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Dec 21, 2017 Director Pompeo Presents Toys for Tots to Marines

The 2017 Operation Santa Claus campaign was a great success. The Agency collected 27 boxes of toys that will be gifted to children in need. This year, CIA continued a long tradition of being one of the largest donors to the Toys for Tots Foundation in the Washington area.

On December 7th, Director Pompeo presented the toys to Colonel Francis Piccoli and the Marine Corps Reserve in support of the Marines’ Toys for Tots campaign. Colonel Piccoli then presented the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Commander’s Award to Director Pompeo, who accepted the recognition on behalf of the Agency.

CIA began Operation Santa Claus in 1968 and has formally collaborated with the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation since 2000.

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Col. Piccoli presents Director Pompeo with the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Commander’s Award.
Nov 09, 2017 November 10, 1997: Killer of CIA Officers at HQs Convicted

On November 10, 1997, a jury in Fairfax County, Virginia, found Pakistani national Aimal Kasi guilty on one count of capital murder, one count of first degree murder, and three counts of malicious wounding—charges that stemmed from his shooting rampage at the entrance to CIA Headquarters in 1993. For many CIA officers, however, a more satisfying moment had come several months earlier when DCI George Tenet informed them that Kasi had been apprehended after a four-and-a-half-year manhunt and returned to Virginia to face justice for murdering and maiming their colleagues.

The saga occurred on January 25, 1993 when the gunman opened fire on employees who were waiting to drive onto the Agency’s Langley compound. Two Agency officers died: Lansing Bennett, a medical doctor in the Directorate of Administration (now Directorate of Support), and Frank Darling, a communications engineer, and three were wounded. In the ensuing chaos, the gunman fled the scene, leaving stunned witnesses and conflicting accounts of his appearance. By the time the FBI and Fairfax County Police had identified him, Kasi had flown back to Pakistan and blended into the lawless border area near Afghanistan.

CIA embarked on a dogged, often frustrating, effort to apprehend the man who had killed two of its own. Within hours of the shootings, the Agency established a task force comprising a broad array of specialties and began working with the FBI and the Department of State to track down the gunman. As CIA officers grew more confident about Kasi’s whereabouts, they came up with a variety of plans to lure him out of hiding and explored means and authorities for getting him back to the United States to stand trial. Despite frequent dead ends, the hunt for Kasi was, says one of the leading participants, a relentless effort that took priority over everything else and would never suffer from lack of funding.

The pursuers’ dedication paid off. Kasi was located in Pakistan and arrested by the FBI on June 17, 1997. Two days later, a US military aircraft with Kasi aboard departed Islamabad for Dulles Airport in Virginia, where a delegation of senior CIA officials, including DCI Tenet, was waiting. Kasi was then tried in Fairfax County, Virginia, the scene of his crime. On January 24, 1998, shortly after the jury reached its verdict, he was sentenced to death. On November 14, 2002, he was executed by lethal injection.

On May 24, 2002, Agency officers dedicated the Route 123 Memorial to two fallen colleagues. The Memorial is located on the west side of the Virginia Route 123 entrance (alongside the outbound right lane). It includes a walkway leading to a 9-foot by 3 foot granite wall. Benches dedicated to Lansing Bennett and Frank Darling, who were shot to death on Jan. 25, 1993, on Route 123, face each other in front of the granite wall.
Nov 02, 2017 Pupdate: Training the Handlers

The pups have finished their imprint training and have officially been paired with their human partners!

The CIA handlers in this class are all “retreads” – handlers that have had a previous K9 partner. In fact, the handlers’ current K9 partners are retiring on the same day their new K9 partners graduate! As usual, the handlers and their families are adopting the veteran dogs, who will live out the rest of their lives being pampered and spoiled by their human families.

The first few weeks of lessons for the new K9-handler teams are spent in the classroom. As the pups continue to refine their skills, the handlers take advanced classes on subjects like firearms and explosives, as well as emergency veterinary care for dogs. The classes are taught by experts in their respective fields, and provide hands-on experience for the handlers.

Boston, a senior yellow lab belonging to a guest lecturer, keeps a close eye on the handlers as they practice CPR on K9 mannequins. This is just one of the many things the handlers learn during their emergency K9 crisis care classes.

What’s next for the new K9-handler teams? As the pups continue with their advanced training, they’ll apply everything they’ve learned so far in simulated exercises.

If you miss any of the articles in this series, visit “Follow CIA’s New Puppy Class!” main page, where we are chronicling the puppies’ progresses throughout their training.

Oct 19, 2017 Pupdate: A New Pup Joins the Class!

Yesterday, we announced that Lulu was no longer with the CIA Explosive Detection K9 Training Program. Her handler adopted her, and she’s now living the life of a pet dog, being spoiled by him and his family.

Lulu’s handler, however, still needs a K9 partner for explosive detection work. The puppy class was still in the imprint stage of training when Lulu left the program, so our K9 instructors decided to bring on a new pup and try to catch her or him up to the rest of the class.

We’d like to introduce you to the newest member of CIA’s fall 2017 “puppy class”…

Meet Heron (aka "Harry")!

Harry is a male black lab from Susquehanna Service Dogs. He’s a goofy, high energy fella who loves to jump and play. At just over a year old, he’s the youngest pup in the class, but has an incredible drive to learn and is super smart.

Harry’s got a lot of work to do to catch up to the ladies, but our training staff is ready to put in the extra time and attention it will require.

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Harry during his first lesson as an explosive detection K9.

Harry learns to seek a target odor placed inside of the can.

Harry jumps up to seek a target odor in a small tin held by a trainer.

Harry eagerly waits for a kibble from the trainer after finding a target odor.

Harry enjoys some playtime with a trainer in the booth.

Follow Harry and the rest of the class’s progress, as they finish imprint training and start advanced training with their new handlers.

If you miss any of the articles in this series, visit “Follow CIA’s New Puppy Class!” main page, where we are chronicling the puppies’ progresses throughout their training.

Oct 18, 2017 Pupdate: A Pup Leaves the Class

For our K9 trainers, it’s imperative that the dogs enjoy the job they’re doing. Sometimes, even when a pup tests well and they successfully learn how to detect explosive odors, they make it clear that being an explosive detection K9 is not the life for them. Such is the case for one of the fall 2017 “puppy class” pups.

We are sad to announce that Lulu has been dropped from the program.

A few weeks into training, Lulu began to show signs that she wasn’t interested in detecting explosive odors. All dogs, just like most human students, have good days and bad days when learning something new. The same is true during our puppy classes. A pup might begin acting lazy, guessing where the odors are, or just showing a general disregard for whatever is being taught at the moment. Usually it lasts for a day, maybe two.

There can be a million reasons why a particular dog has a bad day, and the trainers become doggy psychologists trying to figure out what will help the dog come out of its funk. Sometimes the pup is bored and just needs extra playtime or more challenges, sometimes the dog need a little break, and sometimes it’s a minor medical condition like a food allergy requiring switching to a different kibble. After a few days, the trainers work the pup through whatever issue has arisen, and the dog is back eagerly and happily ready to continue training.

Lulu enjoying retirement with her best buddy, Harry.
But for some dogs, like Lulu, it becomes clear that the issue isn’t temporary. Instead, this just isn’t the job they are meant for. Lulu was no longer interested in searching for explosives. Even when they could motivate her with food and play to search, she was clearly not enjoying herself any longer. Our trainers’ top concern is the physical and mental well-being of our dogs, so they made the extremely difficult decision to do what’s best for Lulu and drop her from the program.

When a dog is dropped or retires from our program, the handler or handler’s family is given the chance to adopt them. Most handlers, of course, choose to do so. The dogs are their partners and have become members of their family, even after just a few weeks of training together. Lulu was a adopted by her loving handler, who had the chance to work with her during imprint training. She now enjoys her days playing with his kids, sniffing out rabbits and squirrels in the backyard, and eating meals and snacks out of a dog dish. We’ll miss Lulu, but this was the right decision for her. We wish her all the best in her new life.

Lulu was adopted by her handler, but he still needs an explosive detection K9 partner at work. Check back tomorrow to meet the newest addition to the fall 2017 puppy class.

If you miss any of the articles in this series, visit “Follow CIA’s New Puppy Class!” main page, where we are chronicling the puppies’ progresses throughout their training.

Jul 27, 2017 Top Ten Reasons to Apply to the CIA Scholarship Program

Did you know the CIA has scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students? Did you know you could get paid to go to school? Here are our top 10 reasons to apply to the CIA Scholarship Program:

  1. Contribute to protecting our nation as a part of the prestigious CIA workforce
  2. Tuition assistance - up to $18,000 per calendar year for tuition, mandatory fees and books
  3. Annual salary - even when you’re at school
  4. Food money. Non-local students receive a daily allowance for meals and incidentals during your summer internship
  5. Paid time off, as well as sick and holiday leave
  6. Potential travel opportunities
  7. Exceptional training and work experience
  8. Superior foreign language resources to expand upon your language skills or obtain new ones
  9. Potential for employment at CIA after graduation and successful completion of the CIA Scholarship Program
  10. Additional benefits: health and life insurance, as well as a Federal retirement plan

For more information on the benefits and requirements for the CIA Undergraduate and Graduate Scholarship Program, please click on the following links:

Want to hear more about what it is like to work as a CIA scholarship student? Click here to read about a Day in the Life of a Scholarship Recipient.

Jul 02, 2017 Trying to Photograph a UFO?

You never know what you’ll find when browsing through CIA’s FOIA archives

In celebration of World UFO Day, we dug up some long lost tips on how to take photographs of UFOs:

That begs the question: Did CIA really investigate UFOs?

This is one of the most common FOIA inquiries we receive. Whether a skeptic or believer, discover the facts for yourself by taking a peek into our “X-Files,” and then learn all the ins-and-outs of how to investigate a flying saucer claim.

Jun 01, 2017 OSS 75th Anniversary

The Glorious Amateurs: OSS Turns 75!

The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) is the precursor of today’s CIA. Created on June 13, 1942, just after America's entry into WWII, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed William “Wild Bill” Donovan, a highly decorated WWI officer, as Director of the OSS. Donovan organized the OSS to reflect his vision of a national intelligence center, uniquely combining research and analysis, covert operations, counterintelligence, espionage, and technical development.

Today’s CIA derives a significant institutional and spiritual legacy from the OSS. In some cases, this legacy descended directly: key personnel, files, funds, procedures, and contacts. In other cases, the legacy is less tangible but no less real: the professionalization of intelligence, the organizational esprit de corps, the essential role of national intelligence in policy-making and war fighting. The CIA owes a debt of gratitude to the OSS and to Donovan, the charismatic leader and moving force behind it.

This month, as we celebrate OSS’s 75th anniversary, we will showcase some of the fine women and men who made up America’s first intelligence agency. Some stories will be quite familiar to many of you, while others highlight officers whose stories were lost to history only to be rediscovered after digging through the yellowed files of dusty archives. And some characters are famous personalities in their own right, but whose affiliation with OSS may surprise you.

Throughout the month of June, we will highlight a different OSS officer every day. Find links to their stories below. Visit often, as new links will appear daily.

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OSS Officer of the Day:

June 30: The Courage and Daring of "The Limping Lady" - Virginia Hall

June 29: Deceiving the Enemy - Barbara Lauwers

June 28: “What the Heck Was I Gonna Do With a Dumb Gun?” - The Derring-Do of Stephanie Czech Rader

June 27: Singing for a Cause - Marlene Dietrich

June 26: The Indomitable Maria Gulovich

June 25: The Analytical Giant - Russell Jack Smith

June 24: The OSS Architect Who Designed the UN Logo - Oliver Lincoln Lundquist

June 23: The Brainiest Man in Baseball: Moe Berg

June 22: The Mystery of Jane Wallis Burrell

June 21: "Hell on Wheels" - Lyman Kirkpatrick

June 20: Sala Dasananda - Free Thai Movement

June 19: Spy Girl - Betty McIntosh

June 18: The Negotiator - James Donovan

June 17: The First Female Intelligence Cartographer - Marion Frieswyk

June 16: From Star Student to True Patriot - Remembering Chiyoki "Chick" Ikeda

June 15: The Saboteur of Brenner Pass - Roderick Stephen Hall

June 14: Life Before French Cuisine - Julia Child

June 13: Today marks the 75th anniversary of the Office of Strategic Services! #OSS75

June 12: Legionnaire, OSS Officer, US Marine and Hollywood Heartthrob - Peter Ortiz

June 11: War Movies - John Ford

June 10: Fighting for Justice - Arthur Goldberg

June 9: Remembering CIA's Heroes - Nels "Benny" Benson

June 8: Christian Lambertsen and the Secret Story Behind Scuba

June 7: The Collector - Walter Pforzheimer

June 6: Ask Joe - Remembering CIA Founding Member and Hero, Joe Procaccino

June 5: The History-Maker - Remembering Ambassador Hugh Montgomery

June 4: From Walt Disney to War Movies - Robert Carey Broughton

June 3: The Spymaster's Assistant - Fisher Howe

June 2: CIA Trailblazer - Eloise Page

June1: The Father of American Intelligence - Gen. William "Wild Bill" Donovan

Jan 04, 2017 CIA's Top 10 Stories of 2016

Interested in taking a peek into our X-Files? Want to know more about Hamilton’s spy on the inside? Curious how to make invisible ink? Then you’re in luck.

This year’s most popular stories on have a little something for everyone.

From tributes to our unsung heroes who lost their lives in service to their country, to the surprising truth behind who was the first to crack the ENIGMA cipher (hint: it wasn’t Alan Turing), our articles have covered a lot of topics.

We hope you enjoy this year’s Top 10 stories, and we can’t wait to surprise you with more untold tales, little know wonders, and heroic endeavors in 2017!

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#10. Bush as Director of Central Intelligence

#9. The Spy Catcher: Jeanne Vertefeuille

#8. Who First Cracked the ENIGMA Cipher?

#7. Remembering CIA’s Heroes: Leslianne Shedd

#6. Secret Writing

#5. The Spymaster’s Toolkit

#4. The Mystery of Jane Wallis Burrell: First CIA Officer To Die in the Agency’s Service

#3. Minutes and Years: The Bin Ladin Operation

#2. The Legend of Hercules Mulligan

#1. Take a Peek Into Our X-Files

Interested in more stories?

Jan 04, 2017 Surprising Stories You May Have Missed in 2016

Vietnam, cartography, the Bay of Pigs, UFOs … curious what CIA has to say about these topics? You’re not alone. That’s why we dug deep into our archives to uncover the stories behind some of the most asked about Agency history, and then wrote about what we found as articles throughout this past year.

If you missed any of the articles, don’t worry.

Below, in no particular order, are the tales of CIA’s past that you might have wondered about, but never knew we wrote about in 2016.

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Flying Saucers or Soviets? How to Investigate a UFO

TRIGON: Spies Passing in the Night

The Negotiator

The Bay of Pigs Invasion

Telling Data Stories: An Interview

CIA and the Wars in Southeast Asia

The Mapmaker’s Craft: A History of Cartography at CIA

Remembering CIA’s Heroes: Nels “Benny” Benson

A Contingency for Every Action

Twenty Years of Pride

Interested in more stories?