Canadian spy coins explained

Back in January, Passport posted on a scary Defense Department report that warned of Canadian coins that had been transformed into tracking devices.  It turns out the whole things was a big misunderstanding: An odd-looking Canadian coin with a bright red flower was the culprit behind a U.S. Defense Department false espionage warning earlier this ...

602076_070507_canadiancoins_05.jpg
602076_070507_canadiancoins_05.jpg

Back in January, Passport posted on a scary Defense Department report that warned of Canadian coins that had been transformed into tracking devices.  It turns out the whole things was a big misunderstanding:

Back in January, Passport posted on a scary Defense Department report that warned of Canadian coins that had been transformed into tracking devices.  It turns out the whole things was a big misunderstanding:

An odd-looking Canadian coin with a bright red flower was the culprit behind a U.S. Defense Department false espionage warning earlier this year about mysterious coin-like objects with radio frequency transmitters.

The harmless “poppy coin” was so unfamiliar to suspicious U.S. Army contractors traveling in Canada that they filed confidential espionage accounts about them.

The worried contractors described the coins as “anomalous” and “filled with something man-made that looked like nanotechnology,” according to once-classified U.S. government reports and e-mails obtained by the AP.

Yes, U.S. defense officials were spooked by Canadian lucre bearing an unusual floral design. Moreover, their fears were transmitted pretty much uncritically to the rest of the defense establishment. And the whole thing could have been cleared up by turning to the nearest friend from north of the border and simply asking, “What’s this coin thingy, eh?” 

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