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Days after President John F.Kennedy was assassinated, a Pentagon agency was given a top-secret assignment to come up with technology to protect the president. What they looked at—from gassing bystanders to arming Secret Service agents with nonlethal squirt guns—was a lesson in the futility of perfect security.

Imagine angry protesters surrounding President Donald Trump’s motorcade as it heads down Fifth Avenue in New York. Now, imagine Secret Service agents spraying a gas that instantly pacifies those protesters; the hostility melts away and the crowd is suddenly docile.

In late 1963, just weeks after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, scientists taking part in a top-secret Pentagon project came up with just such an outlandish proposal, as well as many others, including a squirt gun that could incapacitate bystanders.

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Inside DARPA (external - login to view)