February 9, 2011

CIA Revamping Website For Better Public Understanding

Officials said that the CIA has launched a revamped website with links to YouTube and Flickr to help the public better understand the spy agency's clandestine work.

"The idea behind these improvements is to make more information about the Agency available to more people, more easily," CIA Director Leon Panetta said in a statement on Monday.

"The CIA wants the American people and the world to understand its mission and its vital role in keeping our country safe," he said.

The spy service is conscious of its public image, partly for recruiting reasons, and has added games and links for children on its website in recent years.

The agency said the CIA's new YouTube channel will offer "current and historical videos about the agency" and its Flickr site provides links to "copyright-free pictures from CIA.gov for easy access."

The site's "kids' page" includes games in which players can break a secret code.  However, it tries to play down the role of secret operations:  "CIA employees gather intelligence (or information) in a variety of ways, not just by 'spying' like you see in the movies or on TV (though we do some of that, too)."

The CIA's reputation suffered when the agency was condemned for alleging Saddam Husseim had weapons of mass destruction before the Iraq war and for employing harsh interrogation tactics against terror suspects.


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