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!)


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn’t fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation so we can keep on doing the type of journalism that 2018 demands.

Donate Now