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6 WTF Spy Tech Plans That Somehow Worked

By 1944, Hitler turned on his spies and viewed all of his spy agencies as incompetent and their information is dubious. MI6’s plan to destabilize the German espionage network exceeded its wildest expectations. The imploding German secret service, the head of the German secret service, was sentenced to death in one concentration camp. To say that there was a crisis of confidence in Berlin is a bit of an understatement.


The artist adopted defense plans to spy half a world away in the form of toilet reading material

At first glance, Werner Sturzel was in Puerto Rico Illustrado was uneventful. During the First World War, it was arguably the most innocent job you could find. Under the guise of an ordinary cartoonist, Sturzel lived a strikingly high profile life in Puerto Rico, despite his humble career as an illustrator. A freelance artist who doesn’t live on the edge of poverty? Yes, we don’t need to tell you that there is more to this story.

The Puerto Rican magazine was neither a serious journalistic project nor did it have a wide readership. So it was all the better to fly under the radar of the American counterintelligence, the Spanish-language newspaper that covertly reached spies in Barcelona and was forwarded to Berlin. In his most famous performance, Sturzel snuck encrypted information about US shipping and coastal defense back to Germany in the portrait of an exoticized young woman in a bizarre costume. It was titled Arabic type, the Lost Generation’s own waifu material.

Sturzel’s “hieroglyphs” could only be deciphered by the spy masters. We’re not exactly sure how the cryptogram was cracked. With a magnifying glass, patience, and some free time, you may be able to figure it out:

New York Tribune
Our guess? It worked like a Mad Magazine collapse.

In 1918, arrested for espionage, Sturzel relented. Sturzel was actually stunned when he was arrested and spent far too much money on a cartoonist working in an obscure publication in the middle of nowhere. Oh, and the embezzlement didn’t cover his cover either. The plan is perfect if not for the Kaiser choosing a man with the financial wisdom of a strip club ATM.

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