Rachel Maddow gleefully examined the ancient, complicated dark arts of U.S. spies on her Tuesday show.
On Tuesday, the CIA declassified its oldest secret documents, which hail from World War I and deal with the best methods for sending secret messages to other spies. (Of course, the CIA did not come into existence until 1947, so presumably it inherited the documents from its spy parents.) Maddow loved, among other things, the section which recommended engraving secrets on one's toenails.
"Engraving stuff on your toenails--this is so cool!" she crowed, lifting her arms aloft.
But her favorite was a 12-step guide for people trying to figure out whether a piece of paper contains a message written in invisible ink. In part, it gives helpful tips for discovering if there's a secret code written with "juice of leek, lemon, cabbage or artichoke."
"I didn't even know there was such a thing as artichoke juice!" Maddow said. She pronounced herself pleased that the U.S government had finally decided, "93 years later, that it was OK for us to see the 'use a hot iron to show the artichoke juice writing' memo." She also noted, with some irony, that the agency had released the documents because, in its words, "recent advancements in technology made it possible to release them."
Maddow wondered "what technical advancements since 1917 had only just recently replaced lemon juice and leeks," and she lamented that, now that these secrets have been exposed, "your secret toenail communication plan is blown!"