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Our Agency’s history is filled with captivating stories of past missions and heroes. From intelligence successes to lessons learned, we continue to adapt to meet the world’s challenges.

A star carved into the marble of CIA’s Memorial Wall, commemorating a fallen officer.

Our people’s ingenuity, grit, and determination define our legacy.

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History of CIA

Our Agency is built on the creativity and agility of intelligence officers dedicated to safeguarding our Nation. The Office of Strategic Services (OSS), our Agency’s forerunner, was created during World War II and was America’s first global intelligence organization. OSS was capable of coordinated espionage, covert action, and counterintelligence—all of which are pieces of today’s CIA.

As the war ended, OSS’s success proved that strategic intelligence had its place in times of both war and peace. A few years later, President Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947. This established the CIA. Take a closer look at how American intelligence evolved to form the basis of today’s Intelligence Community.

See Our Evolution
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CIA Museum

Experience history on display, at your fingertips. Our virtual museum details our Agency’s past and its contributions to U.S. national security. Browse over 200 artifacts ranging from robotic catfish and pigeon cameras to invisible ink and mission memorabilia. We’ve thoughtfully curated each exhibit to bring CIA moments to life.

View Our Collection
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CIA Headquarters

Officially opening its doors in 1961, CIA Headquarters isn’t just our home for global operations. It’s also full of stories from past missions and heroes. Fascinated by stealth aircraft like the A-12? Curious what former presidents wrote in our President’s Gallery? Our virtual Headquarters photo tour opens the gates to our campus in Langley, Virginia. Browse the gallery for a unique chance to learn more about us.

Explore Our Campus
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Honoring CIA's Fallen

The men and women of CIA are united by a mission essential to our country. Our officers are frequently first on the ground in areas of unrest, often without the benefit of additional support, always in harm’s way. Today, and every day, we honor and remember the brave CIA officers who gave their lives in the service of their country.

Learn About Our Fallen
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Stories of Our Past

Challenging the Status Quo: Elizabeth Sudmeier’s Historic Legacy
Surprise, Kill, Vanish: The Legend of the Jedburghs
Virginia Hall: The Courage and Daring of “The Limping Lady”

Make Our Legacy Your Legacy. Find Your Calling With a Career at CIA.

At CIA, your work is more than a job—it’s a mindset and a lifestyle. When you are part of the Nation’s premier intelligence agency, you are on the front lines of history, with boundless opportunities to grow and contribute to our mission.

Browse Jobs
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