What did the government not want you to know?


The government is intended to serve and defend the people, but it occasionally engages in questionable, unethical, or unlawful behavior. Some of these details are kept private in order to avoid shame, criticism, or accountability. Some of these secrets, however, are eventually revealed, either through whistleblowers, journalists, or declassified records. Here are a few things the government didn't want you to know, but we discovered them regardless.


1. The CIA experimented on unsuspecting people with mind control. In the 1950s and 1960s, the CIA began Project MK-ULTRA, a secret operation that sought to investigate the use of drugs, hypnosis, and other ways to alter and control people's minds. The CIA sought to produce brainwashed spies capable of carrying out assassinations or espionage while remaining undetected. The research involved testing numerous narcotics on unwitting volunteers, inmates, mental patients, and even CIA employees, including LSD, heroin, and barbiturates. Some of the experiments left the patients with significant psychological trauma, physical injury, or death1.


2. The US administration planned to assassinate Castro with an exploding seashell. For decades, Fidel Castro was a thorn in the side of the US government, leading a communist revolution in Cuba and allying with the Soviet Union. The CIA attempted to assassinate him multiple times, using various means such as poisoned cigars, infected syringes, and exploding pens. One of the strangest plans entailed placing a booby-trapped seashell at one of Castro's favorite diving places. The plan was to entice Castro into picking up the shell, which would subsequently explode and kill him. The proposal was never carried out, but the CIA did purchase two books on Caribbean mollusks for research purposes1.


3. The US government once attempted to train espionage cats. Cats are adorable and cuddly, but they make poor spies. Even so, the CIA spent millions of dollars in the 1960s to investigate if they could transform domesticated cats into espionage agents. Acoustic Kitty was the name of the experiment, which involved surgically implanting microphones and transmitters into the ears and tails of cats. The plan was to utilize the cats as mobile listening devices, infiltrating enemy buildings and listening in on conversations. The effort, however, was a disaster since the cats proved to be too autonomous and unpredictable to obey orders1.


4. The United States government stole bodies for nuclear testing. The United States government conducted hundreds of nuclear tests in the 1950s and 1960s to explore the effects of radiation on human health and the environment. They did, however, require human tissue samples to assess the amounts of radioactive isotopes in various organs. They obtained these samples by discreetly collecting bodies from hospitals and morgues all across the world without the approval or knowledge of their families. Project Sunshine involved thousands of bodies, the most of which were newborns and children1.


5. The United States government maintains a secret underground rail system for presidents. President Franklin D. Roosevelt did not want the public to see him in a wheelchair because he had polio and was concerned that it would harm his image and authority. During his journeys to New York City, he used a special train that did not stop at Grand Central Station, but rather at a clandestine station called Track 61, which was never listed on any map. The station was linked to a private elevator that took him directly to his Waldorf Astoria hotel suite. The station is still there today, but it is deserted and off-limits1.


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