Espionage Expert Presents 'From Pigeons To Predators'

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Signals Intelligence and the Ingenious Ways Devised to Convey, Compromise, and Encrypt Messages at the National Archives

WASHINGTON, D.C. - June 16 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) -- History is a Hoot, Inc. (, has announced that noted espionage historian, and Emmy winner, Linda McCarthy, will be a featured speaker during the National Archives' June technology month. Her presentation "From Pigeons to Predators: How SIGINT Helped Shape American Espionage" will be held in the McGowan Theater on June 23, 2005 at 5:30 p.m. The program is free and open to the public.

"Communications in America as it specifically relates to spying is extremely timely," McCarthy said.

"People use cell phones, the Internet, and similar information exchange media almost by habit in the 21st Century. Much of the initial research and development for the information delivery devices we rely upon today was originally undertaken and advanced for classified government projects as a form of SIGINT, " she added.

A retired 24-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency, McCarthy is credited with creating the CIA Museum, a one-of-a-kind collection of espionage memorabilia housed inside the Agency's headquarters building in Langley. As president of History is a Hoot, Inc. she appears before audiences nationwide, discussing different facets of espionage and its history while using actual items of tradecraft.

"In this day of sophisticated telecommunications systems, highlighting the development of SIGINT provides a historical grounding, illustrating how these technological innovations actually occurred and, most of all, why, " she said.

"Major American corporations often brought their expertise to the effort," McCarthy noted. "In World War I, Bell Telephone provided critical communications links across the battlefields of Europe. AT&T pioneered the wirephoto, made famous in World War II. This technology led directly to the development of computer modems, fax machines, and even the television. For its unique part, the Maidenform Bra Company designed special vests to transport messenger pigeons during World War II."

"SIGINT can and does take odd shapes," McCarthy said.

"Communications played an especially important role in World War II, one reason why Churchill dubbed the conflict 'the Wizard War.'" she continued. "Nowhere was this more evident than with the establishment of the Office of Strategic Services, America's first, formal intelligence service. As it was, the largest component within the OSS was the Commo unit. The SIGINT derived and passed by OSS Commo operatives, in particular, help dictate the conduct of the war in all five theaters," she said.

"With the Second World War and the establishment of the OSS, American intelligence and counterintelligence activities evolved as potent and respected force multipliers that came to fundamentally dictate how we conduct today's war against terrorism," McCarthy stated."

"Lessons and traditions from America's first centralized intelligence agency, as the OSS is customarily called, have become a practical legacy for the men and women serving overseas in both military and civilian capacities," she concluded.

About History is a Hoot, Inc.

History is a Hoot, Inc. was founded in 1999 by Linda McCarthy and Kristen Sanders. McCarthy and Sanders have presented espionage-related programs to institutions such as the Smithsonian, and the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York, as well as professional development programs hosted by organizations like NASA and the Aerospace Corporation. In conjunction with the National Women's History Museum, McCarthy and Sanders produced a first of its kind exhibit about female spies titled Clandestine Women: The Hidden Stories of Women in Espionage. The exhibit was featured in the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. In 1999, the company published Spies, Pop Flies, and French Fries: Stories I Told My Favorite Visitors to the CIA Exhibit Center.

For more information on History is a Hoot, Inc., visit or call (877) 751-7129.

To contact the National Archives and Records Administration about their events, call (202) 501-5000 or log on to the calendar of events at

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