History is a Hoot, Inc.

Spies at the Archives


Washington, DC -- (SBWIRE) -- 05/08/2006 -- History is a Hoot, Inc. (www.historyisahoot.com), has announced that noted espionage historian, and Emmy winner, Linda McCarthy, will be a featured speaker at the National Archives in Washington, DC. Her PowerPoint program, From Pigeons to Predators: How Communications Helped Shape American History and Espionage, will be presented in the McGowan Theater on May 10, 2006 at noon as part of the Codes and Codebreaking Series. The event is free and open to the public.

“The subject of communications in America is extremely timely,” McCarthy stated. “We use cell phones, the Internet, and similar information relay media by habit. Much of the initial research and development for these devices was originally undertaken for classified government projects.”

“In this day of sophisticated telecommunications networks, highlighting the development of early communications systems provides a historical grounding, illustrating how these technological innovations actually occurred and, most of all, why, ” McCarthy said.

“Major American corporations often brought their expertise and manpower to the effort,” she continued. “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.”

“One not so sophisticated invention aided carrier pigeons, like those depicted in the Disney animated movie Valiant. Produced by the Maidenform Bra Company, the ‘lift and separate’ pigeon vest allowed these winged messengers to be airdropped behind the lines with soldiers and spies.

“In addition, before Bluetooth, the US went wireless with—of all things—flags. Finally, as today’s newscasts underscore, the introduction of UAVs—unmanned drones like the Predator—has forever changed the face of battle. Commo can and does take odd shapes,” McCarthy concluded.

A retired 24-year veteran of the CIA, McCarthy is credited with starting the CIA Museum, a collection of espionage memorabilia housed inside the Agency’s headquarters building in Langley. Drawing on her experiences managing the one-of-a-kind attraction, McCarthy appears before a variety of audiences nationwide, discussing different facets of espionage history.

Following her presentation, which will last about an hour, audience members are invited to view several rare commo-related artifacts McCarthy will bring from her private collection.

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.