Prime Original, Jack Ryan, narrates the story of Marine-turned-rookie CIA analyst, Jack Ryan who races against the clock to stop Suleiman, an extremist mastermind from unleashing an insidious assault on U.S. soil. Directed by Graham Roland and Carlton Cuse, the show is an action-packed thrill ride told in eight heart-stopping episodes of an up-to-the-minute reimagining of the iconic American hero’s first foray as a CIA operative.
As much as we are fascinated by the show and character, we were totally blown away by these uber-cool facts we discovered about the CIA, thanks to the show.
1. The Esteemed Seventh Floor
The prominent “seventh floor” at the old headquarters building at Langley is home to the office of the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, possibly one of the most important individuals in the global intelligence community.
2. The Circle
The CIA seal is a reference to the seal built into the lobby floor of the CIA’s Original Headquarters Building. It is a 16-foot granite circle protecting an eagle, a shield, and a 16-point compass star. According to the CIA website, the shield signifies defense, the star signifies the coming together of intelligence records from around the world at a central point, and the eagle, America’s national bird represents strength.
3. CIA’s Memorial Wall
Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan features a reference to the CIA’s Memorial Wall. The wall has permanent inscriptions of five-point stars to represent CIA officers who have died during their service. The deceased officers are also memorialized in the CIA’s Book of Honor which is kept in a display case below the Memorial Wall although some of them remain publicly anonymous.
4. Counter Terrorism Center
According to the 2012 Armed Forces Journal article, ‘Understanding the CIA,’ CIA mission centers, such as the Counter Terrorism Center where Jack Ryan works, gather officers from all of the CIA executives alongside officers from other organizations, like the National Security Agency (NSA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). This allows the CIA to work seamlessly, covering the whole world in a way that acknowledges the interconnectedness of a myriad security and defense issues.
5. Decoding Encryptions
In the second episode of Jack Ryan, you can see Jack’s frustration over the amount of time he thinks it will take to crack Suleiman’s 8-digit cellphone passcode. This scene was inspired by real events. The CIA’s Kryptos sculpture (created by American sculptor Jim Sanborn comprising of an S-shaped copper screen on which are four cut out ciphers in a jumble of 1700 letters) still stands in the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. 3 out of 4 cryptographic puzzles were solved in 1998 by a CIA analyst, David Stein, who supposedly spent about 400 hours decoding the messages during lunch breaks.
All episodes of Prime Original series ‘Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan’, the CIA analyst cum field officer are now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.