The CIA's Original Headquarters Building was designed in the mid-1950s by the New York firm Harrison and Abramovitz. The designers followed the vision of former DCI Allen Dulles, who dreamed of a place where intelligence officers could work in a college campus-like atmosphere. He also wanted this secure and secluded environment to be close to US policymakers. (Langley is eight miles outside of downtown Washington.) OHB's cornerstone was laid on Nov. 3, 1959. Construction was completed in March 1961. OHB consists of 1,400,000 square feet of space. OHB and its companion, New Headquarters Building, sit on 258 acres of land.Back to Top
In May 1959, with the site under security surveillance and contractors wearing security badges, work began on the Original Headquarters Building. On November 3 of that year, President Eisenhower came to Langley to place the time capsule and to lay the cornerstone. But that November ceremony was largely symbolic. The box and cornerstone were later removed and held for safekeeping until they were permanently installed more than a year later. (The silver-engraved trowel the President used can be found in the CIA Museum Collection.)
When the press asked Dulles after the ceremony what was in the box, he smiled and said, "It's a secret." Despite the DCI's joke, everything in the copper-covered steel box was unclassified. In addition to the items mentioned below, the National Security Medal, the Distinguished Intelligence Cross, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the Intelligence Star, and the Intelligence Medal of Merit were added to the box later.
Contents of the cornerstone box include:
This CIA seal is a hallmark of the Original Headquarters Building lobby. The large granite seal – which measures 16 feet in diameter – has been the symbol of the CIA since Feb. 17, 1950. This emblem is comprised of the eagle, the shield and the16-point compass star. The eagle is our national bird and stands for strength and alertness. The 16-point compass star represents the convergence of intelligence data from around the world at a central point. The shield is the standard symbol of defense; US policymakers make decisions that defend our country through the intelligence we gather. This seal is one of the most identifiable symbols of the CIA and has appeared in many entertainment and documentary motion pictures.Back to Top
The Memorial Wall is on the north wall of the Original Headquarters Building lobby. This wall of 133 stars stands as a silent, simple memorial to those CIA officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Above the stars, a simple inscription reads: "In honor of those members of the Central Intelligence Agency who gave their lives in the service of their country." The Memorial Wall was commissioned by the CIA Fine Arts Commission in May 1973 and sculpted by Harold Vogel in July 1974.
There are 133 stars carved into the marble of the CIA Memorial Wall.
The Honor and Merit Awards Board (HMAB) recommends approval of the nomination to the CIA Director if it meets the following selection criteria:
Inclusion on the Memorial Wall is awarded posthumously to employees who lose their lives while serving their country in the field of intelligence. Death may occur in the foreign field or in the United States. Death must be of an inspirational or heroic character while in the performance of duty; or as the result of an act of terrorism while in the performance of duty; or as an act of premeditated violence targeted against an employee, motivated solely by that employee's Agency affiliation; or in the performance of duty while serving in areas of hostilities or other exceptionally hazardous conditions where the death is a direct result of such hostilities or hazards.
The HMAB reviews the circumstances surrounding the death of an employee and makes its recommendation to the DCIA for final approval. Once approved by the DCIA, the Office of Protocol arranges placement of the star on the Memorial Wall.
Stone carver Tim Johnston – of Carving and Restoration Team in Manassas, Va. – is called upon to add the star to the Memorial Wall.
Tim creates a star by first tracing the new star on the wall using a template. Each star measures 2-1/4 inches tall by 2-1/4 inches wide and half an inch deep; all the stars are six inches apart from each other, as are all the rows. Tim uses both a pneumatic air hammer and a chisel to carve out the traced pattern. After he finishes carving the star, he cleans the dust and sprays the star black, which as the star ages, fades to gray. Tim earned this craft from the Memorial Wall's original sculptor, Harold Vogel.
The new star is officially unveiled at the CIA's annual Memorial Ceremony.Back to Top
Below the Memorial Wall sits the glass-encased "Book of Honor." It lists the names of 98 officers who died while serving their country. The names of the remaining 35 officers must remain secret, even in death; each of these officers is remembered in the book by a star. This wall memorializes those men and women who served and sacrificed in silence.Back to Top
In the main lobby of Original Headquarters Building is a bas-relief of Allen Dulles. Dulles was the fifth and longest-serving Director of Central Intelligence. He envisioned a place where intelligence officers could work in a college campus-like atmosphere. This vision resulted in the CIA's current headquarters compound. Dulles was one of four directors who served in the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor to the CIA. The sculpture was a gift to the Agency from several CIA officers. Heinz Warneke sculpted the bas-relief; it was dedicated on March 20, 1968.Back to Top
Allen Dulles, the fifth and longest-serving Director of Central Intelligence, took a personal interest in the construction of the Original Headquarters Building (OHB). At the dedication ceremony for OHB, Dulles included a quotation in his speech: "And Ye Shall Know the Truth and the Truth Shall Make You Free" – John 8:32. Dulles insisted that the quotation be fixed in stone in the OHB Lobby.Back to Top
On the south wall of the Original Headquarters Building lobby is the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Memorial. The OSS was the precursor to the CIA. This memorial is dedicated to the men and women who lost their lives while serving in the OSS during WWII. The memorial consists of a single star on the wall and a book that lists the names of the 116 OSS fallen.Back to Top
The OSS "Book of Honor" sits in a glass-enclosed case on a marble pedestal beneath the star. The book lists the names of the 116 OSS fallen. The page is held open by a black ribbon with a replica of the official uniform patch affixed to it.Back to Top
A statue of Maj. Gen. William J. Donovan stands in solemn watch next to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Memorial. Donovan was the head of the OSS and is the "Father of Modern American Intelligence Gathering." Donovan is responsible for developing the five principles of the CIA:
The Donovan statue was dedicated on Oct. 26, 1988, and was commissioned by the late Director of Central Intelligence William J. Casey.
The complete OSS Memorial – with its single star and the OSS Book of Honor – was dedicated on June 12, 1992 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Office of Strategic Services.Back to Top
This memorial honors the sacrifice of those from foreign nations who died while sharing CIA’s mission. The inscription reads: In honor of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the silent struggle for freedom.
The sculpture symbolizes the concepts of unity, giving, trust, globalization, and loss. The fabric drape is representative of a global matrix of people working together, like the threads that make up fabric. The laurel, a symbol of commemoration, is knotted because the knot is a symbol of unity, solidarity, and trust. The knot further conveys the shared mission in the struggle for freedom. The etched map of the world signifies the global reach of the shared effort. The draping of the fabric can be seen as a veil: a symbol of silence, grief, and loss. The eagle is a symbol of vigilance.Back to Top
A bust of former Director of Central Intelligence and President George Herbert Walker Bush resides at the top of the steps in the Original Headquarters Building main lobby. In 1982, the late Vincent Melzac, a former director of the Corcoran Gallery, commissioned Marc Mellon to sculpt the likeness of then-vice president Bush. The bust was on display at the Bush residence until Melzac donated it to the CIA in 1985.
President Bush holds a distinction in CIA history – he is the only man to serve as both head of the CIA and president of the United States. To honor his unique role in CIA's history, the Agency compound was renamed on April 26, 1999, by congressional action under the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999, "The George Bush Center for Intelligence."Back to Top Back to Top
Official portraits of the former CIA directors are located on the first floor corridor of the Original Headquarters Building. Each director chooses the artist he wishes to paint his portrait after he leaves office. The gallery contains portraits of the Directors of Central Intelligence beginning with Rear Admiral Sidney W. Souers (USNR) and currently concluding with Leon E. Panetta. Each portrait is painted only after the Director completes his tenure.
The portrait gallery also includes a portrait of Major General William J. Donovan. While Gen. Donovan did not hold the position of Director of Central Intelligence, he did serve as the Director of the Office of Strategic Services, the World War II-era forerunner of CIA. To learn more about the men in the portraits, read The Directors and Deputy Directors of Central Intelligence located in the Center for the Study of Intelligence section of our Web site.Directors Major General William J. Donovan
Coordinator of Information 11 July 1941–13 June 1942 Director of Strategic Services 13 June 1942–1 October 1945 Portrait by Thomas E. Stevens, 1957 Not a work of the US GovernmentDirectors Home Next Director Rear Admiral Sidney W. Souers
23 January–10 June 1946 Portrait by Clarence Lamont MacNelly Not a work of the US GovernmentPrevious Director Next Director Lt. General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, USA
10 June 1946–1 May 1947 Portrait by Clarence Lamont MacNelly Not a work of the US GovernmentPrevious Director Next Director Rear Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter, USN
1 May 1947–7 October 1950 Portrait by Marcella Comes Not a work of the US GovernmentPrevious Director Next Director Gen. Walter Bedell Smith, USA
7 October 1950–9 February 1953 Portrait by William F. Draper, 1958 Not a work of the US GovernmentPrevious Director Next Director The Honorable Allen W. Dulles
26 February 1953–29 November 1961 Portrait by Gardner Cox, 1961 Not a work of the US GovernmentPrevious Director Next Director The Honorable John A. McCone
29 November 1961–28 April 1965 Portrait by Cedric Baldwin Egeli, after William F. Draper Not a work of the US GovernmentPrevious Director Next Director Vice Admiral William F. Raborn, Jr., USN (Ret.)
28 April 1965–30 June 1966 Portrait by Rudolph A. Bernatschke Not a work of the US GovernmentPrevious Director Next Director The Honorable Richard M. Helms
30 June 1966–2 February 1973 Portrait by William F. Draper, 1971 Not a work of the US GovernmentPrevious Director Next Director The Honorable James R. Schlesinger
2 February 1973–2 July 1973 Portrait by Lloyd Embry, 1973 Not a work of the US GovernmentPrevious Director Next Director The Honorable William E. Colby
4 September 1973–30 January 1976 Portrait by Lloyd Embry, 1974 Not a work of the US GovernmentPrevious Director Next Director The Honorable George H. W. Bush
30 January 1976–20 January 1977 Portrait by Clarence Lamont MacNelly, 1977 Not a work of the US GovernmentPrevious Director Next Director Admiral Stansfield Turner, USN (Ret.)
9 March 1977–20 January 1981 Portrait by Cedric Baldwin Egeli, 1985 Not a work of the US GovernmentPrevious Director Next Director The Honorable William J. Casey
28 January 1981–29 January 1987 Portrait by Everett Raymond Kinstler, 1984 Not a work of the US GovernmentPrevious Director Next Director The Honorable William H. Webster
26 May 1987–31 August 1991 Portrait by Everett Raymond Kinstler, 1990 Not a work of the US GovernmentPrevious Director Next Director The Honorable Robert M. Gates
6 November 1991–20 January 1993 Portrait by Everett Raymond Kinstler, 1993 Not a work of the US GovernmentPrevious Director Next Director The Honorable R. James Woolsey
5 February 1993–10 January 1995 Portrait by Everett Raymond Kinstler Not a work of the US GovernmentPrevious Director Next Director The Honorable John M. Deutch
10 May 1995–15 December 1996 Portrait by Everett Raymond Kinstler Not a work of the US GovernmentPrevious Director Next Director The Honorable George J. Tenet
16 December 1996–11 July 2004 Portrait by Steven Polson, 2008 Not a work of the US GovernmentPrevious Director Next Director The Honorable Porter J. Goss
24 September 2004–21 April 2005 Portrait by Chas Fagan, 2008 Not a work of the US GovernmentPrevious Director Next Director The Honorable Leon E. Panetta
13 February 2009–30 June 2011 Portrait by Steven Polson, 2014 Not a work of the US GovernmentPrevious Director Back to Top
The CIA Museum was established in 1988 to give employees a sense of the unique history of their profession. This collection focuses on the CIA's World War II predecessor, the Office of Strategic Services, to the present-day CIA.Galleries
The OSS Gallery features the personal effects reflecting the career of Maj. Gen. William J. Donovan, the head of OSS, as well as numerous examples of OSS tradecraft (much of which was used by CIA after it was established by President Truman in 1947), to items from the Persian Gulf War and the end of the Cold War.Gallery Home Next Gallery Cold War Gallery
The Cold War Gallery is located near the Original Headquarters Building main lobby. The staff of the Center for the Study of Intelligence, working in collaboration with collector and historian H. Keith Melton, established this exhibit in 1997 as part of the CIA's 50th Anniversary celebration. "The Cold War: Fifty Years of Silent Conflict" exhibit showcases some of Melton’s 6,000 clandestine espionage artifacts from the United States, the former Soviet Union, and East Germany. These artifacts are currently on loan by Melton.Previous Gallery Next Gallery Directorate of Intelligence Gallery
For over 50 years the Directorate of Intelligence (DI) has informed US presidents and other policymakers about the world in which they live. DI analysts have evaluated “raw” information relating to national security and turned it into “finished” intelligence, from current to long-range, written as brief reports or as in-depth studies. The DI has covered crises and confrontations, produced timely insights available nowhere else, and put them into the right hands. In November 2002, the DI and the CIA Museum opened the only exhibit on intelligence analysis in the country to commemorate the DI’s 50th anniversary. Some of the unique items displayed include Francis Gary Powers’ U-2 model and an al-Qa’ida training manual.Previous Gallery Next Gallery Directorate of Science & Technology Gallery
Among the nation's greatest secrets are those involving the CIA men and women who apply their skills and expertise in pure science, applied engineering, master craftsmanship, operational tradecraft, and linguistics to provide America's leaders with critically important intelligence on the world. “The Directorate of Science & Technology — People & Technology In the Service of Freedom” commemorates the 40th Anniversary of the DS&T and provides a glimpse into this secret world. The items displayed here were designed by some of America's most advanced thinkers, adapting existing technologies or inventing new ones — selflessly putting themselves in the service of freedom.Previous Gallery Next Gallery Afghan Gallery
In the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the President of the United States ordered the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) to launch a operations against the al-Qa’ida terrorist organization and its Taliban supporters in Afghanistan. This order called for unilateral CIA operations to collect real-time, actionable intelligence to help shape the battlefield and to use all means to find and destroy al-Qa’ida. Within 15 days of the attacks on US soil, the first team of CIA officers was on the ground and operating in Afghanistan.
CIA teams blended diverse talents and highly experienced leaders who excelled in missions demanding independence, skill, initiative, and bravery. Operations officers, paramilitary officers, medics, field communications specialists, logistics officers, aircrews, firearms instructors, cartographers, computer technicians, analysts, reports officers, translators, and security officers were assembled by mission and operated as a flexible network that could accommodate varying geographic, tribal, and tactical conditions.
The combined efforts of US intelligence, US military forces, Afghan allies, and coalition partners formed the cornerstone of success in Afghanistan. In the ongoing Global War on Terror, all tools of US Intelligence will be directed toward defeating this global threat. CIA will continue to seek the right people to carry the battle to the enemy wherever they try to hide.
Through the exemplars of OSS and Operation Enduring Freedom unconventional warfare tradecraft and technologies, “On the Front Lines: The CIA in Afghanistan” presents artifacts and images relating to the global offensive against international terrorism. The uniquely visual exhibit addresses the importance of joint operations, cross-community relationships, and sacrifice while providing a current-mission focus in support of operational, training, and recruiting outreach.Previous Gallery Back to Top
The CIA's library is a valuable resource to Agency employees and is available to Agency personnel only. It contains approximately 125,000 books and subscribes to about 1,700 periodicals. The library maintains three collections: Reference, Circulating, and Historical Intelligence. New material for these collections is selected around current intelligence objectives and priorities.
The reference collection includes core research tools such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, commercial directories, atlases, diplomatic lists, and foreign and domestic phone books. CD-ROMs and extensive commercial database services round out the collection.
The circulating collection consists of monographs, newspapers, and journals. The library also participates in interlibrary loans of circulating items with other government and public libraries.
The Historical Intelligence Collection 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.Back to Top
Every day, Agency employees walk past several abstract paintings that hang throughout the Headquarters buildings. These 29 paintings do not just break up the acres of wall space. They represent an elemental approach to art, a swashbuckling donor, and a connection to the architecture of the OHB.
The way the eye perceives color and pattern were the subjects of Norman Bluhm, Gene Davis, Howard Mehring, Kenneth Noland, Thomas Downing, Alma Thomas, and the other artists of the Washington Color School. Their patron — and the donor of this collection to the Agency, the late Vincent Melzac — was a larger-than-life figure.
Melzac's first loan of art to the CIA came in 1968, when eight large paintings by Norman Bluhm, Gene Davis, Thomas Downing, and Jack Bush were selected by officials of the Corcoran Gallery to fit the large open spaces of OHB. A sculpture by Giorgio Spaventa was also loaned at that time; it now resides in the Vatican. Melzac also donated the bust of George Bush by sculptor Marc Mellon which is near the OHB lobby. Melzac was awarded the Agency Seal Medallion by DCI Casey in 1982 for his generous support to the CIA.Back to Top
By the early 1980s, it was clear that the Agency needed to expand beyond the Original Headquarters Building. By this time, there was a need for an additional building and more parking. Smith, Hinchman and Grylls Associates presented a design that was functional for the Agency's needs and would blend in with the existing OHB structure.
The final design is two, six- story office towers built into a hillside behind OHB. The New Headquarters Building is linked to the OHB building in a seamless blend of the two structures. The main entrance to NHB is on the fourth floor. Inside the entrance, one is greeted by a huge skylight ceiling and, at the end of the entry corridor, a spectacular view of the OHB.
The groundbreaking ceremony for NHB took place on May 24, 1984; the building was completed by March 1991.Back to Top
The NHB atrium hosts a collection of statues donated to the Central Intelligence Agency. The statues in the collection include "The Day the Wall Came Down ," "Windwalker ," and "Intrepid ."
Capturing the joy of freedom as the Berlin Wall fell on Nov. 9, 1989, "The Day the Wall Came Down," by sculptor Veryl Goodnight, was added to the collection on Oct. 5, 2000. Known for her monument-size works, Goodnight is also one of the most renowned sculptors of horses in the United States. Artists have long used horses to represent freedom; this statue is no exception. Its flow of movement symbolizes the personal drive for freedom shared round the world. The wall in the sculpture represents all the obstacles to personal freedom both in the past and present. The stallion, representing man, is positioned on the east side of the wall urging the mares, representative of families, to a better life of freedom in the West.Next Sculpture Windwalker – NHB Lobby
Our national symbol, the eagle, represents vigilance, alertness, strength, courage and freedom. This dramatic 48-inch bronze eagle by sculptor Kitty Cantrell embodies all these qualities. Windwalker was added to the sculpture collection on April 1, 2002. Named for Cherokee medicine woman Five Feathered Windwalker, the sculpture belonged to the late Richard and Eleonore Morgner; their children gifted it to the Agency.
An example of an American success story, the Morgners emigrated to the United States from Germany in 1954 with little money and went on to establish 13 different companies. One of those companies, Superior Iron Works, a construction company, contributed to the construction of the New Headquarters Building, which now houses the statue. One of their children was also an employee of the CIA.
In 1999, Eleonore and Richard Morgner were killed when their private plane crashed. "Windwalker" was a favorite sculpture of Mr. Morgner's. As a tribute to their parents, the Morgner children donated the sculpture to the Agency in recognition of the courageous work of those who serve the CIA, acknowledging that, through this work, the Agency helps protect citizens of the United States and the immigrants who look to this country as the land of opportunity.Previous Sculpture Next Sculpture Intrepid – NHB Lobby
A gift of the Intrepid Society of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, this 22-inch statue of Sir William Stephenson (code-named "Intrepid") was dedicated on May 2, 2000. The statue is a limited edition replica of a larger than life size bronze that stands on the Legislative grounds in Sir William's birthplace of Winnipeg, Canada. Sculpted by world-renowned artist Dr. Leo Mol, the statue depicts the WWII hero in his aviator's uniform.
Prior to America's entry in WWII, Sir William Stephenson, a Canadian entrepreneur, headed the New York Office of British Security Coordination. It was Stephenson who pressed President Franklin Roosevelt to establish an intelligence "coordinator" position to oversee FBI and military intelligence activities and lobbied for William J. "Wild Bill" Donovan as the man for the job.
Donovan, having recently toured British defenses, had gained the trust of Prime Minister Winston Churchill. When America entered the war, Donovan then headed the Office of Strategic Services which worked closely with and learned from British and Canadian intelligence officials.
Stephenson was the key liaison officer for the British intelligence services and highly regarded by the Americans who worked with him. In 1946, General Donovan awarded Sir William the Medal for Merit, the highest civilian decoration awarded by the United States (and never before awarded to a foreigner).
After the war, OSS officers formed the core of the CIA which was established in 1947. Though not the father of the CIA or OSS, Stephenson played a key role in the vision that established both entities and revolutionized America's intelligence capabilities.Previous Sculpture Back to Top
On the north wall of the New Headquarters Building lobby is a plaque honoring the late Director of Central Intelligence William J. Casey. The plaque is sculpted in green serpentine stone from Buckingham, Virginia. This plaque honors the DCI who was responsible for expanding on Dulles' dream with the design and construction of the New Headquarters Building.Back to Top
On Nov. 1, 1985, CIA employees participated in the CIA New Headquarters Building (NHB) Cornerstone Ceremony. To prepare for the ceremony, employees were asked to suggest documents and other materials that were sealed within the NHB cornerstone. The items selected provide a historical perspective of the Agency, as well as current (as of 1985) examples of Agency endeavors.
At some future date, when opened, the box will provide items of historic interest concerning the CIA. Contents of the cornerstone box include:
The four-story, glass-enclosed atrium of the New Headquarters Building allows Agency employees to enjoy the outdoors in good and bad weather. This area between the two towers is where pedestrian traffic between the Original and the New Headquarters Buildings converges, hence a perfect place for exhibiting varied displays of interest to CIA employees.
Suspended from the ceiling are reminders of intelligence history: three models of the U-2, A-12, and D-21 drone. These models are exact replicas at one-fifth scale of the real planes. All three had photographic capabilities. The U-2 was one of the first espionage planes developed by the CIA. The A-12 Blackbird set unheralded flight records. The D-21 Drone was one of the first unmanned aircraft ever built. Lockheed Martin Corporation donated all three models to the CIA.Back to Top
CIA Headquarters was renamed for President George Herbert Walker Bush on April 26, 1999, to honor his unique role in Agency history. President Bush is the only former Director of Central Intelligence to become President of the United States — in effect becoming the most important consumer of the intelligence products of the Agency he once led.Back to Top
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. On the wall is inscribed:
In Remembrance of Ultimate Dedication to Mission Shown by Officers of the Central Intelligence Agency Whose Lives Have Been Taken or Forever Changed by Events at Home and Abroad.
Dedicato Par Aevum
(Dedicated to Service)
The grounds around the memorial are landscaped and feature juniper ground cover and flowerbeds. Two Japanese maples, standing on each side of the wall, will one day form a canopy over the memorial. Accent lighting illuminates the memorial at night.Back to Top
Visible from Virginia Route 123, the 32-acre Scattergood-Thorne property has a rich history. It was once part of 2,800 acres acquired in 1719 by Thomas Lee from the Fairfax family. Lee named his land, which ran along the Potomac River from Little Falls to Great Falls, "Langley." After Lee's death, the land passed to his son; it later was divided among the family members. By 1852, a 935-acre parcel was named Rokeby Farm. Today the CIA Headquarters occupies two- thirds of the original Rokeby Farm.
In 1933 Margaret Scattergood and Florence Thorne purchased a 20-acre tract of that farm, and in 1935 added an adjoining 12 acres. The Misses Scattergood and Thorne named their turn-of-the century, wood-framed residence Calvert House. The property became known as the Calvert Estate.
During the 1940s, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) acquired 742 acres near Georgetown Pike to be used for a research facility. In the 1950s, CIA obtained 225 acres of the FHWA property — including the Calvert Estate — to house its new headquarters, with the proviso that Scattergood and Thorne would be permitted to remain on the property until their deaths. The survivor, Miss Scattergood, passed away in 1986 at the age of 92, and the CIA took control of their acreage the following year.
The CIA now uses this former residence as a conference center.Back to Top
The Headquarters Auditorium, called the "Bubble" by Agency employees, got its nickname for its bubble- or igloo-like shape. The auditorium was part of the CIA Headquarters design in the mid-1950s. The Bubble is the largest conference area at the CIA. It measures 7,000 square feet of floor space, can accommodate 470 people and complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The auditorium is equipped with the latest in multi-media equipment, including side and rear lighting that accommodates color television cameras and motion picture filming. The large plaster disks on the inside surface of the dome enhance the acoustics of the auditorium. The Bubble is home to special events, prominent speakers, and large conferences.Back to Top
A statue of Nathan Hale is located between the Auditorium and the Original Headquarters Building. Hale was the first American executed for spying for his country. This statue is a copy of the original work created in 1914 for Yale University, Nathan Hale's alma mater. The Agency's statue was erected on the grounds in 1973, 200 years after his graduation from Yale.
There is no known portrait of Nathan Hale; this life-size statue portrays what little written description there is of him. The 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 his 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.
He stands vigilant guard on the Agency and is a continuing reminder to its employees of the duties and sacrifices of an intelligence officer.Back to Top
The Memorial Garden is located on a hillside between the Original Headquarters Building and the Auditorium. It is one of several memorials on the CIA compound (including the Office of Strategic Services Memorial and the CIA Memorial Wall). The garden is a memorial to all deceased intelligence officers and contractors who served their country.
Where some memorials are set in stone, this remembrance uses the quiet beauty of living nature to honor those who have died in service to their country: Agency officers, OSS members, and contractors. The garden is a blend of natural and landscaped plantings amid stone outcroppings from which a cascade of water continuously falls into a large fishpond, providing a tranquil and reflective place for Agency employees. The words, "In remembrance of those whose unheralded efforts served a grateful nation," are cast in a brass plaque set in fieldstone to ensure the living will not forget the fallen.Back to Top
CIA developed the highly secret A-12 OXCART as the U-2's successor, intended to meet the nation's need for a very fast, very high-flying reconnaissance aircraft that could avoid Soviet air defenses. CIA awarded the OXCART contract to Lockheed (builder of the U-2) in 1959. In meeting the A-12's extreme speed and altitude requirements, Lockheed — led by legendary engineer Clarence "Kelly" Johnson — overcame numerous technical challenges with cutting-edge innovations in titanium fabrication, lubricants, jet engines, fuel, navigation, flight control, electronic countermeasures, radar stealthiness, and pilot life-support systems. In 1965, after hundreds of hours flown at high personal risk by the elite team of CIA and Lockheed pilots, the A-12 was declared fully operational, attaining the design specifications of a sustained speed of Mach 3.2 at 90,000 feet altitude.
CIA's operational use of the A-12 was beset by not only many technical problems but also political sensitivity to aircraft flights over denied areas and competition from imaging satellites. After the U-2 piloted by Francis Gary Powers was shot down over the Soviet Union in May 1960, all Soviet overflights were halted, thus blocking the A-12's original mission to monitor the Soviet Bloc. By the time of CIA's first A-12 deployment in 1967, CORONA satellites were being launched regularly to collect thousands of images worldwide each year. Although its imagery was less timely and of poorer resolution than the A-12's, CORONA was invulnerable to anti-aircraft missiles and much less provocative than A-12 overflights. At the same time, the US Air Force was developing the SR-71, a modified version of the A-12. Seeing little value in maintaining both overt SR-71 and covert A-12 fleets with similar capabilities, President Johnson ordered retirement of the A-12 in 1968.
The only A-12 reconnaissance operation, codenamed BLACK SHIELD, took place from May 1967 to May 1968. A detachment of six pilots and three A-12's based at Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa flew 29 missions over East Asia. The panoramic stereo camera aboard each aircraft yielded considerable high-quality imagery that within hours of landing was processed. From the images, photointerpreters provided key intelligence information in support of US military operations during the Vietnam War.
The A-12 on display at CIA Headquarters — number eight in production of the 15 A-12s built — was the first of the operational fleet to be certified for Mach 3. No piloted operational jet aircraft has ever flown faster or higher.Back to Top
In developing this monument, the CIA Fine Arts Commission decided on five precepts for its placement: prominence, pedestrian orientation, a sense of the wall as an obstacle, an "unromantic presentation," and a measure of contemplation. The Wall is located near the southwest entrance to the Original Headquarters Building. It was dedicated on Dec. 18, 1992. A bronze plaque near the Wall reads, "These three sections of reinforced concrete were removed from the Berlin Wall near Checkpoint Charlie at Potsdamer Platz in November 1989."
The monument is oriented as it was in Berlin — the west side painted with graffiti and the east side whitewashed. The west side of the Wall is covered with graffiti that reflects the color, hope and optimism of the West itself. In stark contrast, the east side of the wall is plain and devoid of color and life. The Wall 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. On both sides of the Wall is a bench- height wall where employees can sit and view the three segments and contemplate their history.Back to Top
The courtyard provides a popular setting for lunch, a chat with a colleague, or a short break in the fresh air. It provides a pleasant transition from the modern, glass-enclosed New Headquarters Building to the traditional architecture of the Original Headquarters Building. With its broad grassy lawn, fishpond and flowering plants and trees, the courtyard provides an attractive venue for special events.Back to Top
James Sanborn's sculpture "Kryptos" begins at the entrance to the New Headquarters Building and continues in the northwest corner of the New Headquarters Building courtyard.
The theme of this sculpture is "intelligence gathering." It was dedicated on Nov. 3, 1990. 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" are inscribed several enigmatic messages, each written in a different code. The sculpture continues to be a source of pleasure and mystery for Agency employees, with a few taking the challenge to "break the code."
"Kryptos" © Copyright 1988 James Sanborn. All rights reserved.Back to Top