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 (4.85)
Program No. 16126RJ
5 days
Starts at
Print All
Map details are not available for this location.
View Map
Expand All
5 days
4 nights
10 meals
4 B 3 L 3 D
Arrival, Orientation, Dinner, Evening Lecture
Washington, DC
The Hamilton Hotel

Activity note: Hotel Check in is available from 4:00 PM.

Afternoon: Program Registration: 3:00-5:00 p.m. After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table in the lobby to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet and up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and other important information. If your arrival is delayed, please ask for your packet when you check in. Do not forget to bring your name tag from your welcome packet. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures including contact numbers for key staff, and answer any questions you may have. Scheduled free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Please be aware that program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. 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: At the hotel, one of our expert instructors will present an examination of the intelligence cycle. Learn how intelligence is collected, analyzed, and disseminated to decision/policy-makers among the 17 agencies and organizations within the U.S. Intelligence Community. Hear tales of some of the most known, and unknown, spies in history.

Cryptologic Museum, NSA Overview, Lectures with Jon Wiant
Washington, DC
The Hamilton 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. With a museum member, we will learn how codes are “broken” and explore the museum's collection of Enigma Machines.

Lunch: We will enjoy boxed lunches at the National Cryptologic Museum.

Afternoon: Continue our stay at the National Cryptologic Museum 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. 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. Professor Wiant examines how the growth of terrorism from the April 1983 Beirut Embassy bombing and attack on the Marine barracks in October of 1983 has evolved into a “War of Terrorism”. He views the 9/11 as a devastating chapter in a story that continues on to the contemporary ISIS terror attacks. 9/11 brought the war to our homeland, fundamentally challenging our lives and our sense of security. This bloody conflict has demanded new intelligence resources but it has also threatened long-embraced distinctions between foreign intelligence and domestic security. New collection activities and counterterrorist operations have helped frustrate terrorists but they have often been done at the expenses of the very Constitutional values they seek to protect. Look for a lively discussion on what we value most.

International Spy Museum, Free Time
Washington, DC
The Hamilton 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 the Penn Quarter neighborhood of Washington D.C. for a self-led exploration of the International Spy Museum. Opened in 2002, it 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 across the street at the National Portrait Gallery Courtyard Cafe. Vouchers will be handed out to let you select what you would like, including a fountain drink or bottled water.

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, Newseum, Farewell Dinner
Washington, DC
The Hamilton 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 be joined by an expert on the CIA, Gene Poteat, who will lead two sessions to enhance your knowledge of the world of espionage. Our first topic is on the role of women is espionage. Spying is a dangerous occupation and it’s widely believed women neither have the daring for this risky work nor the cool-nerved judgment if demands. When spy trials are headlined in the international press, it’s always men who are depicted as the master spies, while women involved are mere pawns. But Secret Service officers know better. There are many ace American women spies. They are rarely trapped or caught; therefore few of them receive headlines or publicity. Our next topic will be on the ever changing role of the CIA. A review of American intelligence services reveals they have not always been constrained by law and with oversight from the executive and both branches of Congress. They are now liable for their actions, but are not immune from politics. Rather than going along with our changing culture and politics, the problems facing our intelligence are avoided by strict vigilance and adherence to the highest professional judgements and ethics – in spite of changing political considerations. Afterwards we will depart to the Newseum.

Lunch: Using vouchers, select what you like from the café at the Newseum

Afternoon: Spend some time at the Newseum! We’ll start our exploration at the exhibit “Inside Today’s FBI.” This rotating exhibit has a focus on the FBI cases that have made modern headlines. Observe artifacts from major cases on display and the stories behind them. Currently on display is the FBI's investigation into the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings and ensuing manhunt.

Dinner: At the hotel, 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.

Morning Lecture, Program Concludes
Washington, DC

Activity note: Bring your handout for John Sullivan's lecture to follow along (included in this prepmat). Hotel check out is by 11:00 AM.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Our final lecture will be from John Sullivan, a retired CIA Polygraph Examiner who will address how a polygraph is used in the CIA. As we delve into specific cases from his 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. Follow along with a provided handout by John Sullivan. This handout can be found in your information packet. 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!

Click here to provide website feedback
Website Feedback