007's lethal gadgetry the model for CIA's licence to kill

By Harriet Alexander

From the poison-tipped flick-knife shoes to the ski pole gun and perfume flame-thrower, the gadgets used by James Bond were a vital part of the fictional spy's kit.

Now Dr Christopher Moran, a specialist in US national security at Britain's Warwick University, has unearthed a trove of documents showing the CIA copied some of Bond's devices.

The flick-knife shoes worn by Rosa Klebb in From Russia with Love were copied, as was the homing device planted on Goldfinger's car.

"There was a surprising two-way influence between the CIA and the James Bond novels during the Cold War, stemming from the mutual admiration between CIA director Allen Dulles and Bond author Ian Fleming," said Moran.

In Life magazine in 1964, Dulles described meeting with the "brilliant and witty" Fleming in London in 1959, where the author told him the CIA was not doing enough in "special devices".

On his return, Dulles urged CIA technical staff to replicate as many of Bond's devices as possible. The flick-knife shoes were produced, but the homing device failed to work.

The team from Warwick University combed the archives in the Soviet press and found that the Russians were laughing about the friendship between Dulles and Fleming. "The communists ... were saying how useless the CIA must be if they were relying on a British novelist for inspiration."

Moran analysed declassified letters from the 1950s and 1960s, which show Dulles persuading Fleming to portray the CIA in a positive light.

"The early 007 novels in the 50s introduced millions of readers to the CIA for the first time. Though Fleming's portrayal is largely favourable, readers are left in no doubt the British intelligence services are the superior outfit."

- Daily Telegraph UK

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