The CryptoMuseum, primary source for my last three animations, has scored a scoop. After pestering the government for many years, they finally got a FOIA release. Fast service! Only 70 years!
In 1945 KGB built a remarkably elegant ‘RFID’ responder microphone into a big wooden Great Seal sculpture. As part of the mutual admiration ceremonies between victorious allies, Russia presented this Seal to Ambassador Harriman. He installed it in his office in Moscow, and it started providing clear audio recordings of everything in his office.
Our spies figured it out and removed it in 1952, but we didn’t say anything about it. Finally in 1960 we mentioned it as a talking point in the negotiations to get U2 pilot Gary Powers back.
Front view: The mic is behind a small hole under the eagle’s beak.
View of the mic itself, which was carved into the middle of the wooden disk:
This is the whole thing. No batteries or tubes or transistors or capacitors or inductors. It was completely passive unless it was ‘tickled’ by an externally applied wave at its resonant frequency of 1700 mc. In the UHF range, metallurgy and machining determine the resonances. The structure is capacitor and inductor all in one.
When sound moves the mic diaphragm, the capacitive aspect changes, so the resonance changes. KGB had a transmitter in another office, sending out a low-power wave and picking up the frequency-modulated reflections.
Unwarranted cultural analogy: We had trouble figuring it out because we can’t imagine reflective defenses. We simply attack everything and kill everyone. No feedback, just kill kill kill. Russia is accustomed to absorbing and resonating our attack energy.
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As always, the FOIA delay is absurd. KGB knew how it worked because they made it. KGB knew when we removed it. We weren’t hiding anything from them. We were only hiding from our own people. As fucking always.
So this should encourage the “virus” data-gatherers who are trying to pry out FOIA info from CDC. If you keep at it, your great-great-grandchildren in 2092 will be able to see the data, with all the numbers redacted!