This Might Be the Weirdest CIA Misdeed Ever

Contractors fired after hacking vending machine to steal snacks
By Josh Rosenblatt,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2017 11:11 AM CDT
The seal of the CIA   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

(Newser) – The CIA may be famous for daring acts of espionage, but in 2013 several agency contractors learned the hard way not to use their shadowy skills to steal from vending machines. A declassified report from the Office of Inspector General says several agency contractors conspired to steal more than $3,300 worth of products from CIA vending machines between the fall of 2012 and March 2013. According to BuzzFeed, which acquired the report through the Freedom of Information Act, an unidentified contractor disconnected the network cables that enable communication between the vending machines and the agency's "FreedomPay" system, thereby allowing "purchases to be made by nonpaying individuals."

The hacker then shared the technique with an unidentified number of other contractors, all of whom later admitted to taking part in the scheme. All of the contractors involved were escorted from the building and fired by their respective contractor employers, though the Department of Justice declined to press charges. While it's not clear why the perpetrators thought they could get away with ripping off the world's most feared intelligence agency, Slate speculates they likely thought the CIA had "bigger fish to fry" or that no one would ever notice $3314.40 worth of candy missing from an agency with an annual budget of $5 billion. All things considered, Gizmodo considers this "easily the greatest CIA operation in the history of the organization." (This university student's extreme exam heist failed.)

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