January 06, 2012, 6:00 PM — You know all those caper movies where the main character outlines some fantastically complicated plan to get into the casino's basement safe or Area 51's super-secret alien-dissection lab or the high school girl's locker room at cheerleader-change-for-practice time?
The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory obviously believes getting in is not the easy part (or, if it does, no one is interested in helping with the getting out).
The U.S. military is able to keep an eye on friendly countries, potential opponents and an astonishing number of ex-mates using using spy satellites that can read your Kindle for you through three stories of generic light-industrial architecture and office cubage.
It could also use high-tech drones so stealthy and technically sophisticated they can slip undetected through a dense mesh of radar, audio and visual alert systems penetrating deep into enemy territory before flying over villages so primitive they radiate an anti-technology field so strong that any advanced technical systems flying over them are converted briefly into whatever bronze-age technology was its closest equivalent. (In the case of the spy drone that crashed in a remote part of Iran, the closest comparable bronze-age technology was a rock.)
However effective, those systems still have their weaknesses (they haven't cracked the rock thing yet).
So, to try to give the military as many options as possible, and in what appears to be a competition to create the most ridiculous chain of unlikely coincident circumstances that could theoretically accomplish a given purpose, labs like the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) keep coming up with new ways to covertly place cameras in places cameras should not be in order to keep a closer eye on things.