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‘Make security your thing’: how the NSA promoted secrecy in bizarre Cold War office art

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Long before Edward Snowden, during the Cold War, the US National Security Agency (NSA) knew how to encourage employees to keep their mouths shut about government secrets. It knew a thing or two about graphic design, as seen on a batch of declassified posters that emphasise the need for silence. 

 © nsa via government attic
© NSA via Government Attic

More than a hundred vintage NSA flyers from the 1950s onwards were published earlier this month by the Government Attic website that posts obscure government documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. 

 © nsa via government attic
© NSA via Government Attic

From pop-culture references to holiday-themed posters, the NSA office art took creativity to a new level and made sure to grab the staff’s attention. 

 © nsa via government attic
© NSA via Government Attic

At water coolers, cafeterias and restrooms, NSA officers were always reminded that “security is a state of mind” and were warned against throwing away sensitive information into garbage bins. Although “security is no laugh-in matter,” RTD has picked out the most bizarre, odd, and sometimes surreal NSA posters.

© NSA via Government Attic
© NSA via Government Attic