Sunday 26 October 2014

CIA takes a page out of Bond's book for secret spy gadgets

Harriet Alexander

Published 18/07/2013 | 05:00

From the poison-tipped flick-knife shoes to the ski pole gun and perfume flame-thrower, the gadgets used by James Bond were a vital part of the fictional spy's kit.

But now it seems they were also used by real spies. Dr Christopher Moran, assistant professor in US national security at Warwick University, has unearthed a trove of documents showing that the CIA copied some of Bond's most celebrated devices.

The flick-knife shoes worn by Rosa Klebb in 'From Russia with Love' were copied, as was the homing device planted on Goldfinger's car.

"There was a surprising two-way influence between the CIA and the James Bond novels during the Cold War, stemming from the mutual admiration between CIA director Allen Dulles and Bond author Ian Fleming," said Dr Moran.

BRILLIANT

"This ranged from the copying of devices to the agency using the 007 novels to improve its public profile."

In an edition of 'Life' magazine in 1964, Mr Dulles described his meeting with the "brilliant and witty" Fleming in London in 1959, where the author told him the CIA was not doing enough in the area of "special devices".

On his return to the US, Mr Dulles urged CIA technical staff to replicate as many of Bond's devices as they could. The flick-knife shoes were produced, but the homing device could not be made to work because cities confused the signal.

Dr Moran analysed declassified letters from the 1950s and 1960s. They show the friendship, with Mr Dulles persuading Fleming to portray the CIA in a positive light.

"For a long time the James Bond books had a monopoly on the CIA's public image, and the agency used it to its advantage," said Dr Moran. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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