Special Section: Babblers and Bugs

My secret trip to Moscow in 1972 marked my introduction to the use of the "babbler." This was a cassette tape I had brought with me, which played a bizarre recording of what seemed like several dozen voices talking gibberish simultaneously. If I wanted to confer with my colleagues without being overheard by listening devices, we would gather around the babbler, speaking softly among ourselves. Theoretically anyone listening in would be unable to distinguish the real conversation from the cacophony of recorded voices. Whether it worked or not we could never be sure. The only certainty was that anyone trying to...

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