Washington D.C.

Spies, Lies & Intelligence: The World of International Espionage

Discover a world of espionage and learn about spy history and 21st-century intelligence threats as you explore the nation’s capital and its museums with intelligence experts.
Rating (4.94)
Program No. 16126RJ
5 days
Starts at
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5 days
4 nights
10 meals
4 B 3 L 3 D
Arrival, Orientation, Dinner, Evening Lecture
Washington, DC
The Darcy Hotel

Activity note: Hotel Check in is available from 3:00 PM.

Afternoon: Program Registration: 3:00-5:00 p.m. After you have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. Remember to bring your name-tag (sent previously). Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At the hotel, enjoy a welcome dinner plus iced tea, water, coffee and soft drinks; other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: Following dinner we will be met by Scott Shane, one of the principal reporters for the New York Times on the U.S. Intelligence community. Mr. Shane will clue us in on how information and secrets are leaked.

Cryptologic Museum, NSA Overview, Lectures
Washington, DC
The Darcy Hotel

Activity note: Participants will need to get on and off the motor coach. Expect to stand for up to 1 hour at a time. The drive time to the National Cryptologic Museum is approximately 45 minutes and we may encounter city traffic.

Breakfast: At the hotel, enjoy a full American breakfast buffet including coffee, water, juice and tea.

Morning: Start this morning off with a field trip to the National Cryptologic Museum, adjacent to the National Security Agency headquarters at Fort Meade in Maryland. The museum is the NSA’s principal public portal. Its thousands of artifacts preserve and illuminate the history of cryptology. Let's begin with a visit from a National Security Agency officer. From the neighboring base, our speaker will provide an overview of the NSA and describe the roles and responsibilities for today's NSA officers. We'll continue our exploration of the Cryptologic Museum with a volunteer museum member. As we go through the halls with our docent, we will learn how codes are “broken” and explore the museum's collection of Enigma Machines.

Lunch: At a near by restaurant

Afternoon: After our field trip, we return to the hotel for an afternoon lecture related to our program. Professor Wiant takes you into the world of espionage discussing such basic things as 'what is espionage' to how spies are recruited and the importance of tradecraft in running spies. Along the way he illustrates with fascinating spy stories, all true -- but not necessarily factual for the 'real secret of our success is the secret of our success'

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

Evening: Enjoy another lecture from our expert, Jon Wiant. This is the other side of the clandestine world. Rather than filching secrets, covert action is preoccupied with influencing historical developments without revealing the practicing hand. This can range from agents of influence operations and black propaganda through influencing political and economic outcomes to full paramilitary support for resistance and guerrilla movements. It can also include various assistance we provide foreign governments without public acknowledgement. The professor will examine the policy framework in which the government makes decisions to engage in covert action and then will look in detail at historical examples of different kinds of covert action. Covert Action, you will learn, is as American as Cherry Pie.

International Spy Museum, Free Time
Washington, DC
The Darcy Hotel

Activity note: Participants will need to get on and off the motor coach. Expect to stand for up to 1 hour at a time.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: We’ll journey via motor coach to L'Enfant Plaza for a self-led exploration of the International Spy Museum. The new facility, opened in Spring of 2019, is the only public museum in the U.S. dedicated solely to espionage and the only one in the world that provides a global perspective on the “invisible” profession. Its large and extensive collection includes amazing artifacts of international espionage, many never displayed publicly before. Many of these objects are being seen by the public for the first time. The museum seeks to present the history of espionage throughout history apolitically with accurate, unbiased information.

Lunch: Lunch will be at L'Enfant Plaza, use vouchers to select what you would like from the food court.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

Lectures, National Law Enforcement Museum, Farewell Dinner
Washington, DC
The Darcy Hotel

Activity note: Participants will need to get on and off the motorcoach. Expect to stand for up to 1 hour at a time.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: This morning we will receive a lecture a retired CIA Polygraph Examiner who will address how a polygraph is used in the CIA. As we delve into specific cases from their long career, learn how conducting polygraph tests is as much of an art as it is a science; how psychology plays an integral role in a successful polygraph program; and the role of polygraph testing in the context of today's ever evolving intelligence community. Afterwards we will receive another presentation on how spying in America has changed post 9/11. In the wake of 9/11, the USA has found that its borders are porous and terrorist danger can strike at home. If the US must now spy on itself, how much should it spy and who watches the watchers? Following the presentation we will board the motorcoach and head out to the National Law Enforcement Museum

Lunch: Boxed lunches at the National Law Enforcement Museum

Afternoon: Spend the afternoon at the National Law Enforcement Museum. The site just opened its doors in October 2018 and will be providing us with a specialized exploration of the museum with a local expert. While at the Museum, we will learn how Elizabeth Smith Friedman brought down a Vancouver-based liquor smuggling group in 1930 noted as "the most powerful international smuggling syndicate in existence" while with the US Coast Guard, how FBI agents decrypted and translated Theodore Kaczynski's notebooks to reveal his devious plot, and why the New York (NY) Police Department deploys officers all over the world to collect intelligence.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll gather for our last dinner as a group. Share your favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: After dinner, we will have a presentation with the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency's Office of Technical Service. Robert Wallace, the real life "Q" of the CIA, will host a demonstration about spy devices and how a spy uses them.

Cybersecurity, Program Concludes
Washington, DC

Activity note: Hotel check out is by 12:00 PM

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Our final lecture will be from Dr. Scott White, Director of the Cybersecurity program at George Washington University. Before we depart from the program we will take home with us our last bit of knowledge on how to access Cyber Threats. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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