Sites to See
Sites Outside Headquarters Buildings
James Sanborn’s sculpture, Kryptos (meaning “hidden” in Greek), begins at the entrance to NHB and continues in the northwest corner of the NHB courtyard. Dedicated on November 3, 1990, the theme of this three-part installation is “intelligence gathering.” Kryptos incorporates materials native to the United States. A piece of petrified wood supports a large S-shaped copper screen that looks like a piece of paper coming out of a computer printer. On the “paper” is a coded message using the alphabet encoded with frequency tables. The sculpture continues to be a source of pleasure and mystery for Agency employees, with a few taking the challenge to “break the code.”
This is a replica of an original work created for Yale University by Bela Pratt. Nathan Hale, a Yale graduate and captain in General George Washington’s Army, volunteered to collect information on British forces stationed on Long Island. On his first and only mission, he was captured by the British, found guilty of espionage, and executed on September 22, 1776. Hale was the first American executed for spying on behalf of his country. This statue captures the spirit of the moment before his execution—a 21-year old man prepared to meet his death for honor and country, hands and feet bound, face resolute, and eyes on the horizon. His last words, “I regret that I have but one life to lose for my country,” circle the base around his feet.
These three sections of reinforced concrete were removed from the Berlin Wall near Checkpoint Charlie at Potsdamer Platz in November 1989. Dedicated to the CIA in December 1992, the monument is oriented as it was in Berlin—the west side painted with graffiti, reflecting the color, hope, and optimism of the west; in stark contrast to the east side, which is whitewashed, plain and devoid of color and life. The monument is located in the middle of a path so that it must be confronted directly, just as it was for nearly three decades by the citizens of Berlin.
Through the quiet beauty of living nature, the garden is a memorial to all persons who died while working with CIA. The words, “In remembrance of those whose unheralded efforts served a grateful nation,” are cast in a brass plaque to ensure the living will not forget the fallen.
The Headquarters Auditorium is commonly nicknamed “The Bubble” because of its bubble or igloo-like shape. Part of the original CIA Headquarters design in the mid-1950s, it is equipped with the latest in multi-media equipment and can accommodate 470 people. The Bubble serves as host to special events, prominent speakers, and conferences.
In the 1950s, the land obtained for the CIA Headquarters compound included a private residence known as the Calvert Estate, which came with the provision the owners, Margaret Scattergood and Florence Thorne, would occupy the property until their deaths. Ms. Scattergood passed in 1986 and the CIA converted the private residence into a conference center.
Under the highly secret Project OXCART, CIA contracted with Lockheed to produce the A-12 supersonic reconnaissance aircraft as the successor to the U-2. Lockheed began its design in 1959 and achieved full operational readiness in November 1965. During testing, the A-12 reached a speed of Mach 3.29 (over 2,200 mph) and an altitude of 90,000 feet. The A-12 flew only 29 missions before being replaced by the U.S. Air Force’s SR-71, a modified version of the A-12. Of the 15 A-12s that were built, only nine exist today. The aircraft is displayed in our north parking lot for viewing.