The perfect spy

Skullduggery on display

Foreign Affairs  

Soviet secret agents

FP-Liberator Pistol, 1942-1950

The single-shot pistol with a range of 8 metres was designed for use by Resistance movements. It cost two dollars to produce.

Camera-Lite lighter, 1955-

The camera is hidden in a fully working cigarette lighter.

Special soles, ca 1942

The daggers were specially made and were adapted to the shape of the foot.

Sheet music with coded information, German counter-espionage, 1940-1945

Close combat manual, Office of Strategic Services OSS, 1942-1945

"Dog Doo" and "Monkey Doo" sensors, Vietnam war 1970-1972

Sensors camouflaged as dog poo registered vibrations and reported movements on the Ho Chi Minh trail. But the US Air Force discovered that there were no dogs in the jungle. They then hid the sensors in monkey droppings (r).

Nagra Kudelski miniature tape recorder

The device the size of a cigaratte packet was made for the FBI and used by all intelligence services in the west and east from 1984 onwards.

Univex A-8 8 mm film camera

Used for surveillance by the FBI in the 1940s.

Furby, a threat to the National Security Agency NSA, 1998

The computer chip integrated into the toy can record and repeat up to 200 words. For fear that staff might carry secret information out of the building, Furby was banned from NSA offices.

Operation Cornflakes - forged stamps, 1943-1945

The Office of Strategic Services, OSS, had the stamps printed in Lausanne with the help of the Swiss intelligence service. They bore the wording "Futsches Reich" (for Deutsches Reich: futsch = gone down the drain), with Hitler's head resembling a skull. Sackfuls of forged but correctly addressed letters were dropped by planes close to bombed postal trains, in the hope that the German post office would collect them and deliver them.

Minox Riga, 1940-1941

The camera was produced in Latvia during the Soviet occupation and was used by the NKVD intelligence service, the forerunner of the KGB.

Cyanide capsule in brass cartridge case, 1940-1945

German officers used the capsule to commit suicide if they were captured. This is how Hermann Göring escaped execution in 1946.

M-11 Ingram machine pistol, 1967-1990

The simple and reliable weapon was used by several intelligence services in the 1970s. This particular one belonged to the Israeli Mossad and is fitted with a makeshift silencer.

Badges, medals, insignia




Sensors camouflaged as dog droppings, cameras hidden in cigarette lighters, mini-pistols… Secret services all over the world certainly show no lack of imagination when it comes to designing aids for their spies.

If you think the ingenious devices that Q comes up with in the James Bond films bear no relation to reality, think again! An exhibition on show in the castle of Morges in canton Vaud features about 500 items used by secret agents from the 1940s onwards. Most of the items come from the collection of Jacques Baud, a former member of the Swiss intelligence service. The exhibition runs until November 30, 2013.
(Pictures: Christoph Balsiger,

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