Pastor Blanton heard the same concise signal though his own earpiece. The tiny radio receptors were commercial descendants of a line of clandestine technology originally developed by the Central Intelligence Agency for its secret operations officers working the streets of Moscow under the stringent surveillance of the KGB. CIA officers trying to shake off their KGB watchers could listen through their earphones to the radio chatter of their opponents as they played cat and mouse. It was an auditory advantage that enabled many American mice to mysteriously elude baffled Russian cats. If a Russian follower muttered “we’re turning right here,” the American turned left.
The earpieces were so cleverly designed that they were invisible even to a person standing right next to the wearer, if the observer did not know exactly where and what to look for. When the KGB caught one female American officer meeting with a Russian spy, its thugs arrested, carefully searched, and exhaustively interrogated the American. They found two parts of the three-piece counterspy communication kit hidden in her bra—an aerial and a tiny receiver that captured the circling Russians’ shop talk and transmitted it to the earpiece. But they never found the earpiece itself, even though the American officer continued to wear it throughout the long ordeal of her minute search and harsh interrogation. It was hidden in a small section of fake ear, a molding that was meticulously crafted to the agent’s ear and pasted into exactly the right spot before she went out on her mission.
“In ten…nine…eight…seven,” the countdown in the earpieces was whispered by Deshawn Caudill, First Apostle of Gospel Technology—also known as the production director for Fortress of the Holy Word Ministries—speaking from his special domain, a control room sealed off three floors deep within the basement of the Home Citadel structure. Six assistant producers were seated near Caudill, each intently watching his or her appointed panel of dials, buttons, HD television screens, and internet web displays.
From Cronatos Hybamper –An Extraordinary Incident by Tom Diaz
The story of the counter-surveillance spyware described in this passage from Cronatos Hybamper is based on a real incident. The bit about its use in your local mega-church is…well…fiction. On the other hand, if you happen to be wearing one of the new advanced and nearly invisible hearing aids, you can thank the CIA’s spytechs for leading the way.
The American officer was a woman named Martha (or “Marti”) Peterson. She was the first woman CIA case officer to serve in Moscow station. The incident summarized in the novel—or something very much like it—happened in Moscow in 1975. It is described with varying degrees of detail in several nonfiction books. Here is an excerpt from one of the more authoritative, because it has the CIA’s nihil obstat:
…the KGB found, Velcroed to her bra, an OTS-developed [Office of Technical Services] frequency scanner used to intercept surveillance radio transmissions. Peterson’s “necklace” was the scanner’s induction coil antenna…Throughout the ordeal, the small receiver Peterson wore remained undetected. (p. 103)
Although the earpiece was small, it was not small enough to be worn on the street without the possibility of attracting attention. “The earpiece had an obvious problem,” said one OTS staffer who was involved with the design. “You couldn’t be seen wearing a piece of plastic in your ear without drawing attention.” So OTS disguise specialists produced a “Hollywood solution.” After taking a casting of a case officer’s ear, they fashioned a false, silicone ear that fit over the Phonak receiver. Realistic down to the last detail, the covering was sculpted and tinted to duplicate the shadow of the ear canal. Each case officer received four earpieces, two for the right ear and two for the left ear. Officers could insert the receiver into the ear canal and place the ear mold in front to cover the device. (p. 108)
Robert Wallace and H. Keith Melton, Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA’s Spytechs from Communism to Al Qaeda (New York: Plume, 2009).
Of course, the technology is much more advanced forty years later. Now, you just get one surgical implant that can be updated to cover all the new technologies.
Ha-ha. Just kidding.