It is maybe the most unique and exclusive museum in the world, including historical artifacts. However, nobody can enter because of a strong lock.
Next to Saddam Hussein’s leather jacket, it is the only location where guests may see the gun discovered with Osama bin Laden when he was slain.
Welcome to the CIA’s internal, top-secret museum.
The collection was recently updated to commemorate the agency’s 75th anniversary and is housed inside the US intelligence agency’s Langley, Virginia, headquarters. A small number of media, including the BBC, were granted special access, although we were always accompanied by a security guard.
Among the 600 items on show are the types of cold war espionage tools you might imagine, like an explosive martini glass, a “dead drop rat” that could conceal communications, a secret camera placed within a cigarette package, and more.
There are, however, specifics on some of the CIA’s most well-known and even more recent activities.
Presented is a scale replica of the Pakistani complex where Osama bin Laden was found. Before sanctioning the attack that killed the al-Qaeda head in 2011, President Obama was shown a model.
Robert Z. Byer, the director of the museum who led the tour, said that being able to view things in 3D “really assisted the policymakers…as well as enable our operators to plan the mission.”
A US missile struck another facility on July 30 of this year, but this time it was in the Afghan capital of Kabul. Ayman al-Zawahiri, the organization’s new head, was the objective.
Al-Qaeda chief was murdered in a US attack, but his family was spared
A replica of the compound used to inform President Biden on the intended mission on July 1st, 2022, is the most current display and was recently declassified. After the US intelligence agency spent months analyzing Zawahiri’s activities, he was shot while standing on the balcony.
According to Mr. Byer, this illustrates how counterterrorism police consider the target’s lifestyle pattern.
The 11 September 2001 attacks marked a clear turning point in the shift towards focusing on counter-terrorism, with items on display donated by some of those whose relatives perished in the attacks. The first half of the museum moves chronologically from the CIA’s founding in 1947 through the Cold War.
- Both official visitors and members of the CIA’s personnel make up the museum’s audience. It is not only success-oriented. A part about the Bay of Pigs disaster, in which a CIA effort to topple Fidel Castro in Cuba went horribly wrong, is included. There are also parallels to the failure to discover WMD in Iraq.
- The enigma surrounding the microwaves and “Havana Syndrome”
- Inside the spies’ attempts to put an end to the Ukrainian conflict
“This museum is more than a repository of historical artifacts. This museum is open for business. We are walking CIA agents through it, learning about our history—both the good and the ugly “by Mr. Byer “We ensure that our officers are aware of their past in order for them to perform better in the future. In order to do better in the future, we must learn from both our accomplishments and failures.”
Though less obvious, some of the most contentious facets of the CIA’s operations—such as its 1953 joint operation with MI6 to overturn a democratically elected government in Iran and more recent participation in the torture of terrorism suspects after 9/11—are also among the most contentious.
We are unable to confirm or deny.
The second section of the museum goes into great depth about a few particular procedures.
Those who cover intelligence agencies are likely aware with the adage “we can neither confirm nor deny,” and its genesis may be found in a tale told at the museum utilizing previously unseen objects.
A Soviet Union submarine disappeared from the ocean floor in the late 1960s. The CIA collaborated with billionaire Howard Hughes to attempt to collect the wreckage and the equipment aboard once the US managed to find it. It was concocted that Hughes would mine the ocean floor on a vessel named the Glomar Explorer.Along with clothes, ash trays, and mailbags made to preserve the Glomar’s cover, the museum has a replica of the Soviet submarine. Even the wig the CIA deputy director wore to disguise himself when visiting the ship is on display.
Although some components were still salvaged, the submarine broke apart when the Glomar’s steel claws attempted to lift it up, making the mission only partially successful.
The majority of what they discovered aboard the submarine, according to Mr. Byer, is still classified.
The “Glomar reaction,” still often employed today, was instructed to authorities when word of Project Azorian broke before the remaining parts of the submarine could be removed.
There are further elements that are utilized to create the pretext for the bogus film Argo. As a result, ambassadors detained in Iran during the 1979 revolution might be rescued—a story that was eventually made into a Hollywood film. Conceptual artwork for the fictitious movie that the rescue crew supposed to be producing is on display. It was intentional for the artwork to be challenging to interpret or comprehend.
The new museum’s ceiling also has secret messages in various forms of code that may be deciphered.
According to CIA officials, the goal is to share photographs with the public on social media to see if they can decipher them. A few of the displays will also be accessible online. However, for now, it could be as near as most people can come to this museum.