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March 27, 1994|CHARLES SOLOMON

CIA SPECIAL WEAPONS & EQUIPMENT: Spy Devices of the Cold War by H. Keith Melton (Sterling Publishing: $10.95; 127 pp., illustrated). Melton's collection of weapons and listening devices reads like a catalogue of props for a James Bond movie. The equipment includes a homing beacon hidden in a fake dog turd, a mechanical pencil that conceals a murderous steel needle and explosive flour that can be mixed with water and molded into any shape or even baked into muffins without losing its destructive capabilities. Many Americans prefer to think U.S. agents never really used this kind of espionage equipment, but the Ames case suggests they still do.

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