to 1976. The airline provided direct and indirect support to US Special Forces in Indochina.

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Air America was just a front to smuggle soldiers, weapons and even drugs during the Vietnam War. The airline was dissolved after 1975 and was later revived as a scheduled passenger airline based in Los Angeles.

#16. North Korea

At the beginning of the Cold War, the U.S. viewed North Korea as a Soviet puppet regime. So the CIA attempted to establish resistance networks by parachuting some of its Korean agents.

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But they never managed to sow any seeds of rebellion, no matter how many agents they airdropped into the country. Turns out the operation failed, and none of these operatives were heard from again

#15. Nanda Devi

At the height of the Cold War, the CIA was spying on China’s nuclear progress via India. CIA officials did a trial run of their nuclear sensor in Alaska and then in Nanda Devi. But the weather was so bad that they had to turn back.

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The thing is, they couldn’t carry the device, so they left it there… and then lost it! They went back to search for it but had no luck and they even closed the mountain for nine years but still haven’t found it. That’s what I call an epic fail.

#14. Little Blue Pill

The CIA usually does whatever it takes to make friends and influence people, but trading Viagra for Intel was taking it to a whole new level. The more traditional CIA bribes are usually money and guns, but some informants may benefit more from the performance drug.

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Turns out CIA operatives saw the opportunity and took it. When an Afghan chieftain was having some performance issues, the CIA offered him Viagra pills in exchange for intel. And it worked for both parties involved!

#13. Cold War

The Cold War was all about weapons. In an attempt to reduce morale among the Soviets, The U.S. planed to use weather balloons stuffed with propaganda, and among the “Made in the USA goods” they would include condoms.

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But the plot twist is that they wanted to pack extra-large condoms and label them “small” or “medium.” They thought the soviet men would be demoralized and maybe scared of Americans? The sinister plan never saw the light of day, though.

#12. Torture Methods

The CIA’s brutal interrogation techniques are no joke, but sometimes they do get creative  The Red Hot Chili Peppers would allegedly be blasted at excessively loud volume ad on a constant loop as torture against Guantanamo Bay detainees.

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A former interrogator explained that the funk-rock band played at excessive levels would drive people crazy because of the bass-heavy music. Who would’ve thought?

#11. Expressionism

During the Cold War, art was used as a means to assert the dominance of the American way of life. Since the Soviet Union standardized all means of expression, art was greatly restricted to just social realism.

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That’s why the CIA invested in abstract artists because expressionism was the polar opposite of social realism. And what could be more American than Jackson Pollock? Born on a sheep farm in Wyoming, he was the most cowboy artist they could think of!

#10. Area 51

The intense secrecy surrounding the base has made it subject to conspiracy theories for years. It doesn’t help that, even though the base has never been declared a secret base, all its research is Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information.

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It was after years of speculation that the CIA confirmed the existence of Area 51. But the claims that the area is just a testing site for top-secret aerial surveillance programs don’t fool anyone!


During the 1960s, the CIA conducted research on psychedelic drugs as part of a behavior modification program. The top-secret program was code-named MK-ULTRA and involved a series of ethically dubious psychological experiments.

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The worst part is that the LSD experiments were done on willing volunteers… initially. The program took a sinister turn and when they needed a way to test subjects without their knowledge they even turned to magician John Milholland. He taught CIA agents how to spike drinks using sleight of hand!

#8. Roosevelt

Franklin D. Roosevelt managed to keep his disability a secret from the public with the aid of the secret service. His paralytic illness began in 1921 when the future President was 39 years old.

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He avoided being seen with his wheelchair in public at first because he didn’t want people to see him different. His agents went as far as to destroy paparazzi cameras! Later, his disability became a major part of his image and he founded the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which lead to the development of polio vaccines.

#7. Animal Farm

The film version of Animal Farm, George Orwell’s novel, was released after the agency purchased the rights to the novel. But the truth about the CIA’s involvement was hidden at first, and only in 1974 did the truth come to light thanks to Everette Howard Hunt.

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The movie was made in Britain so that the animators could be kept in the dark about who was founding it. It should have been obvious since the film was more anti-communist, and all communist characters were pigs!

#6. Pressure Pads At The Oval Office

The Secret Service stands outside the Oval Office to maintain the President’s privacy. But agents can still track his movements due to pressure pads. These pads are located under the carpet.

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The White House grounds are also covered in sensors. There are also various gadgets that the President can turn over in order to activate alarms to warn the Secret Service to go in! That’s one carefully planned security system!

#5. Kryptos

Kryptos is a sculpture located on the grounds of the CIA in Langley, Virginia. The sculpture bears four encrypted messages. Both amateur and professional cryptanalysts continue to take interest in the sculpture.

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The reason behind the fascination is that of the four messages, only three have been solved. meaning that there’s still one message left! Will they ever crack it down?

#4. Operation Paperclip

In their attempt to take the lead in the Soviet-American Cold War, and the Space Race, the U.S. implemented “Operation Paperclip.” But don’t let that innocent name fool you! Many German scientists recruited for the project were former leaders of the Nazi Party.

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The CIA aimed to create its own brand of brainwashing techniques with the help of former Nazi Party members who were guilty of inhumane crimes during WWII. Now those do not sound like people I would like to ally with.

#3. Starbucks

Everyone needs their morning coffee, and the CIA agents are no exception. This Starbucks is known as “Store Number 1” and it’s the only one where they’ll never ask for your name. Finally, a Starbucks where the baristas will never misspell your name!

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The baristas at “Store Number 1” are actually trained to recognize every agent’s face (and they had to undergo serious background checks before this). All so that agents don’t have to reveal their secret identities.

#2. CIA Museum

The CIA Museum is a national archive for the collection, preservation, documentation, and exhibition of intelligence artifacts, culture, and history, containing more than 3,500 items. Do you want to visit there? Well, you can’t.

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The museum is located on the compound, so it’s not accessible to the public. Even though the items have been declassified, the museum can’t be visited. Why did they even create it then, one may wonder?

#1. Memorial Wall

All military branch headquarters feature a memorial wall to honor agents who died in the line of duty. The CIA’s memorial wall is at their headquarters in Langley, Virginia, with 129 stars carved into the white Alabama marble wall.

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The weird thing is that only 91 of the 129 stars are named. 38 of the agents kept their identities secret and took it to their graves. And there’s no way of finding it out!

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