In 1776, George Washington sought out a volunteer to infiltrate enemy lines prior to the Battle of Harlem Heights in New York. A Yale-educated captain from Connecticut’s 19th Regiment of the Continental Army stepped up. His name was Nathan Hale. He would become one of the first American spies of the Revolutionary War.

Hale was instrumental in gathering intel, such as British military movements. He was captured approximately one week after setting out while attempting to return to American-controlled land by boat via the Long Island Sound.

The British interrogated Nathan Hale and found sketches, notes, and other incriminating documents. He was scheduled for execution the next day. At the young age of 21, Hale was led to the gallows to be hung. Inspired by the playwright Joseph Addison, Hale delivered the famous quote:

I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”

Hale’s selfless courage made him a timeless hero for freedom and patriotism. A statue of the man’s likeness is positioned outside of CIA headquarters as a reminder of brave Americans who have served our country, defended our freedoms, and protected our way of life.

CIA Director Brennan talks about Hale and the sacrifices he made in service to freedom and independence in the video below. His statue stands vigilant guard over the Agency, and is a continuing reminder to our employees of the duties and sacrifices of an intelligence officer.

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