Because being a secret agent isn’t cool enough, spymasters tend to build elaborate headquarters buildings with really great nicknames. Here are a few headquarters known for their vodka martinis, Aston Martins, and Walther pistols.
The British Secret Intelligence Service (also called MI6, but more famously known as James Bond’s employer) was only officially acknowledged as an actual organization eight years ago. They probably didn’t have much choice in that decision, as hiding their new headquarters—a giant white-and-Bondi-blue SimCity reward built on the Thames—would have been a bit much. Spies have nicknamed the building Legoland, for obvious reasons.
2. The Aquarium
The GRU, also known as Главное Разведывательное Управление Генерального Штаба, is the military intelligence agency of Russia. Its headquarters is located at Khodynka Airfield in Moscow, and is called “The Aquarium” by GRU employees. Viktor Suvorov, a former Soviet spy, once asked his superior, “What kind of fish are there swimming there?” The response: “There’s only one kind there—piranhas.”
3. The Farm
Camp Peary (officially: the Armed Forces Experimental Training Activity) near Williamsburg, Virginia, looks like every secret base in every spy movie ever filmed. That’s probably what the government was going for, as the site hosts a secret base of its own—a CIA training facility known as “The Farm.” Officially, of course, The Farm doesn’t exist, and doesn’t train CIA officers in everything from paramilitary tactics to surreptitiously swapping briefcases. Nor does it have its own airport with a 5,000-foot runway.
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