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Declassified: The CIA's List of Its Best Female Spies

In March 1984, the CIA created a list of nine female spies who have made an exceptional contribution to US intelligence.

The 11-page document titled “The Role of Women in Intelligence” is historically declassified and was made available to the public in 2007, more than 30 years after it was created. It is part of a 13-million-page trove of declassified documents uploaded online by the CIA in January 2017.

The document also includes the text of a speech made by John N. McMahon, then-deputy director of central intelligence, addressed to an audience within the US spy agency.

McMahon also celebrated two contemporary senior female members of the CIA, but their names are redacted in the document. He also did not forget to remind the audience that, although women could serve as “university presidents, members of congress, doctors, lawyers” and even spies, their essential duties were also “mothers and homemakers”. It was the 1980s, after all.

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