Supernotes Revisited

SUPERNOTES REVISITED….As an update to last night’s Supernote story, a reader directs me to a piece written by Klaus Bender in Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung last year. It turns out this is quite the fascinating little mystery. This in particular caught my eye:

Strangely, although the counterfeiters have mastered the technology of the infrared sensitive security inks used on the new Supernotes, the notes are produced in such way that automated currency test systems recognize them immediately as forgeries. In America, the Supernotes have little chance of going undetected.

In other words, the supersophisticated counterfeiters who produce this stuff could make absolutely untraceable notes if they wanted to, but they don’t. They deliberately produce them in a way that can be tracked by no one except the U.S. government and other central banks. What’s more, the notes are produced in such small quantities that it’s actually a loss-making enterprise. The presses and inks cost more than the value of the bills produced. What could account for an operation like this? Bender offers a possible answer:

A rumor has circulated for years among representatives of the security printing industry and counterfeiting investigators that it is the American CIA that prints the Supernotes at a secret printing facility. It is in this facility, thought to be in a city north of Washington D.C., where the printing presses needed to produce the Supernotes is said to be located.

The CIA could use the Supernotes to fund covert operations in international crisis zones, and such funds would not be subject to any control by the American Congress.

Well, that’s always the first answer to any unsolved mystery, isn’t it? The CIA did it. Of course, sometimes it turns out that it’s the final answer too.