About those Canadian spy coins…

Remember that story about those Canadian spy coins that hit the presses at the beginning of this year?

the Defense Department cautioned its American contractors over what it described as a new espionage threat: Canadian coins with tiny radio frequency transmitters hidden inside.

The government said the mysterious coins were found planted on U.S. contractors with classified security clearances on at least three separate occasions between October 2005 and January 2006 as the contractors traveled through Canada.

Intelligence and technology experts said such transmitters, if they exist, could be used to surreptitiously track the movements of people carrying the spy coins.

poppy-coin.jpgTurns out that the American contractors were spooked by the Canadian 25 cent poppy coin. The Royal Canadian Mint has a patent on the process by which an image can be “painted” on a coin and the novel application to Canadian coins to commemorate our nation’s war dead left the Americans suspecting espionage. Apparently, the laminate cover used to protect the paint lights up under UV light and under closer inspection the American defense contractors wrote:

“Under high power microscope, it appeared to be complex consisting of several layers of clear, but different material, with a wire like mesh suspended on top.”

This led the US Defense Department to issue a warning suggesting that radio transmitters were located on the coins. Other analysts suspected the use of nanotechnology affixed to the surface of the quarters.

h/t: AP