Ex-Spy: UN General Assembly Is 'Super Bowl of Espionage'


In the 1950s the CIA trained Russians speakers in lip reading in order to try and steal secrets straight from the mouths of whispering Soviet officials at U.N. meetings. A confidential memo in the CIA's archives from June 1952 briefly describes "Project 52-34, Lip Readers." 

"Two outstanding Russian language students have been nominated for consideration as potential lip readers," the memo says (PDF). "The Chief, Language Services Division believes it feasible to teach lip reading to non-deaf personnel by sticking cotton in their ears and that they will be able to lip read in a foreign language."