Intelligence: Bugged Coins


January12, 2007: An espionage operation based in Canada was caught planting location monitors on American defense contractors who were visiting Canada. The electronics were hidden in Canadian coins, which the contractors had passed on to them innocently during some commercial transaction. The bugged coin is a relatively recent tool, made possible by improvements in miniaturizing electronic components, and the growing use of wireless devices. Each such coin has a unique ID. Similar electronics can be placed in just about anything, and often is, when you want to track someone without being detected. But you can detect these transmitters with the right equipment, and that's how the coins were probably discovered. It's no yet known, or acknowledged, who produced, or planted, the bugged coins, or for exactly what reason.

Canadian and U.S. intelligence officials say all this is overblown, but cannot comment further because the details are classified. The Canadians also pointed out that it's illegal to tamper with Canadian coins.


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