Posted on Dec 18, 2019 by Jesse Daugherty
While challenge coins are prevalent in the military realm, they are also quite popular outside of military life as well. Even the CIA has its own custom challenge coins. If you have ever seen or received a CIA challenge coin, you can tell the coins reflect various mottos, special projects, and intelligence initiatives that the organization uses on a daily basis.
Many of these projects are classified, which means there will never be a coin. However, with a little searching, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a CIA coin on sale or display. Given the nature of the organization and all that it does, many of these coins seem to be a little cryptic. Today we take a look at a few slogans and mottos that can be found on CIA challenge coins.
"The Work of a Nation. The Center of Intelligence.”
This is the official motto of the CIA. The ethos reflects the core principles of the Central Intelligence Agency. These principles are reflected in the vision, found on the CIA website, which states: "One Agency. One community. An Agency unmatched in its core capabilities, functioning as one team, fully integrated into the Intelligence Community.”
The official CIA motto and vision reflect the agency’s place in the American political system as an intelligence-gathering service. This motto is relatively well known, though the CIA’s unofficial motto is perhaps even more famous.
"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
This is the CIA's unofficial motto and a quote from the Bible – John 8:32, to be specific. This verse is featured heavily on CIA memorabilia. It is even engraved on the wall at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
The verse is a perfect motto for the CIA. When the office was under construction, Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles insisted on including the verse on the wall of the original headquarters building. Since the building's opening, the verse has greeted employees and visitors while displaying the ideals of the agency.
"We accomplish what others cannot accomplish and go where others cannot go.”
This phrase is part of the CIA's mission statement, and it's quite common on CIA challenge coins. The phrase highlights the CIA’s role in world politics and what it stands for. The agency takes on sensitive missions and hazardous tasks.
Agents do tasks that others are no able to do, doing so in areas that are dangerous or closed off to others. The statement certainly adds an aura of mystery and intrigue to the agency, which many films and television shows try to capture.
"Nowhere to Hide”
A coin featuring this slogan was seen a few years back on a Reddit post. The phrase emphasizes the reach and influence the CIA has around the world. The agency is known for having spies embedded in countries around the world, as well as using top-of-the-line surveillance technology.
"We Shall Reap What Ye Have Sown”
This one is more on the cryptic side, especially when paired with a Punisher skull in a jester hat. We interpret the phrase to mean something along the lines of no matter what you do or where you go; the CIA will find out.
These mottos are just a few examples of CIA challenge coins we've seen around. However, we've heard stories of even more coins out there. It's no surprise that people often hold on to their CIA coin upon receiving one.