The CIA has launched a revamp of its website on Monday, aiming to evoke the glamour and mystique of the spy agency’s heyday as it offers the public a sanitised peek into its secret world.
The shadows of an unseen man and woman fall across the CIA’s shield in the opening image of the sites homepage. Above it reads the message: "The work of a nation. The Center of Intelligence."
"The new site reaffirms the CIA’s commitment to share as much information as we can with the American people," CIA director Michael Hayden, an air force general, said in a statement.
Battered in recent years by controversy and institutional upheaval, the agency also is using the site as a vehicle to explain itself to the public in the language of a 30 second commercial.
One blurb spells out "CIA Vision, Mission and Values":
"We are the nation’s first line of defence. We accomplish what others cannot accomplish and go where others cannot go."
Viewers can take a virtual tour of the CIA’s Langley, Virginia headquarters, see pictures of spy gadgets on display at the CIA Museum, or try to crack the code embedded in the last undeciphered panel of the agency’s "Kryptos" sculpture.
Quick links take viewers to the CIA’s World Fact Book and World Leaders, popular reference guides to countries and their governments that also reflect the agency’s global interests.
A "Library" tab holds those references plus the CIA’s collection of Maps, other agency publications and an electronic reading room containing documents released in response to Freedom of Information Act requests.
Press releases, speeches and congressional testimony are posted separately along with a site titled "CIA and the War on Terrorism."
Many of the features were on the CIA’s old website, but the site’s designers say they have been juggled to make the new site easier to navigate.