Explore the "Evolution of Espionage in America"

The National Counterintelligence and Security Center at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has unveiled a new digital exhibit on espionage and sabotage as part of its ongoing “Evolution of Espionage in America” project.
Evolution of Espionage Banner

Housed on Intelligence.gov, the Intelligence Community's platform for greater public transparency, the project is designed to share with a worldwide audience the critical role of espionage throughout our nation’s history.

The new exhibit, focused on World War I, can be found at Intelligence.gov/evolution-of-espionage/world-war-1.

“A little over a century ago, America’s relative peace and tranquility was shattered by a foreign sabotage campaign that unleashed destruction across the country. German intelligence operatives targeted a thriving but vulnerable U.S. manufacturing sector, determined to stem the flow of U.S. munitions to German adversaries in WWI while working to conceal their role in the U.S. sabotage campaign. While many of these stories have long been forgotten, they hold valuable lessons as we confront today’s challenges.”

- Michael J. Orlando, the Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Director of NCSC.

The research, design, and development of this exhibit was a joint effort by personnel at NCSC and the Office of Civil Liberties, Privacy, and Transparency, both components of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

The WWI exhibit tells the stories of 17 German and German-American spies and saboteurs, who conducted a secret war on the American home front, as well as the efforts of federal law enforcement and New York Police Department bomb squads to counter their sabotage. More than 170 images accompany the narrative and help bring it to life.

The new World War I exhibit is the third era of espionage, adapted from NCSC’s physical “Wall of Spies” museum, to make the transition to online, public view. The “Evolution of Intelligence in America,” debuted on Intelligence.gov in October 2021, with the Revolutionary War era, followed by the launch of the Civil War era in May 2022.