According to the US Defense Department, Canada is planting coins containing secret radio transmitters on US Defense contractors travelling in Canada ['Poppy quarter' behind spy coin alert]. The coins are the 2004 commemorative quarters issued to remember those who died in Canada's wars. The coins have a red poppy in the center [In Flanders Fields].
Here's what the Associated Press article says,
WASHINGTON - An odd-looking Canadian quarter with a bright red flower was the culprit behind a false espionage warning from the Defense Department about mysterious coins with radio frequency transmitters, The Associated Press has learned.I can see why the contractors were confused. American coins and paper money are so boring they probably thought every country had boring money.
The harmless "poppy quarter" was so unfamiliar to suspicious U.S. Army contractors traveling in Canada that they filed confidential espionage accounts about them. The worried contractors described the coins as "filled with something man-made that looked like nano-technology," according to once-classified U.S. government reports and e-mails obtained by the AP.
Actually it's all a ruse to direct the contractors' attention away from the real source of the radio transmitters. They're in Tim Hortons coffee.
[Hat Tip: Mustafa Mond, FCD]