Secret CIA Operations Revealed

By: Lauren Wurth | Last updated: Oct 26, 2023

The Central Investigation Agency (CIA) is one of the most secretive agencies in the world. The agency has also been subject to controversies due to its confidential nature in handling state affairs.

They use several codes and spies who go on missions and collate information across different locations. We’ve curated some sinister operations carried out by the CIA. Let’s have a look!

Operation Jawbreaker

Little is known about the role the CIA played in handling the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Newly declassified information revealed that President George W. Bush gave an order to the CIA after the attack, enabling them to set up a base in Afghanistan 15 days after the attack in America.


Source: CIA/ Twitter

This aided the collection of intel, which was used in establishing a defense against further attacks.


Abbottabad Operation

Years after the war on Al-Qaeda, a US military operation finally captured and put an end to Osama Bin Laden, America’s most wanted terrorist and the mastermind behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States.


Source: Tìm hiểu vềchiến tranh Việt Nam (Viet Nam War)/ Facebook

President Obama ordered the operation on the 29th of April, 2011. The mission’s success highlights years of data collection and intelligence analysis by the CIA.

The Berlin Tunnel

The Berlin Tunnel was also known as Operation Gold. It was a means for the British Intelligence- MI-6 and the CIA to obtain intel from the Soviet Union by tapping cable lines.


Source: Wikimedia Commons

Although the Soviet Union was unaware of the location, they knew the tunnel existed, thanks to the mole they planted in the MI-6. The tunnel was discovered while trying to fix a pipe. Regardless, the operation has still been deemed successful in obtaining valuable intel.

CAT Airlines

In 1950, the CIA purchased products in Civil Air Transport (CAT), an airline that started in China after WWII. The CIA would then use the aircraft to travel around Asia and Europe while posing as civilians.


Source: China Xinhua News/ Twitter

This enabled them to obtain intelligence and transport members of the CIA worldwide without being detected while on the job.

A-12 Oxcart

The A-12 Oxcart is a successor to the U-2 spy plane. The jet was designed to be undetected when close to enemy lines, especially the Soviet defenses. The contract for building the A-12 Oxcart was given to Lockheed, the builders of the U-2 spy plane.

Source: David Cenciotti/ Pinterest

The A-12 made its first test run in a secret air base on the Nevada Dessert, known as Area 51. After acing series of tests by the CIA and Lockheed professionals, the A-12 was declared fit for operations.


The MK Ultra

The MK Ultra project, which started in 1953, was the government’s research into using mind-altering drugs on soldiers and citizens. The government used taxpayers’ money to carry out the study, with Sydney Gottlieb taking the lead.

Source: Luke Losey/ Pinterest

Gottlieb studied the effect of LSDs on unsuspecting citizens, and many were given the drug without obtaining their consent. Some subjects were given LSD daily for over 100 days.


The Manhattan Project

The manhattan project was a study carried out during the world war that eventually led to the manufacturing of nuclear weapons.

Source: The Architect/ Twitter

This research was carried out by Robert Oppenheimer in 1939 and kept a secret from the public due to the sensitivity of the project and its devastating consequences. The project’s success can be seen in the ruin of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


The Corona

The first imaging reconnaissance satellite, codenamed CORONA, was developed by efforts of the CIA and the US Airforce in 1957. The CORONA is also known as the US Airforce Discoverer Program.

Source: Drew Angerer/ Getty Images

It was used as a means to capture images in Asia and Eastern Europe at the height of the cold war. During this period, the device collected over 700,000 images in response to national security.


Project Mockingbird

This project was a wiretap operation carried out under the order of President John F Kennedy to identify leaks within the government by listening to the communication of journalists.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The target was New York Times reporter Hanson Baldwin, who had compared the American bombs to bombs made by the USSR in one of his articles. The article put Baldwin on the President’s bad side for putting out classified information.


Acoustic Kitty

The term “acoustic kitty” was a CIA project launched during the Cold War in 1967. The project was meant to gain intel by using unsuspecting means.

Source: متع عقلك حقائق/ Facebook

The CIA used cats to gain intel by surgically inserting a microphone into the ear of the cat and then allowing them to roam freely into opposition territory. The project did not last, as the four-legged agents seemed to have other plans in mind.


The Kidnapping Of Luna 3

By the 1960s, many first-world countries were well in the race to be the first on the moon, with the Soviet Union in the lead. The Soviet Union successfully launched its rocket, LUNA 3, which captured images of the dark side of the moon.

Source: All About Space Magazine/ Getty Images

It became the first spacecraft to achieve this feat, but once it came back to earth, LUNA 3 was hijacked by the CIA, who disassembled it, took pictures, and reassembled it before morning. The Soviet Union never found out.


Operation Mongoose

The CIA designed and orchestrated this operation to depose Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro from office. The operation accounts for the many failed assassination attempts on Castro’s life between 1961 and 1963.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Some of the assassination attempts include using hitmen, poison, LSD, and more. As the Cuban missile crisis heated up, President Kennedy ordered a stop to the operation.


Grounds For Nuclear Tests

When you think of places where nuclear weapons are tested, you often think of deserted lands as far as the eye can see, but this place was once home to some people.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

After the incidents at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, further nuclear weapons testing was set to be carried out on Marshall Island. This led to the forceful removal of inhabitants at the Pacific island who once called the place home.


Operation Paperclip

After World War II, the Soviet Union and the United States quickly went from allies to enemies. During this time, the US aimed to find German weapons and understand them.

Source: Fish Tanks Suck/ Twitter

They quickly realized finding this weapon was not nearly enough, so they devised a means to bring in members of the Soviet Union who were not on trial and offered them jobs in America. They even went on to work with NASA in building great space inventions.