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Culper Spy Ring

Organized by Major Benjamin Tallmadge under the orders of General George Washington, the purpose of the Culper Spy Ring was to provide information on British activity during the Revolutionary War. This operation was so secretive that Washington himself did not know the agents’ true identities.

Members of the ring are credited with uncovering a plot to sell West Point to the British by the commanding officer, General Benedict Arnold. If the plan had been successful, the betrayal would have resulted in Americans being cut off from vital supplies as they were shipped up the Hudson River.

Sarah Townsend, Anna Strong, and a female operative known only as “355” played crucial roles in the organization. During a time when women were expected to refrain from holding political views, they were never suspected of being spies. This assumption allowed them to provide valuable assistance and information undetected.

The Culper Spy Ring acted as a model for the CIA. Several techniques employed by the group, such as writing in code and using invisible ink, are still in use today.

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