Rat spotted at White House? Be Careful Kellyanne Conway!

Kellyanne Conway is surprised by a passing rodent during an interview. Expressing hope that it’s a squirrel and not a rat, she has good reason to fear rats: during World War II it was hoped rats could be weaponized. Read the plans from Britain’s Special Operations Executive (SOE) below.

Courtesy National Archives, United Kingdom

From 1939 to late 1942 Germany and its allies had the upper hand in the war. During this period it was difficult for Britain and its allies to take any direct action against German forces. To tackle this problem British Prime Minister Winston Churchill set up the Special Operations Executive (SOE). SOE’s job was to go into occupied countries and spread propaganda, collect information and attack important targets.

From the Descriptive Catalogue of Special Devices and Supplies used by the SOE, compiled and issued by the War Office:

Transcript Instructions for creating an exploding rat Catalogue ref: HS 7/49


A rat is skinned, the skin being sewn up and filled with P.E. [plastic explosive] to assume the shape of a dead rat. A Standard No. 6 Primer [this sets off the explosion] is set in the P.E. Initiation is by means of a short length of safety fuse with a No. 27 detonator crimped on one end and a copper tube igniter on the other end, or as in the case of the illustration above, a PTF with a No27 detonator attached. The rat is then left amongst the coal beside a boiler and the flames initiate the safety fuse when the rat is thrown on to the fire, or as in the case of the PTF a Time Delay is used.

Sadly, the project was ultimately abandoned.