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Dec 21, 2018 50 Years of "Operation Santa Claus"

Fifty years ago, we started “Operation Santa Claus” as a way for the CIA family to donate new toys to disadvantaged children during the holidays. Since our formal collaboration with the Marine Corps’ “Toys for Tots” program in 2000, the Agency’s toy collection has grown each year.

The 2018 Operation Santa Claus campaign was a great success. The Agency collected 40 boxes of toys that will be gifted to children in need this year.

On December 7th, Deputy Director Vaughn Bishop and his wife Marian Bishop presented the collected toys to Brigadier General William Seely III and the Marine Corps Reserve in support of the Marines’ Toys for Tots campaign.

The Marines thanked the CIA for their collections, mentioning that we continue to be one of the largest donors to the Toys for Tots foundation in the Washington, DC area.

Dec 17, 2018 Sending Holiday Wishes Near and Far

The holidays are upon us, and this time of year we reflect upon the sacrifices of Agency officers past and present, those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and those who are serving in some of the most dangerous and inhospitable parts of the world away from loved ones.

In an effort championed by CIA leadership and Deputy Director Vaughn Bishop’s wife, Mrs. Marian Bishop, the CIA family has come together to show officers overseas just how much their service and sacrifice are appreciated. Throughout the month of December, CIA officers and their families have been writing heartfelt holiday messages for colleagues in far-flung parts of the world.

Mrs. Bishop kicked-off the letter-writing campaign by sharing her experience as an Agency spouse. “If you have ever served overseas on a hardship tour, you know how rewarding the experience can be. But the demands of the job can take a heavy toll on our officers and on their family members as well.”

Mrs. Bishop also visited with local children and helped them to craft their own holiday wishes. “You’ll help lift the spirits of some truly dedicated patriots who are sacrificing on our behalf.” The children were excited to make pictures of trees, rainbows, houses, cars, and spaceships. A young girl commented, “I want to draw to make them feel better when they get it.”

In the coming days, we will share some of these very special messages on CIA’s official Twitter and Facebook pages. Stay tuned…

Dec 06, 2018 School Without Walls

CIA officers recently visited School Without Walls, an experiential learning high school in Washington D.C., as part of the Agency’s public outreach. The officers briefed the students on the CIA’s mission, history, and people, and clarified common misconceptions about what it is like to work for the Agency. The officers described a day in the life of a CIA officer and reassured the students that in all but the most sensitive of cases, CIA officers can tell their families generally what they do and where they are traveling in the world. There are also intra-agency support networks for the families of officers serving in dangerous locations. To learn more about what it is like to work for the CIA, click here: “Life at the CIA: Fact or Fiction”. Following the discussion, students presented hand-written thank-you notes to the officers (example shown below).

Dec 01, 2018 Honoring the Legacy of George H.W. Bush—the 11th Director of Central Intelligence

George HW Bush
The men and women of the Central Intelligence Agency join the nation in mourning the loss of one of the most influential and beloved directors in the Agency’s history.

Thirteen years before becoming the President of the United States, George H.W. Bush served as the 11th Director of Central Intelligence (DCI). Many believed leading the CIA would mark an end to his political career. Instead, Bush became the only US president to have previously held the position of DCI, which gave him a unique perspective on both providing and receiving intelligence.

George H.W. Bush served as Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) from January 1976 to January 1977, just ten days shy of one full year. Though his tenure was limited, his accomplishments were not. Bush joined the Agency at a tumultuous time when morale was at an all-time low. He believed strongly in the mission of the Agency, and he believed in the CIA officers serving their nation. As DCI he immediately established himself as a leader who restored the morale and reputation of the CIA.

Legacy at Langley

George H.W. Bush is remembered as one of the CIA’s most impactful and significant directors. His tenure provided a meaningful and helpful “calm between the storms” for the Agency in the 1970s. As the first DCI who had served in Congress, Bush had the political influence to reshape the way the Agency was viewed among its most important stakeholders—the President of the United States and US Policymakers. He did this by focusing on protecting the objectivity and independence of the CIA. Bush truly loved the job of DCI and frequently referred to it as “the best job in Washington.”

In 1999, by Congressional order, the CIA Headquarters compound in Langley, Virginia was renamed the George Bush Center for Intelligence, honoring Bush’s life’s work as a public servant and for setting CIA on a positive trajectory after a time of great troubles at the Agency.

George H.W. Bush was the only producer, as Director of Central Intelligence, and consumer, as President of the United States, of intelligence in a single career. The respect and admiration that still exists 40 years after Bush’s short tenure as DCI speaks volumes to the legacy he left at CIA.

Though we grieve the loss of a remarkable man and leader, we are honored to have had the privilege to serve under his leadership.

To learn more about George H.W. Bush’s tenure as DCI, click here.

Oct 29, 2018 DCIA Haspel Presented with the 2018 William J. Donovan Award

On Saturday 20 October, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Society presented DCIA Haspel with the William J. Donovan Award in recognition of her service to the United States of America. The purpose of the award is to recognize someone who has exemplified the distinguishing features that characterized General Donovan’s lifetime of public service to the United States as a citizen and soldier. Director Haspel is only the second woman and ninth CIA Director to be bestowed with this honor.

In its introduction of Director Haspel, the OSS Society showed a film that honored the impact and influence of women in the OSS, who paved the way for Director Haspel to lead the CIA. In her acceptance speech, the Director highlighted the achievements of America’s intelligence officers, including US efforts in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and the operation to track down Usama bin Ladin. In accepting the Donovan Award, the Director acknowledged and thanked the men and women of the CIA who came before her and those who serve today.

To learn more about the OSS, click here.

Oct 11, 2018 National Disability Employment Awareness Month at CIA

At Director Gina Haspel’s first public address on 24 September, she highlighted diversity and inclusion as one of her top priorities. In line with that priority, CIA leadership is working to raise awareness of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM).

CIA is hosting keynote speakers and holding weekly panels in October, focusing on topics such as blind/low vision, deaf/hard of hearing, physical/mobility challenges, and hidden disabilities. These sessions allow officers to learn about what they can do to make CIA’s culture more inclusive. Each session consists of Agency officers telling their unique stories, sharing their accomplishments, and discussing what they wish everyone knew about their challenges.

While NDEAM may only last for one month, CIA is working hard to increase awareness and making our online tools more accessible. As part of our recruitment efforts, CIA recently created an Ability Talent Broker position and posted new Personal Assistance Services to ensure CIA applicants with disabilities are given reasonable accommodations during their hiring process.

At CIA, National Disability Employment Awareness Month is an opportunity to continue acknowledging and celebrating the vast contributions of CIA officers with disabilities, promoting cultural understanding, and highlighting disability employment issues.

Oct 03, 2018 CIA Director Gina Haspel's Speech at the University of Louisville

On September 24, 2018, CIA Director Gina Haspel returned to her home state of Kentucky to speak at the University of Louisville, as part of the McConnell Center's Distinguished Speaker Series. Director Haspel shared her perspective on leading the Agency and outlined her six strategic priorities.

A transcript of the Director's speech is available here.

Sep 26, 2018 Mi-17 JAWBREAKER Helicopter Arrives at CIA Headquarters

On September 26, 2001, CIA was “first in” taking the fight to al-Qa’ida following the September 11 terrorist attacks.

The JAWBREAKER team – led by Gary Schroen — flew this Mi-17 helicopter for the mission.

The Mi-17 helicopter arrived at CIA Headquarters this month to serve as a symbol of the Agency response.

For more information on the JAWBREAKER mission and CIA’s response in the aftermath of 9/11, see:

Sep 25, 2018 Alyse Nelson visited CIA on Friday, September 21

Alyse Nelson, Co-Founder, President and CEO of Vital Voices Global Partnership, visited CIA on Friday, September 21, for a workforce engagement on leadership. Ms. Nelson shared leadership lessons from women she has worked with around the world and discussed the Vital Voices Leadership Model. She emphasized the importance of having a personal mission statement, leading from a place of empathy, connecting across lines that divide, taking risks, and paying it forward. CIA officers lined up after the session to chat with Ms. Nelson one-on-one. Ms. Nelson also met with members of the Director’s leadership team, the implementation lead for the Diversity in Leadership Study, and representatives from the Diversity and Inclusion Office to discuss the subject of women in leadership.

Sep 09, 2018 CIA Unveils Memorial to Agency K9s

Down a winding path just beyond the Agency memorial pond—home to a cadre of colorful, fat, lazy koi—a new memorial dedicated to CIA’s K9 officers humbly sits upon a small hill, surrounded by grass, trees, and stones.

Earlier this year, the Agency unveiled a new stone monument to honor the dogs who have spent their lives in service to their country.

Carved from a roughhewn boulder, the monument features a paw print, the Agency seal, and an imprint of the Security Protective Service badge.

A simple, poignant inscription reads: “Dedicated to the past, present, and future canines of the Central Intelligence Agency. Their loyalty, courage, and sacrifice will never be forgotten.”

To learn more about CIA’s K9 officers, see our 2017 CIA K9 Series, where for 16 weeks we followed the journey of a new “puppy class” as they learned the ins-and-outs of becoming CIA Explosive Detection Dogs.