Virginia, Sep 14 : US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) planned to use homing pigeons to spy on the Soviet Union during the Cold War, according to the agency's recently declassified documents.
The documents describe various training programs, involving not only pigeons, but also ravens, eagles, falcons, hawks, and dolphins. "It is often well known that homing pigeons will fly many hundreds of miles, often under adverse weather conditions, to return to their home lofts. Recent research by ORD [the Office of Research and Development] has demonstrated the homing pigeon's ability to carry a sophisticated 16mm camera capable of taking high-resolution oblique photography," the outline of one such program said.
Among other things, the pigeons were supposed to undergo tests in Alaska to make sure that they would be capable of performing their tasks in "extreme northern latitudes (i e, the Soviet Union)."
The program, just as all others of its kind, was not implemented due to unspecified "technical and other reasons." During the Cold War the intelligence services of both the Soviet Union and the United States were experimenting with various novel methods of intelligence gathering, aimed at providing each side an edge over the opponent.(UNI)