Conspiracy Watch: Funny Money

Illustration: Peter Hoey

the conspiracy: The Secret Service claims that North Korea is churning out “supernotes” or “superdollars”—amazingly high-quality counterfeit $100 bills. Authorities have discovered an estimated $50 million worth of the phony Benjamins in the past two decades and think at least $22 million more are out there. But the presses needed to mimic the real bills’ anticounterfeit technologies cost around $50 million—not a great investment, even for Kim Jong Il. Next suspect? The Central Intelligence Agency, of course.

the conspiracy theorist: German journalist Klaus W. Bender, author of a book on banknote printing. He speculates that the cia prints the bills at a secret plant outside D.C.

meanwhile, back on earth: Doesn’t the cia get all the money it needs? But then, paying off Ahmed Chalabi with fake $100s would be brilliant.

Kookiness Rating: Tin Hat SmallTin Hat SmallTin Hat Small (1=maybe they’re on to something, 5=break out the tinfoil hat!)