In the 1970s and ’80s, when undercover agents recorded conversations with mobsters and corrupt politicians, they wore a bulky tape recorder strapped around their waists–that sometimes weighed as much as 10 pounds–and wires, connected to a microphone, taped to their chests. Needless to say, they were nervous about being caught!
In the April 8th edition of the New York Times, Wendy Ruderman quotes retired FBI agent Robert K. Wittman as saying, "When you pulled them off, all the hair came off our chest. There used to be a lot of recordings that ended with ‘Aaahhhhh,’ when you ripped the wires off. It was almost like getting a body wax."
Today that has all changed: Recording equipment has been miniaturized.