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Saudis detain spy suspect: GPS-equipped vulture

A vulture carrying a GPS transmitter is captured by Saudi Arabian authorities on suspicion of being an Israeli spy.

When relationships break down, mistrust is always at the heart of the heartache.

And the news that Saudi Arabia has reportedly detained a vulture that happened to keep a GPS transmitter for company seems but one more example of this everlasting truth.

Yes, I did say "vulture."

According to Israeli National News, the vulture not only happened to be GPS-aided, but also had a ring upon which was inscribed "Tel Aviv University."

Now, I don't know about you, but if I was sending vultures out to spy on people, I might not so readily attach such an obvious suggestion of provenance.

Indeed, Israeli National News suggests that this rather vicious and heartless bird was part of research into discovering what vultures do in their spare time when they're not looking mean and dismembering carcasses.

Are they in Mossad's employ? CC .Waldec/Flickr

The Saudi newspaper Al-Weeam reported, however, said that the vulture took a rest in the grounds of a sheik's house and was characterized by a "foul odor coming out of its mouth--proof of a Zionist plot."

Although I myself suspect plots in just about every human action and utterance, I am still prepared to be persuaded by the Israeli news service, which suggested that the vulture capture was another element of unnecessary regional paranoia.

The news service pointed to the fact that some in Egypt reportedly believed that a mean-spirited shark recently attacking tourists there was, like the vulture, also the work of Israel foreign intelligence agency Mossad.

Researchers from Israel's Nature and Parks Authority told Israeli National News that seven vultures had been released over the last few years and that four had reached Saudi Arabia. Hauntingly, they said one was still in Saudi Arabia, after enjoying a vacation in the Sudan.

Some might wonder whether a GPS-laden vulture might somehow reveal more secret information than all of the drones and satellites that seem to be wafting around the earth these days.

Still, with suitably meaty interrogation and incentive, perhaps the vulture will talk. Or perhaps Julian Assange might reveal the real truth--that these satellited vultures were the work of Iran. Or Iraq. Or, who knows, Iceland.

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