CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

Culture and Components

Directorate of Science and Technology

A - M

See also materials on broad postwar science and technology issues.

Materials relevant to the Foreign Broadcast Information Service, a component of the Directorate of Science and Technology from the 1970s to 2005, are contained in a separate "FBIS" file.

Bridis, Ted. "The CIA Dept. of Quirky Tricks: Agency Reveals Gadgets, but You Can't See Them." Washington Post, 31 Dec. 2003, A17. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"The CIA's Directorate of Science and Technology is celebrating its 40th anniversary by revealing a few dozen secrets for a new museum inside its headquarters in Langley." In addition to a transmitter disguised as tiger dung (designed for use in the jungles of Vietnam), "the exhibits include a robotic catfish, a remote-controlled dragonfly and a camera strapped to the chests of pigeons released over enemy targets in the 1970s."

Day, Dwayne A. "Sub-Scale and Classified: The Top Secret CIA Model of a Soviet Launch Pad." The Space Review, 24 Jan. 2011. [http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1763/1]

"According to declassified records, CIA model builders built at least three models depicting the large Soviet rocket launch facility" at Tyura-Tam (Baikonur) in Kazakhstan. "As of a few years ago, one of these models was on display in the CIA Headquarters museum.... But another of the models has also turned up in an odd place: a British military base museum." This article includes two photgraphs of the model. See also, Peter Finn, "At CIA, a Vocation of Imitation," Washington Post, 8 Sep. 1997, A01.

Doel, Ronald E., and Allan A. Needell. "Science, Scientists, and the CIA: Balancing International Ideals, National Needs, and Professional Opportunities." Intelligence and National Security 12, no. 1 (Jan. 1997): 59-81.

The authors judge the early post-World War II development of scientific intelligence in the CIA to have been "at best a mixed success." Nonetheless, there were successes, and the groundwork was laid for the later consolidation of scientific resources in the Directorate of Science and Technology.

Finn, Peter. "At CIA, a Vocation of Imitation." Washington Post, 8 Sep. 1997, A01.

"For most of his 36-year career at the Central Intelligence Agency, [Kenny] Lane made fine-scale models of foreign weapons systems, prisons, government buildings and sundry far-flung terrain.... Lane retired late last year. And his departure from the CIA coincided with the agency's decision to shut down its three-dimensional-modeling shop, a victim of government downsizing and the rise of sophisticated computer imaging." The CIA had started the modeling shop in 1964, "using artisans to build replicas from intelligence reports, especially overhead photography taken from satellites and U-2 reconnaissance planes. It was the only operation of its kind in the alphabet soup of intelligence agencies." See also, Dwayne A. Day, "Sub-Scale and Classified: The Top Secret CIA Model of a Soviet Launch Pad," The Space Review, 24 Jan. 2011.

Kroger, Charles A., Jr. "ELINT: A Scientific Intelligence System." Studies in Intelligence 2, no. 1 (Winter 1958): 71-83.

"This primer on ELINT (electronic intelligence) ... provides a brief history of the field as well as a good explanation of what it is and how it works. Includes a brief description of CIA's (and the DO's) role in ELINT."

Mendez, Antonio J. "A Classic Case of Deception." Studies in Intelligence (Winter 1999-2000): 1-16.

This is a marvelously detailed -- although still circumspect -- account from someone well situated to tell the story of the operation to exfiltrate six U.S. State Department personnel from Tehran in the wake of the Iranians' seizure of the U.S. Embassy. It offers between-the-lines insight into one aspect of the work of the CIA's Office of Technical Services.

Ample and respectful credit is given to the Canadians for their central role in, first, protecting the Americans and, later, in facilitating the exfiltration effort. Two aspects that clearly come through in Mendez' account is the enormous need for all types of general and specific information in planning such an operation and the many things, human and otherwise, that can go wrong even when activities are in the hands of professionals.

Mendez, Antonio J., with Malcolm McConnell. The Master of Disguise: My Secret Life in the CIA. New York: Morrow, 1999.

Clark comment: Mendez is the recipient of the CIA's Trailblazer Award, given in 1997 to 50 "CIA officers who by their actions, example, or initiative helped shape" the CIA's first 50 years. For Shryock, IJI&C 16.4, Mendez' memoir is "an interesting and instructive account." However, his "prose is now and again excessively novelistic and often overblown."

According to Powers, AFIO WIN 43-99 (30 Oct. 1999), the author provides a "candid behind-the-scenes account of his 25-year-career as the CIA's foremost inventor of disguises." Mendez "reveals the artistic craft and state-of-the-art techniques required to forge official documents, create propaganda, and manufacture convincing disguises complete with hair pieces, masks, make-up, and costumes." Along the way, he "offers a rare inside look at Agency politics, leadership, and other operations, including espionage tradecraft, surveillance, and cloaking techniques, as well as propaganda activities from 1965 to 1990."

Paseman, Intelligencer 11.1, finds Master of Disguise "an easy and enjoyable read," with "excellent" detail. It provides "a real feel for the difficult business of dealing with human sources." The reviewer does feel that Mendez "paints a very rosy picture of everything involving the Agency." Paseman, CIA Officer in Residence at Marquette University, notes that reading the book has given the students in his "American Intelligence History" course "a better understanding of the shadowy world of secret intelligence and the realities of espionage."

See also, Michael E. Ruane, "Seeing Is Deceiving: Artist Antonio Mendez Put a New Face on the CIA's Work," Washington Post, 15 Feb. 2000, C1; David Holbrooke and Judy Woodruff, "Former CIA Agent Unveils Secrets that Made Him 'Master of Disguise,'" CNN, 3 May 2000, at: http://www.cnn.com/2000/books/news/05/03/master.of.disguise/index.html; and Jim Steinmeyer, "The Master of Disguise...," Studies in Intelligence 46, no. 1 (2002): 67-70.

Mendez, Antonio and Jonna Mendez, with Bruce Henderson. Spy Dust: Two Masters of Disguise Reveal the Tools and Operations that Helped Win the Cold War. New York: Atria, 2002.

Peake, Studies 47.1 (2003), notes that the authors' "narrative intermixes comments on their sometimes-turbulent careers, how they came to marry, the CIA bureaucracy, and the many contributions of the Office of Technical Services to field operations. The names of those involved and the dates of the operations have been changed for security reasons.... For those who want a sense of what really takes place in the field when magicians from the Office of Technical Services are involved, Spy Dust is a rewarding experience."

Minnery, John. CIA Catalog of Clandestine Weapons, Tools, and Gadgets. Boulder, CO: Paladin, 1990.

Surveillant 1.3: "Escape and Evasion devices purportedly designed by CIA Technical Services Division."

 

Return to Culture & Components Table of Contents