CIA Spy Techniques: The Shoelace Code and Other Secret Spy Techniques

CIA Spy Techniques: The Shoelace Code and Other Secret Spy Techniques

Imagine you are a spy deep undercover and
you have to relay a message to another spy without saying a word. Short of telepathy, how could you possibly
convey a secret message without anyone realizing it? Well, how about your shoe laces? Hello, and welcome to The Infographics Show. Today we’re looking at the Shoelace Code and
other secret techniques used by the CIA. During the height of the Cold War the world
hung on the brink of nuclear annihilation as the Soviet Union and its Soviet Bloc allies
prepared for war against the United States and NATO. Each side knew that in the case of war, every
single advantage possible would have to be exploited to try and avert all-out destruction,
and so the golden age of spying began. For spies deep undercover though it was vital
to be able to communicate with their handlers or other spies without being detected, as
a good spy assumes he is- and probably was- under surveillance 24/7. As is so often the case in the world of spying,
one of the most effective techniques for clandestine communication turned out to be one of the
most effective. Agents were taught to ‘read’ hidden messages
written with, of all things, a person’s shoe laces. While no official lexicon was ever created
so that if one spy was caught the entire system couldn’t be deciphered, instead agents were
taught different ways to tie their shoes or arrange the laces through the shoe’s eyelets
so they could communicate pre-arranged messages. Thus spies would come up with their own meanings
for different shoelace combinations, leaving the message completely secret except to the
two communicating spies. Some examples of possible messages included,
“I brought someone with me”, “I am being followed”, or “I have information.”. Though the CIA remains secretive about specific
operations, it is known that the Shoelace Code was in wide use across its operations
around the world throughout the entirety of the Cold War, with the Soviets never the wiser. Government bureaucracy is notoriously slow
and always seems out of pace with the modern world- yet the CIA proves time and again that
it is always on the forefront of new technologies and trends. In 2017 Wikileaks published a trove of secret
CIA documents given to them by a leaker. Amidst the leaked documents there appeared
a new form of secret CIA code- emojis. Using their popularity around the world, the
CIA has apparently adopted a complex system of emojis to create entire covert sentences,
the meaning of which is only apparent to somebody who understands the secret code. As an adapted form of a Vigenère cipher,
a secret code developed over 500 years ago, each emoji represents a specific word or letter,
but the meaning of an individual emoji can be changed depending on what other emojis
appear in front or behind it. So for example, a smiley face may mean ‘you’,
but a smiley face in front of an angry face may change the meaning to ‘me’. Thus entire messages can be written and even
if the enemy discovers part of the cipher, they still won’t accurately decrypt the message
without understanding how each individual emoji changes the meaning of those next to
it. We’ve all seen James Bond films, so what about
when the time for words is done and it’s time instead for action. To that end, CIA agents have had a plethora
of tools at their disposal to incapacitate or kill. In the 1970s US President Gerald Ford signed
into law an executive order that banned political assassinations by the CIA or other clandestine
agencies. Up until then though, any politically dangerous
individuals were fair game. Yet as the Cold War began, the US realized
it was far behind in sophisticated covert killing techniques versus their Soviet adversaries. As Nikita Khrushchev came to power after Stalin’s
death in the 1950s, one of his first orders was the assassination of Ukrainian nationalist
Georgi Okolovich, leader within a Russian anti-communist group. After a conversation with his wife though,
Okolovich’s would-be assassin, KGB officer Nikolai Khokhlov, defected to the US, where
he revealed the tool that was to be used in the murder- an electrically operated gun and
silencer hidden inside a cigarette pack and loaded with cyanide-tipped bullets. Yet while Okolovich was spared, other Ukranian
leaders were successfully assassinated by another KGB officer, Bogdan Stashinsky, who
after defecting to the US in 1961, revealed that he had killed both men with a cyanide
gas gun concealed in a rolled-up newspaper. The CIA recovered the weapon which Stashinsky
had ditched in a river canal after his last kill and began to accelerate the development
of its own covert weapons. The US would go on to develop the Non Discernible
Bio-inoculator, a modified .45 caliber pistol fitted with a telescopic sight that fired
a toxin-tipped dart silently and accurately up to 250 feet. While the weapon was not as easily hidden
as its Soviet counterparts, the dart that delivered the deadly poison was just barely
wider than a human hair and almost completely undetectable during an autopsy. For more close-range and stealthier kills
though, the CIA developed the STINGER, a small, .22 caliber single-shot weapon hidden inside
a tube of toothpaste. But what about when an assassination needs
to be carried out in such a way that the assassin has time to get away? For that the CIA proved incredibly ingenious,
developing slow-acting but deadly poisons made from shellfish toxins, cobra venom, Botulinum
bacteria and crocodile bile, all of which would be sprayed onto things as innocent as
a hankerchief. While it’s impossible to know how many times
these were used in the field, it is known that in 1960 one such attempt was made against
Congolese President Patrice Lumumba, with a tue of poison-laced toothpaste prepared
to be inserted into the President’s toiletry kit. The plan was rejected at the last minute by
a CIA office chief for unknown reasons. Fidel Castro proved to be a popular target
for CIA ploys. The leader of Communist Cuba was considered
a major threat after he began to cozy up to the Soviets and declared intentions for Soviet
military weapons and even missiles to be based on Cuban soil. The possibility of a sizable Soviet military
force less than a hundred miles from American soil was completely unacceptable to the US,
and thus the green light was given for Castro’s removal from power either by assassination
or by discrediting him in the eyes of the Cuban people. This chapter of CIA history would be known
as Operation Mongoose. At first the CIA attempted outright assassination,
and to that end proved to be quite ingenious even if their efforts failed for a variety
of reasons. In one attempt a Cuban double agent was to
offer Castro a cigar treated with Butolinum, a toxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium
botulinum, but the plan failed when the double agent failed to get the cigar to Castro. Knowing that Castro dearly loved his cigars,
the CIA did not give up in their efforts and developed an exploding cigar which would,
in their own words, “blow his head off”. A box was developed and prepared for delivery
during a visit by Castro to the United Nations, but fearing the political fallout of an assassination
during a UN visit, the plan was ultimately scrapped. Not easily discouraged though, the CIA started
thinking way, way outside the box and came up with a plan to plant explosive sea shells
at one of Castro’s favorite beaches. Ultimately that plan was canceled too when
it proved ineffective during CIA trial testing. After President Ford’s ban on assassinations,
the CIA changed its strategy to one of instead discrediting the leader. Knowing of Castro’s pride in his ‘macho’ image,
the CIA developed a cigar coated with a depilatory agent that would make Castro’s beard fall
off. After that plan was scrapped, Cuban security
officials eventually created the private cibar brand Cohiba, exclusively for Castro and to
safeguard his supply of cigars from tampering. Yet the CIA would not be discouraged, and
proceeded with attempts to discredit Castro by more attempts at harming his macho image
via hair loss. Known for leaving his boots outside his hotel
room door at night to be shined, the CIA developed a powder to be dusted inside the boots which
would cause Castro’s hair to fall out. Ultimately the plan failed when he canceled
his targeted trip. On yet another attempt to discredit Castro,
CIA agents prepared a device to spray LSD remotely inside one of Castro’s broadcast
studios from which he gave his weekly addresses. That plan too was ultimately scrapped for
unknown reasons. From secret messages written with shoelaces,
to exploding sea shells, and cigars that make your hair fall off, the CIA proves it has
no shortage of imagination. It’s impossible to know what new and incredible
plots and tools modern CIA agents are equipped with, but one thing is for sure: if it sounds
too crazy to work, it’s almost certainly been tried or tested by either the CIA or their
Russian rivals, because in the great spy game if you come second, you’re probably dead. Do you know any other great tricks that CIA
uses or used? Let us know in the comments! Also, be sure to check out our other video
called FBI vs CIA. Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t
forget to like, share, and subscribe. See you next time!

100 thoughts on “CIA Spy Techniques: The Shoelace Code and Other Secret Spy Techniques

  1. 1:06 โ€œone of the most effective techniques for blah blah blah communication turned out to be the most effectiveโ€ good job man ๐Ÿ‘

  2. Messages can be sent in ways that appear to be something else, like a love song from the past. Yes, a message from the past for you to reveal in the future today. There are many messages for you that you have never decoded. These messages are of the supernatural. You find all of your questions and answers in music.

  3. @1:02 "As is so often the case in the world of spying, one of the most effective techniques for clandestine communication turned out to be one of the most effective" You don't say?

  4. How can we defeat Fidel Castro?
    Make his hair fall off
    Yeah,balding Castro surely will destoy him
    … I need to speak to our manager

  5. Yeah… suuuuure
    I must be a spy then since I tie my shoelaces different for each foot and every shoe differently

  6. The CIA would like to thank yโ€™all for watching and sharing their โ€˜secretโ€™ code ๐Ÿ˜.

  7. This explains why your shoelaces are removed in jail, limit communication to only their pay phones which are always recording.

  8. What a great influence my people made to their country. The Navajo code talkers. Bet none of you know this. Lol. It's ok you're not all the dump. Lol.

  9. I was forced to take an rfid implant at 316 east chestnut st Louisville ky in July of 2012 at the ccc jail. I've been a test subject for the last 3 years. I have an x ray showing the chip in Louisville. I moved out of ky to avoid being set up. If your from Louisville you know what I'm talking about….fake cia training center. I know the name of the tech that updated the system in the basement(braingate system) help me put a stop to this inhumane testing and torture. I have the chip, I have an x ray. I eyewitnesseed the braingate system being used. My family and friends as well as councilors believe me and know when it started as well

  10. I hope no one believes the U.S government is going around sending emojis to talk to each other. This is ridiculous.

  11. ๐Ÿ๐Ÿšฉ๐ŸŽŒ๐Ÿด๐Ÿณ๏ธ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ด๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ถ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ผ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

    ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ช ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡จ

  12. Now days you can send encrypted messages from one phone to another over Bluetooth or direct wifi without any cell tower interception.

  13. What does it mean when both shoes are tied together?
    hahaha ahahaha hahaha ahahaha hahaha ahahaha hahaha ahahaha hahaha

  14. What is the Mexican equivalent of the CIA, the MIA?
    hahaha ahahaha hahaha ahahaha hahaha ahahaha hahaha ahahaha hahaha…

  15. The CIA has been hacked loads of times as has NASA and all mi services theyโ€™re extremely dangerous to get on the wrong side of the average person but for some people theyโ€™re nothing but children playing they just know what theyโ€™re doing and thatโ€™s it

  16. ู…ู† ุงุฌู„ ุนูŠู†ูŠูƒ ุนุดู‚ุช ุงู„ู‡ูˆู‰ ุจุนุฏ ุฒู…ุงู† ูƒู†ุช ููŠู‡ ุงู„ุฎู„ูŠ says:

    ู‡ู‡ู‡ู‡ู‡ู‡ู‡ู‡ู‡ู‡ {!}

  17. Well, this sure wasn't exactly the best promo video for the CIA… lol.. I hope they have the irony to have a historical laugh at their dismay of Castro.

  18. Shoelaces could of been so helpful during test time in high school. ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿพโ€โ™‚๏ธ

  19. What I saw in Russia would blow your mind. Especially when they showed me videos of FDS or FSD agents in balaclavas at an undisclosed location with the FBI breaking into a factory full of brand new cars. Cars that hadn't even been released yet. Cars that were worth well over $100,000 Aus. They only used a tennis ball. The FBI dudes nearly fell over! They could not believe it.
    Best part is, the Russians own a business model that gets them access to all over Europe. I even saw a few of their products here in Australia.
    The fact I had a private tour of the LADA factory should be enough evidence that I'm legitimate.

  20. before i watch this video if this a Spy or CIA or what ever secret??? Why are they letting us know???๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”Hmmmmmm strange…

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