It’s almost too pitch-perfect to be true: the Central Intelligence Agency owns a collection of intelligence-related art that almost no one can see because it’s locked in a secure area at CIA headquarters in Langley. Now, however, some of that art is available to the public’s prying eyes, as a newly-opened museum in Alabama is exhibiting reproductions of some of the works.
The Associated Press has details.
One print depicts a B-26 bomber flying over Cuba during the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961, when Alabama National Guard pilots flew for the CIA in a bid to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro. Another print shows World War II spy Virginia Hall tapping out code in occupied France, another a sunken Soviet submarine being lifted off the ocean floor during a secret 1974 operation.
The general public can’t see the paintings at the spy agency — they are housed in a secure area frequented only by employees, official visitors and VIPs. But $7 will get anyone a ticket into the Alabama museum to view both the prints and historic aircraft such as an old Soviet helicopter, a World War II bomber pulled from a lake after crashing in South Carolina, and an A-12 Blackbird spy plane that once flew over Southeast Asia taking top-secret photographs.
Fortunately for those of us who don’t live down south, the agency is also displaying some of the works online. See highlights in the gallery.