25 Most Disturbing Government Secrets Ever Revealed

Posted by , Updated on May 23, 2024

Ideally, governments should be transparent and open about their activities. However, for reasons involving national security, sometimes governments need to classify information to protect it from enemies abroad. Over time, when the threat becomes no longer relevant, governments might declassify information, potentially revealing some disturbing things. Are you curious about what your government has been up to? Here are 25 most disturbing government secrets ever revealed.



World War II Cat Bombs

cat bombsSource: http://io9.gizmodo.com/oh-my-god-there-were-cat-bombs-during-world-war-ii-1480930509

In World War II, the US military needed an effective way to bomb German boats. So, they thought, cats don’t like water and are fairly agile when landing on their feet, why not strap a bomb to them? They figured if the cats landed in the water, they’d immediately try to swim toward the nearest boat. But when they tested it out, the cats ended up passing out and sinking into the water.


Acoustic Kitty

spy catSource: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/06/acoustic-kitty-technological-history-of-american-espionage/396728/

Staying on the topic of cats, in the Cold War, the CIA came up with the idea of using cats as spies. Spending $10 million, they put microphones and a radio transmitter inside a cat in hopes they’d get passed security and spy on the Soviets. However, on their first try, their spy cat crossed the street and got ran over by a taxi. The project was shut down soon after.


SL-1 Reactor Explosion

ALPRSource: http://www.radiationworks.com/sl1reactor.htm

On January 3rd, 1961, the world’s first fatal atomic accident occurred at a power plant. Three men were killed in the incident. One man was blown up to the ceiling, impaled on a control rod. His body remained there for days before he was finally taken down. The three dead bodies were so radioactive, they had to bury them in lead coffins.


Shirō Ishii’s War Crime Immunity

Shiro-ishiiSource: https://www.warhistoryonline.com/war-articles/unbelievable-shiro-ishii-japanese-general-who-oversaw-unit-731-thousands-of-horrific-war-crimes-during-wwii-was-given-immunity-in-exchange-for-human-experimentation-data-and-may-have-gone-onto.html/2

During World War II in Japan, Shirō Ishii captured around 10,000 men during the course of the war and experimented on them with biological weapons. When Ishii was arrested by the US military, he negotiated his immunity from a war crimes tribunal if he gave them his research. They accepted. Shirō Ishii is said to have relocated to Maryland where he continued to advise on biological weapons.


Lab 257

plumSource: http://www.nytimes.com/1998/05/17/nyregion/closely-guarded-secrets-some-islands-you-can-t-get-to-visit.html

On Plum Island, the United States has a building called “Lab 257” which is a facility where they tested biological weapons. While nefarious schemes have all been denied by them, documents were uncovered showing they had planned to use the weapons against Russian pigs, cattle, and horses to disrupt their economy.


Operation Ivy Bells

operation ive bellsSource: http://www.military.com/Content/MoreContent1/?file=cw_f_ivybells

During the Cold War, the United States wanted to learn more about Russian submarine and ICBM technology. They learned there was an underwater communications cable near the Sea of Okhotsk. They tapped the cable for years, spying on their communications. In 1980, Richard Pelton, an NSA agent, sold the secrets to the Soviets for $35,000 but was later arrested and imprisoned for life by the US.


Operation Popeye

cloud seedingSource: http://paleofuture.gizmodo.com/the-secret-weather-manipulation-program-of-the-vietnam-1689249533

During the Vietnam War, the United States wanted to prolong monsoon season and flood the Ho Chi Minh trail, cause mudslides, destroy bridges, and disrupt the North Vietnamese movement by controlling the weather. Called Operation Popeye, the top secret mission went from 1967 to 1972. While no one knows the success of the missions, they spent $3 million a year on it with over 2,000 runs. So, something must have been working.


Project Pluto

torySource: http://jalopnik.com/the-flying-crowbar-the-insane-doomsday-weapon-america-1435286216

Also called The Flying Crowbar, Project Pluto was a low altitude cruise missile with a ramjet nuclear engine capable of deploying 16 or more hydrogen bombs at once. But with the much more inexpensive ICMBs, and the safety concerns of Project Pluto, they put the missile to rest.


USS Liberty

USS_LibertySource: http://www.chicagotribune.com/chi-liberty_tuesoct02-story.html

During the Six Days War, Israel lead a bombing run against the USS Liberty. Afterward, the United States and Israel both claimed it was a mistake. However, recent declassified documents and testimony revealed the Israeli pilots deliberately attacked knowing it was a US ship, the United States knew it wasn’t a mistake, and they still covered it up to not embarrass a US ally. The only thing we don’t know is why the Israeli’s attacked in the first place.


CIA Car Hacking

teslaSource: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/wikileaks-cia-documents-files-spying-car-control-hack-central-intelligence-agency-a7616851.html

According to the documents released by WikiLeaks, in October 2014 the CIA had been researching ways to hack into vehicles to assassinate people without detection.


CIA’s Involvement in Drug Smuggling

Cia-lobby-sealSource: http://www.nytimes.com/1993/12/03/opinion/03iht-edlarry.html?mcubz=0

Frequently, the CIA has been accused of drug smuggling to further their national security mission. From fighting in the Korean War all the way up to Reagan and the Contras, the CIA has been doing it for a long time. In one operation, they were accused of helping drug lords smuggle 2,000 pounds of cocaine into the United States.


US Infected Guatamalans with STDs

guatamalaSource: http://gizmodo.com/the-u-s-doctor-who-infected-1-300-guatemalan-patients-169609574

In the 1940s, Dr. John C. Cutler was officially sanctioned by the U.S. Military to infect Guatemalans with syphilis and gonorrhea for his experiments of the disease. In all, he infected 1,300 patients without their knowledge. His experiments were unpublished and forgotten until 2010 when a Wellesley Professor discovered his papers.


US infected Puerto Rico with Cancer

puerto ricoSource:http://www.ipsnews.net/2002/10/health-puerto-ricans-outraged-over-secret-medical-experiments/

While stationed in Puerto Rico, Cornelius P. Rhoads, a successful oncologist, used his Puerto Rican patients as guinea pigs and did experiments on them without their knowledge. He wrote an incredibly offensive and horrifying letter in which he admitted to infecting his patients with cancer cells and killing them. Rhoads later left Puerto Rico to head the U.S. Army Biological Weapons division.


Operation LAC

operation lacSource: https://www.livescience.com/23795-large-area-coverage-dangers.html

Operation LAC (Large Area Coverage) was a test by the U.S. Military in the 1950s and 60s to dust U.S. cities with a potentially toxic fine powder to test the dispersion of germs. One scientist believes one of these tests, specifically over St. Louis, could have included radioactive materials.


Starfish Prime

starfish primeSource: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2012/07/09/the-50th-anniversary-of-starfish-prime-the-nuke-that-shook-the-world/#.WamIydOGPLY

On July 9th, 1962, the United States exploded a high altitude nuclear bomb over the Pacific Ocean. Officially called “Starfish Prime,” it was part of a series of nuclear bomb test and would have far reaching effects for thousands of kilometers.


Spying on John Lennon

john lennonSource: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/21/opinion/21thu4.html?mcubz=0

In the 60s, John Lennon was a vocal protestor against the Vietnam War and even gave the movement its catch phrase, “All we are saying is give peace of chance.” Since he was against the war, the United States government responded by a massive surveillance program against him and tried to deport him.


Sabotage of Vietnam Piece Talks

nixonSource: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/02/us/politics/nixon-tried-to-spoil-johnsons-vietnam-peace-talks-in-68-notes-show.html?mcubz=0

During Richard Nixon’s campaign for president in 1968, he ordered to have the South Vietnamese leaders persuaded to not make a deal until after the election. This was a direct attempt to sabotage sitting President Lyndon Johnson’s peace talk efforts. When Johnson found out about Nixon’s schemes, he was livid but decided not to bring it to light.


Roswell UFO Incident

roswellSource: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/in-1947-high-altitude-balloon-crash-landed-roswell-aliens-never-left-180963917/

On June 14th, 1947, a rancher named W.W. “Mac” Brazel and his son Vernon discovered a UFO near Roswell, New Mexico. Conspiracy theorists called it an alien spacecraft that the government was trying to cover up but in reality, it was Project Mogul. Also called Operation Mogul, the U.S. Air Force used high altitude balloons with microphones to detect Russian nuclear bomb tests.


Churchill's plan for Hitler

churchillSource: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1506725/Churchill-wanted-Hitler-sent-to-the-electric-chair.html

If Hitler was captured alive, Churchill didn’t want him sent to a tribunal, as the other allies had intended, but sent directly to the electric chair. Of course, we all know that never happened as Hitler killed himself in a war bunker.


Area 51 Declassified

area 51Source: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2013/08/16/212549163/there-it-is-area-51-revealed-in-declassified-cia-report

Due to declassified documents, we know a lot more about Area 51 than we ever have before. And sorry to disappoint but there aren’t any aliens there. At Area 51, the government was testing top-secret planes like the U-2 spy plane program. The reports claim any UFOs people had seen were really U-2 planes flying at 60,000 feet.


Operation Midnight Climax

TrippySource: http://io9.gizmodo.com/the-cia-once-ran-brothels-and-dosed-unsuspecting-custom-1687016854

Operation Midnight Climax was part of the MKUltra program and involved the CIA running brothels in San Francisco giving unsuspecting patrons acid as an experiment for mind control. They installed two-way mirrors in “safe houses” where prostitutes would bring back johns and the CIA would watch.


Project Iceworm

nuclear powerSource: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/27/receding-icecap-top-secret-us-nuclear-project-greenland-camp-century-project-iceworm

In order to be able to launch missiles at the Soviet Union during the Cold War, the United States conducted a top-secret construction project in northern Greenland to create bases inside the thick ice sheets. They were able to construct the bases but ultimately it was abandoned due to unstable conditions.


Project Thor

project thorSource: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/10/magazine/10section3a.t-9.html

A technology was explored by the United States called “Project Thor” involving tungsten cylinders installed in satellites in space. The cylinders would be launched down at a target, such as a bunker, without involving explosives. Due to the high speeds, the destruction would be deadly.


Gulf of Tonkin Incident

tonkin gulfSource: http://fair.org/media-beat-column/30-year-anniversary-tonkin-gulf-lie-launched-vietnam-war/

The Gulf of Tonkin Incident that started the Vietnam War was mostly a big lie. The United States claimed there was a “second attack” on their ships but there actually wasn’t. They used the excuse to escalate the war and retaliate.


NSA Spying

NSA SpyingSource: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/06/us-tech-giants-nsa-data

When Edward Snowden released top-secret NSA documents and information to The Guardian, it revealed the agency monitored millions of Americans’ phone and internet activity using a program called “Prism.” This included search history, emails, and chat communications from Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook, Skype, and YouTube.

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