Gallery: Stealing Secrets

Come face to face with spies and spymasters, gadget makers, scientists and engineers from past and present. Take a closer look at the hundreds of imaginative inventions used to steal secrets. 


  • Spies and Spymasters
  • Tools of the Trade
  • Looking, Listening, Sensing


Visitors explore six stories about real spies reflecting various periods in history, places and spy types. Featured in the profiles are: Morten Storm, Dmitiri Bystrolyotov, Mata Hari, Sir Francis Walsingham, James Lafayette, Mosab Yousef and Gonen ben Itzhak.  


When spies need to plant a bug, secretly snap a photo, communicate covertly, or don a disguise, they turn to Technical Operations or Tech Ops. Meet the inventors, engineers, scientists, computer whizzes, artists, and tinkerers who fuse imagination and technical know-how to create the devices agents and handlers need to overcome challenges in the field. 

The gadgets featured in this exhibit cover five key areas: covert communications, surveillance and counter-surveillance, escape and evasion, disguise, and secret entry


Some places are too dangerous or remote to send in spies. Some information is beyond the reach of human senses. That’s when scientists, engineers, IT specialists, and researchers must devise innovative solutions—new ways to intercept messages, conduct surveillance, or sniff out secrets. Featured: Signals Intel (SIGINT), Imagery Intel (IMINT), Measures & Signature Intel (MASINT) and Open Source Intel (OSINT). 

Mata Hari's Bodice

Collection Highlight

On display is what is purported to be one of Mata Hari's metallic bodices – a fragile, elaborately worked filigree bra.