CIA launches Instagram account with mystery photo

The debut photo includes some Easter eggs for the eagle-eyed observer.

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Steven Musil
2 min read

The CIA's Instagram account launches with a desk image full of clues about what the agency does.


The US Central Intelligence Agency launched its Instagram account Thursday, with a single photo full of items many of us might associate with the secretive intelligence agency.

The debut post on the account depicts an apparent office desk at the agency crowded with cloak-and-dagger items accompanied by the message "I spy with my little eye..." Some are obvious, such as a wig disguise and a paper bag labeled "Top Secret Pulp."

But the agency has also slipped in a few Easter eggs, including the original agency badge CIA Director Gina Haspel wore when she joined in 1985. A notebook on the desk has an agency's message written in Arabic. (The message: "Share what we can, protect what we must.")


CIA Director Gina Haspel's badge from 1985, complete with '80s hair.

CIA via Instagram

A CIA representative said the agency aims to use the account as a recruiting tool and to increase transparency about its activities.

"Joining Instagram is another way we're sharing CIA's stories and recruiting talented Americans to serve here," CIA spokesperson Sara Lichterman said. "Through the account, we'll give a peek into agency life, but we can't promise any selfies from secret locations. We're looking to spark the curiosity of Instagram's users about the many ways CIA's global mission has us going where others cannot go and doing what others cannot do."

Haspel revealed the agency's intention to join the Facebook-owned photo-sharing site last week during an appearance at a security forum at Auburn University, also citing increased transparency as a goal.

The Instagram account joins one the CIA already has on Twitter, which has more than 2.5 million followers, but the account appears to be mostly used to recruit new agents and offer history on the agency and some of its key figures over the years.