The CIA webpage is an oft under-appreciated gem in the U.S. government’s suite of dry, formal websites. There’s no formal decree that mandates government sites have to be boring, but something about the need to exude inoffensive professionalism throughout every corner of these sprawling domains has sanitized everything .GOV into the digital version of the Department of Motor Vehicles, including, of course, the websites devoted to the various DMVs throughout the nation.
Despite their similarities in presentation, government websites are not uniform in content or even their organization. If you know your way around the Pentagon’s website (Defense.gov), you can rest assured that the State Department’s (State.gov) won’t operate in an even remotely similar way, meaning digging for the information you’re on the market for requires a different method at each of Uncle Sam’s sites. If you’re on the hunt for a specific thing, this can be frustrating, as you bounce between government sites trying to assemble a complete picture of American policy in action, rather than in description, as you tend to get from press releases. But if you’re not digging for something in particular, you’d be surprised at some of the things you can find, as long as you’re willing to suffer the frustrations of digital bureaucracy in motion.
Which brings us to the hands down winner of most fun way to spend your Sunday night on a .GOV website: CIA.GOV. When their site first loads, you’re greeted (on Monday) by a lovely story about a puppy that wasn’t cut out for life as a service dog in the CIA, for instance, as if to say, “sure, you’ve heard about our covert operations all over the world, but why don’t you check out this puppy instead of whatever you came here for?”
Good try, CIA. You guys are good.