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Sep 29, 2015 The OSS Architect Who Designed the UN Logo

Oliver Lincoln Lundquist, a talented architect and industrial designer, worked for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), CIA’s predecessor, during World War II and led the team that designed the official United Nations emblem.

UN prototype emblem
In 1945, the US State Department asked the OSS to help create graphics for the UN Conference on International Organization in San Francisco, where the UN Charter was drafted. Lundquist’s team set out to create a lapel pin for the delegates that could serve as their official form of identification. It was initially designed by another OSS officer, Donal McLaughlin, who worked for Lundquist as the director of graphics for the conference. This became the prototype for the UN logo you see today.

Current UN emblem
The design consisted of a top-down view of the globe, centered on North America and showing all of the continents except Antarctica, with two olive branches on either side to symbolize peace. The design was in shades of blue, a purposeful choice to contract with red, a color traditionally associated with war.

The final emblem chosen by the UN was a slightly modified version of this design.

After his OSS service, Lundquist joined a private practice as an architect, working on hospitals, schools, private residences, and even the former Kodak Building in Manhattan. In 2008, Lundquist passed away at the age of 92.

The UN logo isn’t the only design of Lundquist’s around today. He also created one of the most recognizable product packages still found on store shelves: the blue-and-white Q-Tip box.

Want to learn more?

A fascinating history of the UN logo was written by former OSS officer Donal McLaughlin, called: "Origin of the Emblem and other Recollections of the 1945 UN Conference." [PDF 5.19 MB].

This file was provided courtesy of the UN Archives and Records Management Section.

Sep 16, 2015 Director Brennan Delivers Keynote at President's Daily Brief Public Release Event

John O. Brennan speaks at the President’s Daily Brief Public Release at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas on September 16, 2015 at 2:00pm EST.

Live streaming video by Ustream

Jul 06, 2015 Director Brennan Participates in Mount Vernon 4th of July Naturalization Ceremony

DCIA Brennan delivering keynote at Mount Vernon naturalization ceremony

CIA Director John Brennan was the keynote speaker at Mount Vernon’s special 4th of July Naturalization Ceremony, where 101 new Americans from 45 different countries took the Oath of Allegiance to become American citizens on our country’s 239th Independence Day.

In his speech, Brennan commented on the diverse backgrounds and cultures from which our newest citizens came from. Several even served as members of our armed forces, putting their lives on the line to protect the rights of all Americans before fully enjoying those rights themselves.

“Today,” said Brennan, “in swearing you in as brand-new Americans, we affirm a central tenet of our democracy: that what matters is not where you come from, or

what you look like, or who your parents are. What matters is your commitment to the principles that define us as Americans—the principles of freedom and equality that have guided this Nation since our founding more than two centuries ago. You all entered these beautiful grounds this morning as foreign nationals. You will leave as Americans.”

Here are several photos and a video from the ceremony and the Independence Day festivities, which included daytime fireworks, military reenactments, and a visit from “General George Washington” himself:

DCIA Brennan shaking hands with new citizens at Mount Vernon 4th of July naturalization ceremony

DCIA Brennan delivering keynote at Mount Vernon naturalization ceremony

Reenactors at Mount Vernon during July 4th celebration and naturalization ceremony

See the full video of Director Brennan's speech below:

Jul 02, 2015 Nathan Hale, American Spy... What His Sacrifice Means on Our Independence Day

CIA Director John O. Brennan remembers Nathan Hale and the sacrifices he made in service to freedom and Independence. His statue stands vigilant guard over the Agency and is a continuing reminder to our employees of the duties and sacrifices of an intelligence officer. See the full video and transcript below.


Full Transcript:

"I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." These are said to be the last words of American hero and patriot Nathan Hale, the first American executed for spying for his country.

DCIA on Camera

I’m John Brennan, Director of CIA and statues of Nathan Hale, like this one here at the headquarters of CIA, stand in Connecticut at Yale University . . .

DCIA off Camera

. . . in Washington DC outside the Justice Department, and at Fort Hale. After graduating from Yale in 1773 and teaching school, Hale was commissioned as a captain in the Continental Army. In 1776, during the Battle of Long Island, Hale bravely volunteered to go behind enemy lines and report on British troop movements, and he would be engaging in an act of spying that was immediately punishable by death. It was a risky mission—he had been given virtually no training. Indeed, Nathan Hale was apprehended by the British on the 21st of September and hanged without trial at 11 a.m. the next morning. These images of Nathan Hale capture his spirit the moment before execution– a 21-year-old man prepared to meet his death for honor and country, hands and feet bound, face resolute and his eyes on the horizon. Following Hale’s gallant attempt, our Nation’s fledgling intelligence effort, overseen by George Washington, would grow in sophistication and contribute to America’s victory. Today, Nathan Hale’s statue stands here at CIA as an enduring reminder of the duties and sacrifices inherent to intelligence work.

DCIA on Camera

Hale's bravery has made him an icon of liberty and patriotism. On this 239th anniversary of American independence, we at CIA pay tribute to him and to all the brave Americans who have served our country, defended our freedoms, and protected our way of life.

Apr 15, 2015 Where Spies Go When They Don't Know

The earthy scent of musty books, men and women talking in hushed voices around large oak tables, librarians scurrying from aisle to aisle carrying tomes both old and new… As mysterious as this sounds, it is not the CIA Library of today.

The library at CIA Headquarters is a cutting edge research and information hub. Upon first glance, it looks like many other modern public libraries. Except here, among the periodicals and stacks of books on history, politics, and science, you will find volumes most Americans will never see. That’s because the Agency’s library is also home to the literature of secrets.

Founded in 1947, the CIA Library is a valuable resource to Agency employees. Although most of the books are unclassified and can be found at many community libraries and bookstores, the library includes many materials that are classified. That, and the library’s location at CIA Headquarters, restrict its use to cleared personnel.

The Library provides all-source reference and research services to the Agency by leveraging access to more than 200 domestic and foreign online databases that together include over 90,000 full-text electronic periodicals, dissertations, photographs, biographical resources, and public records.

The Library's print collection includes journals, newspapers, and approximately 100,000 books. Together, these resources cover the fields of international affairs and political science, business and economics, science and technology, and topics of general and scholarly interest. The Library houses special collections on topics such as denial and deception. The Library also participates in interlibrary loans of circulating items with other government and public libraries.

Unique to the CIA Library is the Historical Intelligence Collection (HIC), which is primarily an open-source library dedicated to the collection, retention, and exploitation of material dealing with the intelligence profession. Currently, there are more than 25,000 books and extensive press clippings in the collection.

The oldest item in the HIC is a book on cryptography bound in vellum and published primarily in Latin in 1606. More recently, the Revolutionary War holdings, in particular those on Nathan Hale and Major John André, are extensive and provide a view of basic intelligence operations when good instincts rather than training were the only prerequisites.


To learn more about the CIA Library's HIC, see below:

Mar 13, 2015 Director Brennan Speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations- Watch Full Video

Director John O. Brennan spoke at the Council on Foreign Relations on March 13, 2015 at 1:00 pm EST. See the full video below.


Nov 04, 2014 444 Days in Tehran: The Story of CIA Officers Held Captive During the Iranian Hostage Crisis

It was a warm, sunny November morning when six CIA officers stationed at the US Embassy in Iran first heard the rumblings of a crowd amassing outside. A small group of mostly nonviolent protesters had been gathering near the Embassy for several weeks to demonstrate against US support for the exiled Iranian leader Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. This protest seemed no different. Then, slowly, the noise from the crowd changed, intensified, and grew closer. By mid-morning, a group of radical Islamist students breached the perimeter of the US Embassy on Takht-e-Jamshid Avenue in Tehran and took sixty-six Americans hostage. Fifty-two of the hostages, including the CIA officers, remained in captivity for 444 days. That was 35 years ago.

The Iranian hostage crisis began on November 4, 1979 and was one of the greatest US foreign policy crises of the last century. While much has been written about the crisis, this week we recount the story of two CIA officers who were held hostage during this critical point in American history.

Read Part 1: Storming of the Embassy: November 4, 1979

Read Part 2: Life in Captivity

Read Part 3: The Release: January 20, 1981

Oct 02, 2014 2014 CIA Trailblazer Awards Presented

Last month, Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan presented this year’s Trailblazer Awards to Donald R. Cryer and another valued employee, whose work remains classified. The Trailblazer Awards were established in 1997 to recognize CIA officers who, by their actions, example, innovations or initiative, have taken the CIA in important new directions and helped shape the Agency’s history. This year’s honorees continue this tradition.

Since 2008, the CIA has recognized officers with an award for outstanding work in promoting diversity and inclusion to enhance the mission. In 2010, that award was officially renamed for Cryer, a 42-year veteran of the Agency and tireless advocate who laid the groundwork for CIA’s diversity and inclusion programs. His concentration on building an inclusive, high-performing workforce through strategic planning, succession planning and success measurement—as well as his emphasis on removing obstacles and barriers that impede employee success—remains in effect today. Cryer attributes the accomplishments recognized by the Trailblazer Award to the host of people who mentored, supported and inspired him throughout his career.

To read about previous Trailblazer Award recipients, follow these links:

Sep 15, 2014 CIA Reaches Deep to Feed Local Families

brennanfedsfeedfamiliesThe "Feds Feed Families" food drive, which began in early June, concluded last month with Central Intelligence Agency officers having donated 11,798 pounds of food to local families at risk of hunger. This year's poundage nearly doubled the 2013 campaign, which accumulated about 6,300 pounds. All of the food donated by CIA was delivered to the Capital Area Food Bank, which distributed it to local families.

During the past five years, federal employees have donated more than 24 million pounds of food. Goods collected through the program are distributed to several hundred food banks, soup kitchens, and other service organizations across the metropolitan area. Food is processed quickly on a first-in, first-out basis and can take as little as two weeks to get to needy families.

Sep 05, 2014 CIA Unveils Portrait of Former Director Leon E. Panetta

Today, CIA honored the legacy of former Director Potrait of Former Director Leon E. PanettaLeon E. Panetta with the unveiling of his portrait, which joins those of his predecessors in the Agency’s Directors’ Gallery. Mr. Panetta served as CIA Director from February 2009 to June 2011, leading the Agency and managing human intelligence and open source collection programs on behalf of the Intelligence Community. At the portrait unveiling ceremony, CIA Director John Brennan spoke of Mr. Panetta’s many achievements during his tenure at CIA, including the operation that killed the world’s most wanted terrorist. In addition, Director Brennan praised the work of the artist, Steven Polson, who also painted the agency’s official portraits of former directors George Tenet and General Michael Hayden.