The name CIA conjures up images of an all powerful organization where everything is secret and where everyone is supposed to be a spy who has no identity. We tend to think this organization is a closed one which is actually true. Think CIA and terms like espionage, kidnappings, tortures, atrocities etc etc come to mind.  I’ve always imagined CIA as a boring organization which doesn’t deal with general public directly in interesting manner. I had this preconception that website of CIA wouldn’t have much to offer as far general public is concerned. But I was wrong!

CIA website does offer mountains of interesting stuffs and resources. For example, when should you use probabilistic terms like ‘chances are slight’, ‘highly unlikely’, ‘improbable’, ‘I doubt’? Or terms like ‘very good chances’, ‘highly unlikely’ etc.? Don’t worry. CIA has the guide for you. (Refer image) This illustration is from the book Psychology of Intelligence Analysis which I highly recommend everyone to read and you can download it for free.

Measuring Perceptions of Uncertainty

Measuring Perceptions of Uncertainty

You can also find a comprehensive list of various international organizations and groups here. The World Factbook has vast amount of data about each country and various regions. By publishing these data publicly, CIA seems to be helping all countries (enemies included). The World Factbook also has a database of Country Comparisons for about 80 fields. You can find rankings of countries based on parameters as varied as population, number of deaths by HIV/AIDS, number of mobile users, obesity prevalence, crude oil import export,country area, military expenditures etc etc. All in one place.

Or may be this is some kind of trick to fool the world. After all, CIA developed some ingenious tricks to sabotage its adversaries long ago. For example, there was this manual called Simple Sabotage Field Manual which was prepared in 1944 and had been classified so far. You’ll be surprised by the tricks such as “To lower morale and production, be pleasant to inefficient workers; give them undeserved promotions. Discriminate against efficient workers; complain unjustly about their work.” Luckily, this manual is no more classified and is available to download on Timeless Tips for ‘Simple Sabotage’ page. There are probably many more interesting stuff in there, all you have to do is dig deeper.

However, some resources related to CIA seem unavailable on its website. One such resource is Style Manual and Writers Guide for Intelligence Publications which can be downloaded from here.

Also check:

Flags of the World
Regional and World Maps
Facts on Women from World Factbook (published in 2013)
CIA’s Top Ten Dog Training Tips
Hollywood Myths vs. the Real CIA
There are some fun challenges such as Aerial Analysis Challenge. Check them.
Myths about CIA