Fifteen Eighty Four

Academic perspectives from Cambridge University Press


Spy-Tech Mondays

Kristie Macrakis

Good morning, everyone. Feeling tired? On your third cup of coffee? I am. What better pick-me-up than one of the Stasi’s most ludicrous investigative methods, and one of their more amusing gadgets? Yes, it’s time to join Kristie Macrakis for another Spy-Tech Monday.



This week: Taboo — Hide the Children!

bra-camera.jpg …and you wondered why the book is called Seduced by Secrets. They say that necessity is the mother of invention. This bra hides an F 21 Soviet observation camera. Spies could wear this under a light summer dress without it being noticed.

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Who let the dogs out?These yellow dust cloths stuffed in jam jars became synonymous with Stasi perversity. They had shelves and shelves of these things, and collected them by discreetly dusting personal objects of suspects. It seems downright disturbing that they’d keep such things, but it had a weird purpose. Called “Smell Science,” the items were said to contain the unique body odor of the person in question, and were used to track people with dogs. Fortunately for the rest of us, they didn’t work too well.

About The Author

Kristie Macrakis

Kristie Macrakis is the author of Seduced by Secrets: Inside the Stasi's Spy-Tech World (2008). She is Professor of the History of Science at Georgia Tech. She spent 2007–08 at H...

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