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They agreed, however, that a coin with a hidden tracking device might not have aroused suspicion if it were discovered loose in a pocket or briefcase.

Defense Workers Warned About Spy Coins
By TED BRIDIS, Associated Press Writer
Wed Jan 10, 11:46 PM

WASHINGTON - Can the coins jingling in your pocket trace your movements? The Defense Department is warning its American contractor employees about a new espionage threat seemingly straight from Hollywood: It discovered Canadian coins with tiny radio frequency transmitters hidden inside.

In a U.S. government report, it said the mysterious coins were found planted on U.S. contractors with classified security clearances on at least three separate occasions between October 2005 and January 2006 as the contractors traveled through Canada.

"It wouldn't seem to be the best place to put something like that; you'd want to put it in something that wouldn't be left behind or spent," said Jeff Richelson, a researcher and author of books about the CIA and its gadgets. "It doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense."

Canada's physically largest coins include its $2 "Toonie," which is more than 1-inch across and thick enough to hide a tiny transmitter. The CIA has acknowledged its own spies have used hollow, U.S. silver-dollar coins to hide messages and film.

Michael J. Douglas
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I read that this morning and laughed so loud that my family thought I'd gone nuts. Of course, they had already thought I'd gone nuts... The article I read actually had a picture of an Eisenhower coin and gimmick! Smile
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I bet the Canadian psychic, who is able to find a coin under any object, is kicking himself for spending those.
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I read the same article and wondered one thing....who carries around an Eisenhower dollar coin in their pocket?? THAT in itself should arouse suspicion!!

The only stupid question is the one not asked.
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Good grief, this is how urban legends get started.

Spy coin report overblown, U.S. official says


Globe and Mail Update

A report that that some Canadian coins have been compromised by secretly embedded spy transmitters is overblown, according to a U.S. official familiar with the case.

“There is no story there,” the official, who asked not to be named, told The Globe and Mail.

He said that while some odd-looking Canadian coins briefly triggered suspicions in the United States, he said that the fears proved groundless: “We have no evidence to indicate anything connected with these coins poses a risk or danger.”

A report from a Pentagon agency made headlines this week after it stated — unequivocally — that Canadian coins found in the possession of U.S. defence contractors had been tampered with.

“On at least three separate occasions between October, 2005 and January, 2006, cleared defence contractors' employees travelling through Canada have discovered radio-frequency transmitters embedded in Canadian coins on their persons,” reads the U.S. Defence Security Service report.

The account — which gave no further elaboration — appeared in the latest annual edition of the agency's “Technology Collection Trends in the U.S. Defence Industry” report.

The declassified report also made vague references to other cases, including one in which a female spy allegedly seduced a U.S. government translator for his computer password. In another example, a defence contractor with carpal-tunnel syndrome raised concerns after using a voice-recorded pen to take notes during sensitive meetings Nothing else is known about these cases. But the item about the Canadian coins item appeared to be the result of only partial intelligence.

Defence contractors had apparently been give certain special-issue Canadian coins, the unfamiliar look of which caused them to be concerned about the money, a source said. That led to an investigation once the contractors returned to the United States .

But a U.S. agency that investigated the complaint found no evidence of any secret transmitters, or of any other tampering.

It's not clear why this information failed to find its way into the released U.S. Defence Security Service report.

The U.S. agency works with military contractors to make sure that sensitive U.S. secrets aren't stolen by spies. The case of the Canadian coins was just one of the case studies released in the unclassified version of the report.

There is a classified version of the report with more details circulating within the U.S. government, but officials are not speaking to it.

Canadian officials, who were not in the loop on the U.S. investigation, reacted to the transmitter-carrying coins skeptically.

“What is the value of a device for tracking someone when it changes hands so frequently and so readily?,” said Alex Reeves, a spokesman for the Royal Canadian Mint, in an interview.

In addition to standard currency, the Mint produces special-issue coins, like pink-ribbon quarters to raise awareness about breast cancer or “lucky Loonies” to celebrate Canada's accomplishments in hockey.

Mr. Reeves said it is a crime for anyone to tamper with Canadian money.
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I'm sure many of you accidentally spent one (or more) of your valuable gimmicked coins. But have you ever received change in an every day transaction, only to find out later that you actually got a gimmicked coin?

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Profile of madmanmike1
That's great, thanks for the link to the articles! I don't know if in the end it was the government finding a gimmicked coin or just some stupid contractors freaking out about our canadian currency, but either way it's funny. A bit of a peeve for me that our canadian mint has chosen to change the look of our coinage so often. Makes it difficult to "borrow a coin" then ring in a gaff.
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I've gotten foreign coins (other than Candian which we get all the time here in New England) but never a gimmicked one.
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This biggest problem with a story like this, from a technical standpoint, is that the transmitter, if it ever really existed, would not have much power or range. The receiver could only be about 1/2 mile away at the most. Also, there is no guarantee that the building where the xmitter would be in would not block the signal. I can just imagine a contractor wondering why a car would be following them everywhere.

Chock this one up to urban legend. And yes, I did find the article about Canadian coins with a picture of a gaffed Eisenhower dollar to be funny! Who would carry them? A magician perhaps?!?!?!? Smile
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