Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Temperance. Temperance Wonders, “what is CIA” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Temperance!

What comes to mind when you hear the word “spy”? Do you picture people in black suits? Are they wearing dark sunglasses? Many people might think of hidden cameras and spy glasses. Maybe you imagine spying for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)!

The CIA formed in 1947. It was set up by the United States government to gain intelligence about other nations. People who lead the US use that intelligence to make decisions.  It’s often used to improve national security. CIA intelligence also guides US relations with other countries.

At the CIA, there’s plenty of work to go around. But don’t reach for your night goggles just yet! Not everyone at the CIA is a spy.  Many CIA officers do collect information in secret ways. However, that’s only one part of the agency. Many employees spend their time studying the intelligence that’s gathered. Other CIA workers focus on technology that can help the agency. Some spend their time running the CIA’s finances and security.

What would it be like to work as a CIA officer? You might hope to work on an undercover operation or use secret codes. In some cases, that’s true. Officers do have secret ways to gain intelligence. However, the CIA has other methods as well. For instance, they find a lot of new information in foreign news. The agency also uses satellite photos and other technologies. It gains quite a bit of intelligence through these less secretive methods.

Of course, we don’t know everything the CIA does. Much of its work is secret. That makes many people distrust the agency. Some people worry about their own privacy. They think the CIA spies on the American people. However, the CIA only gathers foreign intelligence. It has no power to spy on Americans.

Other people disagree with some of the CIA’s actions. For example, many Americans dislike its use of torture. They believe torture is cruel. Many also worry it results in false information. Others think it should stop using drone strikes. This is because they sometimes hurt innocent people.

However, the CIA has done a lot of important work over the years. During the Cold War, it helped US leaders watch the Soviet Union. It also played an important role during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Today, the CIA works hard to fight terrorism. The CIA does a lot to protect the US and people who live there.

Do you dream of working as a CIA officer? If that’s your goal, start preparing today. Most officers are well educated, so you should work hard in school. Many of them also speak more than one language. The CIA also looks for traits like honesty, courage, and confidence. What other qualities do you think are important for a CIA officer? Do you have what it takes?

Standards: C3.D2.His.3, C3.D2.His.14, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.2, CCRA.W.7, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2

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Tomorrow's Wonder of the Day is a joyous celebration of freedom!