Nightly News   |  July 24, 2013

A rare look inside the ‘secret’ CIA museum

Filled with secrets, the CIA museum -- which is closed to the public – houses all kinds of artifacts: from a 70s-era drone, to the gun found next to Osama bin Laden when Navy SEALs killed him in a midnight raid. NBC’s Richard Engel reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> finally tonight, if washington, d.c. is the capital of all museums, and considering this is the height of summer tourist season , we wanted to show you one place not on the tour. where the public is not allowed. but it contains vast treasures nonetheless of a secret variety. specifically the tools of the trade of the cia . tonight our chief foreign correspondent richard engel has been offered a rare look.

>> reporter: it's the greatest museum you'll never see. and it's filled with secrets. hidden cameras , weapons, decoding machines.

>> figuring out how the enigma worked is one of the turning points of the war.

>> reporter: world war ii when the cia began as the oss, the office of strategic services . ever since, the agency has created tools for spies. not james bond , not maxwell smart .

>> chief?

>> reporter: these are for real, vintage pistols with silencers, a camera carrying pigeon, a 70s era drone the size of a dragonfly, the insectothopter. coin sized camera. it's american history but no visitors allowed. the secrecy protects cia officers undercover.

>> i love this. even in your own museum. oh, to celebrate the accomplishments. their faces are blurred out. the killing of osama bin laden is represented here too. this is the mock up. i recognize this from seeing it so many times. this is bin laden 's compound. a mock up.

>> the original was used for briefing policy makers. to brief the president.

>> brief the president?

>> absolutely. the assault team used it to plan their raid.

>> reporter: so tell us more --

>> we had hundreds of pieces of all source in tell jns intelligence.

>> including the internal spaces?

>> i can't talk about that.

>> reporter: can't talk about that?

>> no.

>> reporter: they can talk about this, osama bin laden 's personal ak-47, recovered by navy seals on the night of the raid. much like in the movie "zero dark 30." the real one. this one has never been seen until now.

>> yes, this is the rifle that was recovered from the third floor of the compound by the assault, russian with markings.

>> reporter: on the night of the raid, bin laden never fired a shot. now he is gone and his gun is a museum piece . one of thousand here. for private viewing only. richard engel , nbc news,