05/22/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

CIA Pranks Revealed by Newly Declassified Documents


Yes, the CIA tortured prisoners, but it also has a lighter side, according to newly declassified documents.

In the 1960s, zany and fun-loving CIA agents conducted a series of clandestine pranks and practical jokes on American citizens.

"It was all in good fun," an agency spokesman said this week. "After a hard day at the office interrogating double agents or testing LSD on human guinea pigs, the boys sometimes needed to let off a little steam."

Thus was born the so-called Joke Ops division, which phoned in fake pizza delivery orders to Black Panther headquarters, rang liberal senators' doorbells by remote control and occasionally brainwashed young loners to assassinate politicians.

"We were constantly trying to dream up the ultimate prank," one agent recalled. "One day we'd toilet-paper Hubert Humphrey's house. The next, we'd test the effect of bullets on a presidential motorcade in Dallas. It was like 'Candid Camera.' "

Another stunt, code-named "Kill RFK," took place in a crowded hotel kitchen in Los Angeles in 1968. "I don't remember how that one turned out," the agent said. "But I'm sure everyone had a good laugh. The Kennedys loved practical jokes, like the ones they pulled on South Vietnamese President Diem and Marilyn Monroe. Those were good times."

This story originally appeared at Copyright Roy Rivenburg