Never mind that espionage is a dangerous line of work. The secret agent game promises plenty of intrigue and lots of fun spy gadgets.
If I knew exactly what today’s tools of the trade are, someone would probably have to kill me. Politics and enemies change but spies’ needs are essentially timeless: Disguises and false papers maintains a cover, tracking and listening devices record movements and conversations, and small, secret cameras copy documents and photograph dubious characters.
A hidden weapon can get a spy out of a jam. A concealed cyanide pill — so the intensely devoted might say — beats interrogation.
We love our spy stories. It is why the James Bond film franchise endures, James Patterson sells books and there are spy museums from Prague to Washington, D.C. (where there are two). Here’s a less-than-clandestine peek into the shadowy spy gadgets that filled the world of espionage over the years.
We have to presume real-life spies first reported to an inventor-type agent, much like 007 had Q, to pick up the necessary accessories for their assignments.
During the Cold War, both sides smoked, or at least hid devices in cigarette packs. At least one KGB agent carried a pack where two of the cigarettes shot cyanide-tipped bullets. On our side, a pack of Piedmonts concealed a camera.
If the KGB agent happened to be a woman, she was assigned a single-shot gun in a lipstick tube.
Take a sneaky peek at the gallery below to see some of the finest spy gadgets ever employed.