The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) once considered the idea of using lightning as a weapon system. In the late 1960s, an unknown scientist proposed the service use lightning strikes as a weapon that would leave behind “little or no evidence,” making it difficult to identify the U.S. government as the perpetrator. The CIA, despite always being interested in covert weapons, never developed the idea. Probably.
The pitch, which Forbes discovered in declassified CIA files, involved using “artificial leaders” of thin metal wires to “cause discharges to occur where and when we desire them.” The wires, a few thousands of an inch in diameter, would unfurl from aircraft or rockets launched into the atmosphere.
Then, once lightning occurred, it would be drawn to the metal wire and strike the ground where the wire terminated. The idea seems to be that the wire would be close enough to fry whomever the CIA wanted to assassinate with 300 million volts of electricity.
There were some interesting upsides to the weapon unique to using natural weather phenomena. For one, it was cheap, since lightning is practically free. Second, it left behind no traces like bullet casings, missile fuselages, or other telltale signs of state-sponsored assassination. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the chances of being struck by lightning are only 1 in 500,000, and an observer would likely believe the target was simply a victim of bad luck.