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The Secret Revolution: Espionage, 1776 Style

Evening Program

Monday, October 30, 2017 - 6:45 p.m.
Code: 1H0285

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Codes that the Culper spy ring used to write secret messages to George Washington

Intelligence work is as American as cherry pie and as old as the Republic. Civilian and military leaders of the American Revolution used espionage, covert action, counterintelligence, deception, and cryptanalysis to offset the British army's advantage in men and arms and help win the fight for independence.

The techniques they employed were remarkably sophisticated even by today's standards, and Founding Fathers such as George Washington and Benjamin Franklin became adept practitioners of intelligence tradecraft. There's much more to the secret side of the Revolution than Nathan Hale and Benedict Arnold, as the outcome of several key military episodes may have hinged on the role of spies and disinformation. And after we won our independence, some early presidents drew on their wartime experiences with intelligence to accomplish important foreign policy objectives.

Join David Robarge, chief historian at the CIA, as he explores the secrets of the Revolutionary War.


S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)