Your weekly briefing from the HQ of secrets

Coded cracker

The cunning spies at Britain’s GCHQ have a festive challenge for wise men and women: find an image hidden in a festive bauble. One of the clues lies in the musical seventh sequence. 




Gingerbread blowback

Even the world’s best spies get their communications intelligence wrong sometimes. When the CIA challenged agents to build gingerbread houses they expected the Twitterati to vote for their favorite. More than 8,000 did - but hundreds more asked whether CIA staff were too busy baking to notice that Russian and Chinese spies were infiltrating the US :(




Was it a wonderful life?

J. Edgar Hoover's G-Men investigated Frank Capra's 1946 classic, searching for hidden messages in an era of post-war paranoia. The Los Angeles office of the FBI worried that the film had a 'malignant undercurrent' and used common forms of 'Commie propaganda' to undermine American institutions. 




Friends in high places

Norad has a merry mission for the holiday: the US defense command tracks Santa's skyward journey from the North Pole. St Nick will be wearing a facemask this year but Ireland's foreign minister and other government officials confirm they’ve already classified Santa’s work as ‘essential’ and both sleigh and reindeer are cleared for landing. 




Astronauts detect red and white UFO

Nasa gave us an early present on December 16, 1965. As they re-entered Earth's atmosphere aboard Gemini 6, US astronauts Wally Schirra Jr and Thomas Stafford reported an object flying in a polar orbit which they described to Houston as a "command module and eight smaller modules in front. The pilot of the command module is wearing a red suit". 





Christmas Drop is a real mission

Christmas Drop is a festive romance about a Congressional aide who clashes with a US Air Force captain over his budget-blowing plan to drop presents to needy locals. But did you know the central mission is based on a true story? Since 1952, US Air Force C-130 Hercules’ cargo planes have dropped supplies on 55 Pacific Ocean islands. 




And one more thing... 

SPYSCAPE holiday film guide!

Six Secrets has an extra gift for you this holiday. We’ve filtered through the latest spy films on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime so you can sit back, relax and enjoy. And yes, our very own True Spies podcast host Vanessa Kirby stars in one! Happy holidays! 



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