“It Reads Like A Spy Novel”: 25 Declassified CIA Documents Revelations

Published 4 months ago

Inquisitive minds often find fascination in a wide array of subjects. Consequently, it’s becoming less surprising, though no less intriguing, to witness internet users delving into yet another random topic.

Consider the discussion initiated by ‘sceneybeanie,’ for instance. This user prompted members of the ‘Ask Reddit‘ community to share insights on the craziest declassified CIA documents. Interestingly, many Redditors had intriguing stories to contribute. Explore their responses in the list below and discover for yourself the captivating allure of such narratives.

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#1 One CIA operative, who drew up a plan to have packets of extra-large condoms, labelled “small” dropped on USSR. The idea was to lower their morale.

Image source: SuvenPan, Robert Sullivan/Flickr (not the actual photo)

#2 Operation Northwoods. The DoD proposed that CIA operatives plant bombs around the United States and commit terrorist acts and blame them on Cuba. This was approved all the way up to, but not including, the President.

Image source: no_okaymaybe, nsarchive2

#3 Psychological warfare in the Philippines in the 1950s comes to mind. The CIA conducted research to figure out which sort of myths and superstitions the Philippine people had. They discovered that they were afraid of vampires.

Image source: ElephantEarTag, moyerphotos/Flickr (not the actual photo)

At one point they disrupted a group by snatching a local man, and putting teeth marks on his neck. They then hung him upside down for his friends to find which terrified the village.

This was all part of an effort to elect Ramon Magsaysay as president who basically acted as a puppet for the US. The CIA wrote his speeches and directed his policy.

#4 The project mockingbird files that show the CIA is directly manipulating the press, and paying them handsomely to be CIA mouthpieces.

Image source: GyrokCarns, Jon S/Flickr (not the actual photo)

#5 Operation Paperclip still blows my mind.

Image source: WilliamShatnersTaint, NASA

#6 The pardon of the Japanese who ran Unit 731 in exchange for their findings.

Image source: Lookslikeseen, 松岡明芳

They performed countless experiments on live human POW’s. Cutting off limbs to test blood loss, injecting them with diseases and seeing how they progressed when left untreated, vivisection of these same individuals, and other really f*****g disgusting stuff that I don’t have the stomach to type out. You can Google the rest.

The US government felt it was more important to have that information in American hands than to let it go to the Russians, or be lost. You’d never be able to conduct those kind of experiments again, and for good reason, so they considered it the lesser of two evils.

#7 The ghost tapes with creepy noises that were played in Vietnam to try and scare the Vietcong was pretty crazy. Not the most crazy but worth a mention.

Image source: Select-Protection-75, Combined Arms Research Library

#8 My previous answer to another post: https://www.theblackvault.com/

Image source: OgcsIanp, Nikolaos Dimou/Pexels (not the actual photo)

Not sure if this has been mentioned or not – I’m not scrolling through a million replies.

The site is run by a guy named John Greenewald – u/blackvault – started putting in FOIA requests when he was 15 and never stopped. Currently has what is arguably the largest privately-owned collection of declassified information from the US government anywhere, and the entire archive is accessible for free.

Not a “direct” answer to your question, but anything you want to know about stuff the US government was up to can be found buried in there – and he’s taken the time to sort some of the more interesting stuff out to make browsing easier.


#9 The gay bomb is one I haven’t seen mentionned yet.

Image source: X3ll3n, Raphael Panhuber/Flickr (Not the actual photo)

#10 There is the testing of LSD and Agent Orange in Alberta and Ontario which has now been positively linked to parkinsons, mental illness etc. RCMP + CIA in the 60’-1980’s was wild.

Image source: Top-Marzipan5963, Evelyn Chong/Pexels (not the actual photo)

#11 During the 60’s the CIA noticed that artists tend to lean towards socialism and communism.

Image source: Vict0r117, Metropolitan Museum

They realized the best way to prevent this or discredit these political positions was to make them wealthy so they would be more invested in capitalism. To do this the CIA would anonymously buy modern art pieces no matter how nonsensical for very high prices. This made the otherwise highly niche and difficult to access modern art genre a chique fashionable *and highly profitable* genre and basically prevented prominent members of the art community from turning to socialism or communism by converting them to wealthy members of the upper class.

tl;dr the spolied noveau riche avante-garde airhead artist stereotype was literally created by the CIA dumping money into prominent figure’s pockets and allowing them to discredit their political activism by becoming self indulgent parodies of themselves.

#12 One of the craziest declassified CIA documents is ‘Operation Midnight Climax,’ where the CIA dosed unsuspecting individuals with LSD as part of mind control experiments. It reads like a spy novel, but unfortunately, it’s a disturbing chapter in history.

Image source: Neekol-USA, Fry1989

#13 CIA black sites. Sectet prisons where terrorist suspects where taken for interrigatin/prison sentences and god knows what. Some sites where in europe too Poland and Lithuania.

Image source: ToasterToastsToast, بو تائب

#14 When the space shuttle Challenger was destroyed, it was reported that all 7 astronauts were [unalived] instantly. It was revealed decades later that some, if not all of the astronauts survived the initial explosion, as the cockpit cabin had enough protection to not be breached. For 2 minutes and 45 seconds, they were awake and aware, as they plummeted toward the Atlantic Ocean. Understandably, NASA knew that the news of their terrifying death would have crippled the space program even more than it already was.

Image source: Performance_Fluffy, NBC News

#15 The “simple sabotage field menu” made by the office of strategic services, which was the CIA before they were given the name. A guide on how to do simple sabotage in the USSR. Funny enough their guide on how managers can sabotage work sounds a lot like how much companies work today… “

Image source: chknstrp, United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division

(1) Demand written orders.

(2) “misunderstand” orders. Ask endless questions or engage in long correspondence about such orders. Quibble over them when you can.

(3) Do everything possible to delay the delivery of orders. Even though parts of an order may be ready beforehand, don’t deliver it until it is completely ready.

(4) Don’t order new working’ materials until your current stocks have been virtually exhausted, so that the slightest delay in filling your order will mean a shutdown.

(5) Order high-quality materials which are hard to get. If you don’t get them argue about it. Warn that inferior materials will mean inferior work.

(6) In making work assignments, always sign out the unimportant jobs first. See that the important jobs are assigned to inefficient workers of poor machines.

(7) Insist on perfect work in relatively unimportant products; send back for refinishing those which have the least fiaw. Approve other defective parts whose fiaws are not visible to the naked eye.

(8) Make mistakes in routing so that parts and materials will be sent to the wrong place in the plant.

(9) When training new workers, give incomplete or misleading instructions.

(10) To lower morale and with it, production, be pleasant too inefficient workers; give undeserved promotions. Discriminate against efficient workers; complain unjustly about their work.

(11) Hold conferences when there is more critical work to be done

(12) ” [rest in pdf] It’s an interesting read, but if you want to read more on the ‘office side’ it starts on page 28 in the scanned booklet, or page 18 of the PDF

#16 The Acoustic Kitty is pretty crazy. They basically put a microphones and radio in a cat and tried to release into the Soviet Embassy to wander around eavesdropping since nobody suspects a wandering cat.

Image source: 92xSaabaru, Ana Sofia Guerreirinho/Flickr (not the actual photo)

#17 MKultra, basically McGill University in Montréal sent mental patients to the CIA from the Royal Victoria hospital.

Image source: kebekoy, Anna Shvets/Pexels (not the actual photo)

The CIA did all kind of nightmarish test on them.

This was done in Montréal and only came out decades later.

One of my friends mom said for years that the CIA did horrible things to her and everyone assumed she was just insane, turned out she was right and lived all her life with no one believing her.

Horrible stuff.

#18 You can download most of Osama bin Laden’s hard-drive off the CIA’s website. It’s got a fair few licensed movies, anime, games, that sort of thing. All free for anyone who wants to get it.

Image source: MaievSekashi, badjonni/Flickr

#19 The plan to make figurines that look like Osama Bin Laden and give them to kids in South Asia. After it’s left in the sun for a certain amount of time, it’s face would peel off to reveal a “demon-like visage with red skin, green eyes, and black markings,” basically a demon. The objective was to scare kids and their parents so Bin Laden and Al Qaeda would lose support.

Image source: Liberalism65, The Washington Post / Getty Images

#20 All the failed assassination attempts against Fidel Castro. According to Fabian Escalante, who worked for the Cuban counter intelligence, there were 638 of them. Here are some highlights:

Image source: TheBassMeister, Adonis91

* In 1960 they tried to poison his cigars.

* They asked the Chicago Mob for help and they said poison pills are the best. The Mobsters hired a local assassin, who gave them to a ice cream/milkshake parlor employee who was supposed to slip them into Castro’s ice cream. When he tried to get the poison pills from the freezer, they were frozen solid on the coils of the freezer.

* They planned to put explosives under a painted sea shell, as Castro loved to go scuba diving and collect sea shells. The plan was discarded as impractical

* In the same year they contaminated a scuba diving suit for Castro with a fungus that should give Castro a deadly disease. The person tasked with this, American Lawyer James Donovan, who was negotiating the release of hostages after the bay of pigs invasion, couldn’t do it in the end.

* They trained his lover to poison him, but she got cold feet.

* They had a James Bond like idea of poising him with a tiny needle attached to a ball point pen. The government official who was supposed to stab him with that needle, threw the pen away, as he was too afraid that the needle might accidentally poison him instead.

* Last but not least they had the idea to assassinate his character by spraying a LSD like chemical into the broadcasting studio where he held his speeches. The idea was to make him look confused and unfit to rule. The plan was abandoned as the chemical was unreliable.

#21 The Pentagon Papers (which were leaked, not outright declassified) and the resultant Church Committee Report. These are what made public the CIA’s actions in overthrowing governments and instigating/assisting coups all over the world for decades leading up to the 70s. Pretty much every negative stereotype of the CIA we have today was created or informed by the Pentagon Papers and Church Committee Report.

Image source: MontCoDubV, gravel2008/Youtube

#22 The papers describing astral projection. They brought a ‘psychic’ in and placed an envelope with coordinates and a timeframe on it. They asked him to describe what he saw. He described  dying planet where people had left to discover a new place they could populate. It was revealed that the envelope contained coordinates on Mars in the distant past. It gets much more in depth where he describes large structures, etc. It’s not very long and very much worth the read.

Image source: no_okaymaybe, RDNE Stock project/Pexels (not the actual photo)

#23 100% the [Gateway Experience.]

Image source: FblthpEDH, Markus Kniebes/Flickr (not the actual photo)

Like this s**t is f*****g *bonkers*.

Declassified doc from 1983 detailing the CIA’s usage of “harmonic resonance” to gain access to the astral plane. It describes how the CIA used astral projection to create force-fields around military bases, visit the future, and **even talk to literal God**. They call God the “Absolute,” which they claim is all of the universe compiled into a single point for a single moment in time, after which the universe re-expands. Seriously, *seriously*, read this s**t if you have a mind for the creepy/unexplained.

#24 It’s not American, but Operation Mincemeat on Netflix is pretty crazy, and based on a true story.

Image source: wesweb, Imperial War Museums

They faked war plans invading Greece, and floated a(n already dead) body from a submarine near a beach in Spain with the faked plans on the body, which they knew would get back to the Germans. It did. The Germans rearranged troops to prepare for an invasion of Greece, and the Allies walked in to Sicily.

#25 US military advisors saying that an armed conflict in Vietnam can’t be won due to the general sentiment and freedom movement they’d fight. That the vietnamese liberation movement would continue no matter what or who would actually end up leading it. Second being Nixon sabotaging and delaying peace talks in Vietnam so he could blame it as LBJ’s failure and win the election.

Image source: WerdinDruid, U.S. Navy

Shanilou Perera

Shanilou has always loved reading and learning about the world we live in. While she enjoys fictional books and stories just as much, since childhood she was especially fascinated by encyclopaedias and strangely enough, self-help books. As a kid, she spent most of her time consuming as much knowledge as she could get her hands on and could always be found at the library. Now, she still enjoys finding out about all the amazing things that surround us in our day-to-day lives and is blessed to be able to write about them to share with the whole world as a profession.

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