Wired concealed microphone
One of the most popular examples of a concealed microphone
is the wrist watch shown below.
It was used during the Cold War to covertly record a confidential
conversation in a room. The watch contains a wired microphone that can be
connected to a recording device
or a small transmitter.
The watch shown here was made by Protona
in Germany, who were also the manufacturers of the popular
Minifon wire recorders.
They were used heavily
at the height of the Cold War by law enforcement and
to collect evidence and to covertly record a conversation.
The actual microphone is so large that it takes up the entire interior
of the watch, which means that the device is a
as it can no longer be used as a watch. It has to be worn on the left
arm, so that the cable can be hidden effectively
in the sleeve of the operative's coat.
At the end of the cable is a jack plug or a multi-pin connector, depending
on the recorder model it was used with. In many cases they were modified for
use with other types of recorders and transmitters. Even after the demise of
Protona in 1967, the wrist watch microphone remained a popular concealment
for intelligence agencies and in particular the
Central Intelligence Agency.
In fact it was so popular with the CIA,
that in his book Ultimate Spy,
Keith Melton introduces the device as a CIA wristwatch microphone
[1 p.10]. Alexsandr Ogorodnik, codenamed Trigon, was a Russian diplomat
who had been spying for the CIA since 1974. In 1975 he was relocated
to Moscow where he had obtained a key position at the American Department
of the Soviet Foreign Ministry. His CIA case officer was Martha Peterson,
a young woman who worked at the embassy.
On 15 July 1977, just after making a drop for Ogorodnik, Peterson was
arrested by the KGB
and asked to be visited by a US embassy representative.
When the representative arrived, the KGB noticed that the man wore two
watches. The one on the left was a concealed microphone and he had forgotten
to take off his real watch. Protected by her diplomatic immunity, Peterson
was released but saw her diplomatic status revoked and was expelled from the USSR.
When being interrogated by the KGB,
Ogorodnik committed suicide by taking
his CIA-supplied L-Pill
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- H. Keith Melton, Ultimate Spy
1996-2015. ISBN 978-0-2411-8991-7.
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© Crypto Museum. Created: Tuesday 15 September 2015. Last changed: Tuesday, 13 June 2017 - 11:05 CET.