No matter how many deranged, megalomaniacal psychopaths there are in our governing bodies, political shenanigans are usually less about flamethrower robots and more about balding men in suits lying about fiscal policy. But occasionally the government will put forth a plot so insane that even the most hardened Bond villain would ask them if everything is all right at home and tell them to tone it down a little.
5 The CIA's Legion of Spy Ravens
Ominous entities from Odin to Saruman know it: No matter how powerful you are or how sizable your operation is, you ain't got no game until you have your own posse of ravens to spy on your adversaries. So it's no surprise that during the late 1960s the CIA stumbled across some old Viking legends and thought, "Hey, that's what we've been missing all these years -- theatrics!"
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This was the same reason they pumped millions into improved banana phone technology.
The agency turned to Bob Bailey, a pioneering animal behaviorist who had already overseen a number of hilarious projects, such as the Acoustic Kitty (a cat with a listening device) and the World War II-era pigeon missile (an actual missile full of actual pigeons that guided it by pecking a map). At this point, it's probably good to remember that there was quite a lot of LSD floating around Langley at the time.
Bailey planned to train his birds to carry listening devices that they would deposit on window ledges and rooftops. He also designed a tiny camera that the raven would activate by pushing it against a window. Because the world is apparently a cartoon, Bailey's plan was a roaring success, and the CIA happily shelled out the cash to build spy-raven training facilities. The next steps: motorcycle-riding mice and martial arts-practicing turtles.
"If we can't train them, we can feed them to the ravens."
Sadly, the spy-raven program was terminated in the 1970s. However, Bailey strongly insinuates that the ravens were successfully used in the field a number of times. He even jokingly hints that there might be CIA-trained "rogue" raven agents out there today. And that goddamn well better be the plot of the next Bourne movie.