is one of the founders of Keyhole which was acquired by Google a few years back. The result was one of the more interesting Google services available, Google Earth. Nowadays we usually take such services for granted, but in case you want to learn a bit more about this successful project and its development you should check out an interesting article by Mark himself at Google's Librarian Central, here
The ex-Silicon Graphics man said "'Most people are surprised to learn that we have more than one source for our imagery. We collect it via airplane and satellite, but also just about any way you can imagine getting a camera above the Earth's surface: hot air balloons, model airplanes - even kites."
Model airplanes and kites ? You're right Mark. I, for one, am indeed surprised.
Anyway the company itself was named after the highly successful Keyhole (KH) series of US cold war era photographic spy satellites. These babies were technological marvels in their own right, some weighing in at more than 11 tonnes, they were capable of 0,5m resolutions back in the early sixties. And no, to my knowledge the CIA did not use kites to spy on the Soviets.