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Natsios Young Architects

13 May 2010. Updated.

The original OSS/CIA headquarters below was located at 2430 E Street NW, on the site of the US Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. No map identifies CIA use of the buildings although the address is well known as that of the agency. CIA headquarters was relocated to a new building at Langley, VA,, in the early 1960s. The front part of the building shown was demolished for freeway construction in the 1970s. Its southern remainder and two buildings behind are supposedly still in use by the CIA and State Department intelligence and counterterrorism. In 1960 gates were left open, now the site is heavily guarded.


Vehicular Gate, Wide Open, Central Intelligence Agency Headquarters, 2430 E Street, NW, 1960. Google LIFE photos.


Pedestrian Gate, Unlocked, Central Intelligence Agency Headquarters, 2430 E Street, NW, 1960. Google LIFE photos.



North Gate, Google Maps Street Views


South Gate, Google Maps Street Views













Google Maps Street Views.

9 June 2006

Birdseyes from

This corrects information about 2430 E Street, NW, at

The Office of Strategic Services: America's First Intelligence Agency


OSS/CIA Headquarters
Source: CIA

Original sign from the
CIA's first building
on E Street in
Washington, DC.

Source: CIA

Central Building, Potomac Annex/E Street Complex

The headquarters of the Office of Strategic Services and later the first home of the Central Intelligence Agency is located at 2430 E Street, NW, Washington DC, a structure among three called the Central, East and South buildings of the variously named Potomac Annex, the E Street Complex and/or Navy Hill. The Central Building is the former OSS/CIA headquarters based on the OSS photo at the CIA and may still house intelligence offices. Currently the buildings are described as in use by the State Department whose headquarters are located across the street. The East and South building house several State programs and offices according the State's directory and Google lists several US programs at 2430 E Street NW, but nothing is specifically listed for the Central Building.


Genie M. Norris, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Operations, promptly took the Commission in from the cold, providing offices in a wing of the State Department complex on Navy Hill, possibly the most beautiful public square in Washington. This, of course, is a secret of sorts, for the public is not allowed in. A further secret, here revealed for the first time, is that the Commission occupied space where the Central Intelligence Agency had begun its work in the late 1940s. Students of organizational behavior will note that relations with the Department of State were never quite the same once the Agency crossed the river and acquired a building, now buildings, of its own. Students of this Commission, if there should be any, will record that the work could never have been finished save for the indomitable good cheer and great help of Ms. Norris and her colleagues at the Department of State, several of whom are cited below.

General Services Administration: National Capital Region
Historic Properties Listed by Group
Number    Name                                  Address                 City                    Built
DC0531AC  E Street Complex - Central Building  	2430 E Street, NW  	Washington  	DC  	1904  	
DC0532AC  E Street Complex - East Building 	2430 E Street, NW 	Washington 	DC 	1919
DC0533AC  E Street Complex - South Building 	2430 E Street, NW 	Washington 	DC 	1919

The South building reportedly houses the Counterterrorism center.

SA-4 Navy Hill (Central, South, East Bldgs)
2430 E Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20037
Diplomatic Contingency Programs (A/DCP)
Diplomatic Security (DS)
European and Eurasian Affairs (EUR)
International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL)
Information Resource Management (IRM)
Legal Advisor (L)
Coordinator for Counterterrorism (S/CT)


Henry A. Crumpton
Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism

Term of Appointment: 08/03/2005 to present

Henry A. Crumpton was sworn in as Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the Department of State with the rank of Ambassador at Large on August 2, 2005. Ambassador Crumpton joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1981 and served as an operations officer both at headquarters and abroad. He has served in several foreign field assignments, two as Chief of Station. In Washington, Ambassador Crumpton held senior management positions, including a one-year assignment at the Federal Bureau of Investigation as Deputy Chief of the International Terrorism Operations Section, 1998-1999. Ambassador Crumpton was also Deputy Chief (Operations) of the CIA's Counterterrorist Center, 1999-2001, and led the CIA's Afghan campaign, 2001-2002. Ambassador Crumpton served as Chief of National Resources Division from August 2003 until June 2005.

Around the Intelligence Community:

DNI Negroponte has been on the job for two months and his enemies started sniping before he even arrived . . . still, the Ambassador has scored some significant victories as he begins to consolidate his new position . . . First up was where to work . . . The DNI will apparently take over two top floors of the new DIA facility at Bolling AFB when the building is complete . . . Prospective staff members are blanching at the prospect of leaving Mclean for SE Washington and a trip across the River each day to work . . . rumor has it that the DNI is looking to take over Navy Hill, across the street from State in Foggy Bottom for his ultimate home.

US Naval Academy midshipmen describe interning at S/CT. One notes: "Attended the filming of a TV interview of former OSS operatives (Donovan’s Office/S/CT, Ops Conference Room)." This suggests S/CT may be located in the Central Building.

Richard Clarke, former counterterrorism chief, writes in his novel Scorpion's Gate:

When he had cocktails on the roof of what was then the new Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, over thirty years ago, Rubenstein had been fascinated by the complex of old buildings he had seen nearby on the hill above the Potomac. They sat across the street from the State Department in the Foggy Bottom section of the city. Called Navy Hill, it had been the first home of the Naval Observatory. After the Observatory had moved in the nineteenth century, the Navy's Bureau of Medical Affairs had taken the Hill. In theory, they were still there, but at the outset of World War II some of the Navy buildings had been emptied out so that America's first real intelligence agency, the Office of Special Services, the OSS, could move in.

Ambassador Rubenstein had insisted on the ten-acre site for his new agency. He took as his own office the suite on the ground floor that had been home in 1942 to Wild Bill Donovan, the first OSS director. Rusty MacIntyre, the first Deputy of the Intelligence Analysis Center, had the office next to his new boss. Both men loved their river views, but the two spent as much time as they could wandering through the three buildings they called "our little campus."

North Gate

South Gate

4 October 2004

Dear [Navy] Secretary England:

During its meeting of 21 September 2004, the Commission reviewed a proposal to increase perimeter security at the North and South gates of the Potomac Annex located at 23rd and E Streets, NW. As you know, the Potomac Annex is in the long shadow of the Lincoln Memorial and is visually connected to the western portion of the National Mall and the Kennedy Center. It is the home of the Old Naval Observatory, a National Historic Landmark. In addition, the Annex’s two gates directly face the main headquarters building of the United States Department of State across 23rd Street, a heavily-trafficked route into downtown Washington. The members found the proposal to be outside of the vocabulary of the city, presenting a siege-like condition of multiple delta barriers and prison-like pedestrian turnstiles. The Commission thought the delta barriers and circular turnstiles were not appropriate or acceptable and did not approve the proposal as submitted.

We ask you to recognize the special condition and context of the site and recommend you look at other acceptable security measures used throughout the city. The State Department uses retractable bollards that are less visually intrusive than Delta barriers but still provide the high level of security they require. Perhaps similar bollards could be used at the Annex’s two gates. For pedestrian access control, the White House is the model to emulate where simple electronically-controlled double gates provide access control. The Potomac Annex is a historic and a highly prominent site and, as such, is one of the areas were the DOD standards for security barriers used elsewhere throughout the country should be reconsidered. The goal is to protect the installation, but without it appearing to be an excessively fortified facility.

The one item that the members thought would be an improvement was the replacement of the chain-link fence with a decorative metal fence matching the existing metal fence found elsewhere on the Annex’s perimeter.

We look forward to further review of more acceptable options in the near future. As always, the staff is available to assist you and the design team.


/s/David M. Childs [Senior Partner, Skidmore Owings and Merrill, Architects]

Chairman [US Commission of Fine Arts]

CIA Headquarters 2430 E Street NW

Source: Department of Defense Visual Information Center (cropped)

Source: Library of Congress Historic American Building Survey (cropped)