Want to sneak a peek inside the CIA?

At CIA, we have lots of secrets – it’s kind of what we do. But sometimes, we can share them with you! Read about the latest happenings at CIA, including visits by superheroes, battling robots, and how to create a convincing disguise.

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Trick-or-treat the CIA way

With Halloween right around the corner, we thought it might be a good time to talk about our own love of costumes. Of course, we use another term that you might be familiar with: disguises. Both costumes and disguises are meant to hide someone’s true identity, but the purpose behind the two of them couldn’t be more different.

When we think about costumes, we usually imagine something funny or scary. They often involve unique or bizarre makeup and clothing. Disguises, on the other hand, are made with the sole purpose of hiding someone’s true identity. Perhaps one of the most significant differences between the two is that disguises, unlike costumes, are made to be as BORING as possible, to help our officers blend in with their surroundings.

James Bond may look cool in his tuxedo, but do you really think that’s a good idea walking down the street? You would stick out like a sore thumb. When our officers plan for the perfect disguise, they are looking for something that will allow them to disappear into the crowd.

We know better than most people how difficult it can be to craft the perfect disguise. Check out the following tips and tricks to help you along the way.

Costumes vs disguises

CIA spy dog Calliope loves dressing up for Halloween! Costumes may help her get extra treats, but she definitely isn’t incognito. Maybe she needs a disguise instead?

Super Henry saves the day

Super Henry arrives at CIA Headquarters prepared to battle Dragon the Dark.

Super Henry visits the CIA!

Here at CIA, we see our fair share of special visitors. Walking through the halls, it’s not uncommon to see actors studying for a new role, US Representatives here from DC for a briefing, or foreign delegations popping by for a visit with one of our leaders. A few months ago, however, CIA hosted a particularly special guest; Super Henry.

In 2019, CIA partnered with the Make-a-Wish Foundation to host six-year-old Henry, whose dream was to become a super hero. Henry, who, in the words of his mother “beat the stuffing out of cancer,” came to CIA on a mission. The fictitious mission, created by CIA officers over the span of several months, was to defeat a mysterious foe by the name of Dragon the Dark, who was coming to Earth to steal our sun.

It all started with a phone call to CIA from the Make-a-Wish Foundation, an organization working to organize once-in-a-lifetime experiences for kids battling serious illness. CIA prides itself on answering the call, and happily agreed to work with Make-a-Wish to create that experience for Henry.

Epic rainfall hits CIA

This summer, the Washington Metro Area saw record-breaking rainfall, and CIA saw the impact. Here’s our account of that day, with a few photos to show you just how much rain we’re talking about.

It was early morning on Monday, July 8, 2019. As CIA Officers were sitting in traffic or parking their cars, the skies opened up to give us the heaviest rain we have seen in a one hour period since 1936.

There was so much rain in such a short amount of time that it flooded highways, homes and offices. Even here at CIA we had ourselves a bit of a water problem. About 3.5 inches of water came into the ground floor of our headquarters, but in some places the waterline was more than three feet high.

Thankfully we have a great facilities team here at CIA: They were able to put a quick stop to the flooding before it got any worse. Security protective staff, engineers and environmental safety officers all worked together to protect our buildings and people. We are so thankful for their quick actions and problem solving, which were critical to keeping CIA open for business.

When it rains, it pours

This photo is at the perimeter of our compound. Unfortunately, we forgot our swimsuits at home.

Battle bots

Our robots battled to see who was the top bot. The first robot to push the other outside of the circle won. Who was it? That’s classified.

Robotics throw-down at CIA

Life isn’t always super serious here at CIA. Every once in a while CIA Officers like to take a break from the pressures of national security to have a little bit of fun.

A few weeks ago, interns in the Directorate of Science and Technology (the people who make secret gadgets and tech tools) took a well-deserved break in a unique way: they participated in their very own robotics challenge.

Have you ever heard of a robotics challenge? Well, the name sort of gives it away. It’s a competition between homemade robots. Usually the competitions involve some sort of obstacle course or battle. In this case, it was both.

The interns had just ONE DAY to design and build their robot from scratch. Each robot had to be capable of taking on the following challenges:

  1. Follow a course on its own. No controllers were allowed. Participants did not know what the course would look like, so the robot had to be able to figure it out on the fly.
  2. Fight against the other robots in sumo-style competitions. Sumo-style means that both robots would be placed in a circle. In the first competition, a robot faced off with one other robot inside the circle. The first robot forced outside of the circle lost the match. Later, all of the robots were placed inside the circle at the same time. All the robots competed in a sumo-style free-for-all. The last robot remaining in the ring was the champion.

What do you think of robots? What type of robot would you make? At CIA, we’re always challenging ourselves to improve, even for fun events like the robot challenge. Who knows what our officers will dream up next year!

Daredevil spy stories

We’re known for our daring spy missions. Like when we created a fake Hollywood production company and movie, ARGO, to help rescue American hostages in Iran in the 1980s. Or when we developed the fastest-ever secret spy plane, the A-12 OXCART, in the 1960s to avoid Soviet air defenses. Our stories sound like Hollywood fantasy, but for us, it’s real life.

Mission impossible!

We grabbed a Soviet submarine, in broad daylight, from the bottom of the ocean without anyone seeing.