The CIA's dogs of war

The CIA’s dogs of war

After nearly 70 years, the Agency has declassified its OSS-era records on a program to train military dogs in China

Written by
Edited by Beryl Lipton

MuckRock has previously written about some of the surprising photographic finds in the Central Intelligence Agency’s archives, including a stray cat that was considered a state secret for 50 years. Proving that they’re equal opportunity creature classifiers, records recently uncovered in CREST show photos of World War II military working dogs which weren’t made public until 2013 - nearly 70 years after they were taken.

According to accompanying dispatches, the photos date from mid-1945 and were part of a plan by the CIA’s wartime predecessor, the Office of Strategic Services, to train a dog unit for Chinese allies to use against the Japanese.

Although the quality of the photo scans is poor (understandably, considering their age), giving several of them a “creepypasta” vibe …

enough of the photos were of high enough quality that you could get a decent look at the dog unit …

and much more importantly, the very good dogs that made up said unit.

(Although one of them had the in-hindsight misfortune of having dark fur, giving him the appearance of a kind of ghost bear.)

With the Japanese surrendering only a few months later, it’s unlikely that the unit saw much use, making the Agency’s decision to keep it secret for long all the more perplexing. After all, if you were responsible for successfully teaching a dog how to parachute …

wouldn’t you want everyone to know about it?

Browse the full set of photos embedded below:

Image via Warfare History Network