A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

7 Secrets the CIA Doesn’t Want You to Know

From secret coffee shops to mysterious statues, these are the little-known facts the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) typically keeps under wraps.

1 / 7
Anna Shanks/REX/Shutterstock

The CIA reportedly reads up to 5 million tweets per day

The agency might be monitoring your Facebook feed, too, according to a report by the Associated Press. Why, you ask? Agents apparently like to stay up-to-date on the public’s reactions to world events. Other surveillance methods include TVs, iPhones, Androids, and computers running Windows, macOS, and Linux. If that makes you paranoid, find out the secrets the FBI doesn’t want you to know next.

2 / 7

They have a secret museum—but no one is allowed inside

Located at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, the 11,000-square foot museum houses fascinating (yet failed) projects like dragonfly drones, robotic fish, and pigeon-mounted cameras. But there’s one catch: Only agency members and cleared guests are allowed inside. For that reason, it’s been dubbed “the best museum you’ll never get to see”—and even the museum’s budget is classified.

3 / 7

You can read about the CIA’s investigations of UFOs (and you!) online

Anyone with an Internet connection can access CREST, a CIA reading room of roughly 930,000 documents. Over 12 million pages were recently declassified, and many of them shed light on the agency’s investigations into UFOs, psychics, and invisible ink. If you want to know the dirt the CIA has on you, you can request your own file, too. You’d never guess these 13 celebrities had FBI files.

4 / 7
Savvapanf Photo/Shutterstock

The Starbucks at the CIA headquarters is not allowed to use names for orders

Security is tight at “Store Number 1,” the Starbucks located inside CIA headquarters in Virginia. Having their name yelled out in a large, crowded room doesn’t sit well with these secretive customers, so the baristas have to pair each order with a face, instead. All nine employees are also required to undergo extensive background checks, and you can’t enter the store at all without special security clearance.

5 / 7

Even their statues are mysterious

In the 1990s, an encrypted sculpture called “Kryptos” was installed on the grounds of the CIA headquarters. Nearly 30 years have passed, and no one has fully cracked the code.

6 / 7
Peter vd Rol/shutterstock

Not every torture method is conventional

The agency has reportedly used music by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Slim Shady as an official tool for torturing suspected terrorists. CIA secret agents do have a sense of humor, though.

7 / 7
Michael Dechev/Shutterstock

They secretly produce movies on the side

While a government-funded romantic comedy sounds like a box office hit in the making, the truth is a bit more sinister. The CIA secretly bought the rights to 1984 and Animal Farm after author George Orwell’s death in 1950, later funding the film adaptations of the two dystopian novels. But that’s nothing compared to the strangest unsolved mysteries of all time.

Brooke Nelson Alexander
Brooke is a tech and consumer products writer covering the latest in digital trends, product reviews, security and privacy, and other news and features for Reader's Digest. She's a two-time Emmy-nominated reporter with nearly 10 years of publishing experience, and her work has been recognized by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.