The US government has been accused of secretly
developing robotic insect spies amid reports of bizarre flying
objects hovering in the air above anti-war protests.
'snow' disrupts Israeli TV
No government agency has admitted to developing
insect-size spy drones but various official and private
organisations have admitted that they are trying.
A mechanical fly being developed at Harvard
But official protestations of innocence have failed
to kill speculation of government involvement after a handful of
sightings of the objects at political events in New York and
Vanessa Alarcon, a university student who was
working at an anti-war rally in the American capital last month,
told the Washington Post: "I heard someone say, 'Oh my God, look at
"I look up and I'm like, 'What the hell is that?'.
They looked like dragonflies or little helicopters. But I mean,
those are not insects."
Bernard Crane, a lawyer who was at the same event,
said he had "never seen anything like it in my life". He added:
"They were large for dragonflies. I thought, 'Is that mechanical or
is that alive?'"
The incident has similarities with an alleged
sighting at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York when
one peace march participant described on the internet seeing "a
jet-black dragonfly hovering about 10 feet off the ground, precisely
in the middle of 7th Avenue".
Entomologists suggest that the objects are indeed
dragonflies. Jerry Louton, an expert at the National Museum of
Natural History, said Washington was home to large,
impressively-decorated dragonflies that "can knock your socks off".
However, he admitted that the dragonfly theory did
not explain claims made independently by three people at the
They all described seeing a row of spheres the size
of small berries attached along the tails of the "dragonflies".
They also reported seeing at least three together.
Mr Louton said that dragonflies never fly in a pack.
The CIA secretly developed a petrol-powered
dragonfly drone back in the 1970s but the "insectothopter" was
considered a failure as it couldn't handle crosswinds.
The CIA refused to discuss its subsequent work but
it is known that the Defence Department has been funding research
into inserting computer chips into moth pupae to create "cyborg
moths" whose flight muscles can be controlled remotely.
Although experts say there are still considerable
technical hurdles - not least finding a way of protecting the
creations from hungry birds - some concede it is possible that some
agency has secretly managed to make something that works.
"America can be pretty sneaky," said Tom Ehrhard, a
retired Air Force colonel and expert on unmanned aerial craft.
Original article: Telegraph
Fair Use Notice