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CIA’s Last Classified Fax Machines Are About to Retire

A secure email system dubbed Gray Magic will replace the legendary analog technology.

The Central Intelligence Agency still uses fax machines to share secret information with its private contractors. That’s to change later this summer. 

The CIA will retire its secure faxes and shift procurement-related discussions with contractors to a special email network known as Gray Magic, according to Margaret Augustine, the CIA’s procurement executive. 

“Our communications with industry, at the classified level, is through secure fax machines,” Augustine said during a Tuesday Intelligence and National Security Alliance virtual event. “In this day and age, embarrassingly, we probably would see fax machines in the Smithsonian.”

About 100 of the agency’s vendors have already signed up to use the new email network for secret communication, which was first announced in 2019, she said. The secure fax machines will be retired in August.

Companies are looking for “anything that allows the public and private sectors to collaborate in a more expeditious manner,” said Suzanne Wilson Heckenberg, president of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance.

The new Gray Magic email ”promotes the direct communication and collaboration with the government in a timely manner,” she said. “The fax machine just slows down the turn in the acquisition process.”

The Gray Magic email will also be used for non-acquisition matters, Augustine said.