Several decades ago, the CIA
decided to establish
near the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
. They rented out a space in
, in the same building as the Laboratory for Computer Science
, and set themselves up
as the Charles I. Andersen Music Company. Now, MIT
students are no idiots, and it took them all of five minutes to figure out just what kind of music company
would set up offices in Tech Square
. MIT students
, especially hackers
, are well-known for their sense of humor
, and this was just too choice
to pass up.
A few weeks after the office opened, a young man walked
in, dressed in a nice business suit and carrying a violin case, and asked to speak with Mr. Andersen. "He's not here right now," said the secretary. "That's OK. I'll wait,"
said the young man, and sat down. "He may not be back
for some time," protested the secretary. "That's OK. I'll wait," replied the young man, and sat tapping his fingers against the violin case. "He might not even be back in the office today, he's very busy," the secretary attempted. "That's OK. I'll take my chances." And so the poor secretary sat there wondering
what to do with her visitor. After half an hour had passed (with no sign of Mr. Andersen, of course) the
young man got up and explained that he did know what
they actually did at the Andersen Music Company,
and that this had been a hack, and left.
A few weeks later, a student dressed as a construction
worker visited the office with a set of blueprints of
the building. He claimed to be a contractor, and explained that
a structural weakness had been discovered in this
particular building. "Nothing to worry about, of course,
but to be on the safe side, you shouldn't put anything
heavy right here." Several hackers had been going over the plans to the building, you see, and had figured out where the
safe was probably located. Sure enough, the next day,
a truck from the Acme Safe-Moving Company was parked
A pair of students figured out which restrooms the CIA agents used, and
staked one out one day. As soon as they saw a pair of government-agent-style black shoes come in and sit down, they started discussing the progress of one student's "thesis": reconstructing shredded documents. "So, how's the work coming?" "Well, it's coming along, but so far I can only reconstruct documents that have been shredded once. If it's been double-shredded, it doesn't work." And they left the bathroom, chatting. A few days later, careful investigation of the garbage bags from that office revealed that the CIA had suddenly felt it necessary to send all of their documents through the shredder several times before discarding.
Another morning, a sign appeared outside the elevators
in the building, on the floor shared by the "Music Company" and the AI Lab:
The last straw, however, was the giant banner that appeared outside the (impossible to open) windows of
the floor above the CIA office. It read "CIA Here" in
three-foot-high red letters, with arrows pointing down. The
next week, they packed up and left. The CIA hasn't tried establishing an office near MIT since.