In a 2006 documentary produced out of Moscow, Russia a spying device believed to be from the United Kingdom was shown to the delight and laughter of audiences. The device was funny because spy officials in the UK actually believed they could place a bug inside a fake rock and nobody would notice.
In that footage Moscow officials kick the rock around in a park after it was discovered.
According to the Guardian officials in Britain have denied that the rock belongs to their agencies until recently when a former aide to Tony Blair told the BBC:
“The spy rock was embarrassing … they had us bang to rights.”
The aide goes on to note:
“There’s not much you can say, you can’t really call up and say, ‘I’m terribly sorry about that, it won’t happen again.’”
What might make the fake rock more embarrassing is the fact that it was possibly used against the UK. According to reports Russian President Vladimir Putin knew about the rock but kept it a secret so he could wait for the perfect moment to use the device as part of his crackdown initiative on the foreign-funded NGOs, allowing him to eventually increase his authoritarian power.
In fake the rock dispute was so bad according to Tony Brenton, the British ambassador to Moscow in 2006 that it marked a “dramatic disintegration of ties between London and Moscow.”
Perhaps the Brits should have stuck with pet rocks instead of turning them into objects of spying on the Russians.