Central Intelligence Agency

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Image:Central Intelligence Agency logo.png Template:Redirect The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is an intelligence agency of the United States Government, responsible for obtaining and analyzing information about foreign governments, corporations, and individuals, and reporting such information to the various branches of the Government. A third function of the CIA is to act as the "hidden hand" of the government by engaging in covert operations, some of questionable legality, at the direction of the President. [1] It is this last function that has caused most of the controversies regarding the CIA over the years.

Its headquarters are in the community of Langley in the McLean CDP of Fairfax County, Virginia, a few miles up the Potomac River from downtown Washington, D.C.. The CIA is part of the American Intelligence Community, which is now led by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). The roles and functions of the CIA are roughly equivalent to those of the United Kingdom's MI6 and Israel's Mossad.




Image:2430 E Street.png The Agency, created in 1947 by the National Security Act of 1947 signed by President Harry S. Truman, is a descendant of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) of World War II. The OSS was dissolved in October 1945 but William J. Donovan (aka Wild Bill), the creator of the OSS, submitted a proposal to President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944 calling for a new organization having direct Presidential supervision, "which will procure intelligence both by overt and covert methods and will at the same time provide intelligence guidance, determine national intelligence objectives, and correlate the intelligence material collected by all government agencies." Despite strong opposition from the military, the State Department, and the FBI, Truman established the Central Intelligence Group in January 1946. Later under the National Security Act of 1947 (which became effective on September 18, 1947) the National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency were established. In its creation many disposed Nazi operatives were recruited to become agents, they were offered financial packages and promised to be exempt from trial for their war crimes committed in World War II. This was a result of Operation Paperclip. Rear Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter was appointed as the first Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

In 1949, the Central Intelligence Agency Act (also called "Public Law 110") was passed, permitting the agency to use confidential, fiscal, and administrative procedures and exempting it from many of the usual limitations on the use of federal funds. The act also exempted the CIA from having to disclose its "organization, functions, officials, titles, salaries, or numbers of personnel employed." It also created a program called "PL-110" to handle defectors and other "essential aliens" outside normal immigration procedures, as well as giving those persons cover stories and economic support. [2] By 1949, the West German intelligence agency Bundesnachrichtendienst, under Reinhard Gehlen, was under the CIA's control.

In 1950, the CIA organized the Pacific Corporation, the first of many CIA private enterprises. Director Hillenkoetter approved Project BLUEBIRD, the CIA's first structured behavioral control program. In 1951, the Columbia Broadcasting System began cooperating with the CIA. President Truman created the Office of Current Intelligence. Project BLUEBIRD was renamed Project ARTICHOKE.

During the first years of its existence, other branches of government did not exercise much control over the Agency. This was often justified by a desire to defeat and match the activities of the KGB across the globe, a task that many believed could only be accomplished through an equally ungentlemanly approach. As a result, few in government inquired too closely into CIA activity. The rapid expansion of the Agency and a developing sense of independence under DCI Allen Dulles added to this trend.

Things came to a head in the early 1970s, around the time of the Watergate affair. One dominant feature of political life during this period were the attempts of Congress to assert its power of oversight over the executive branch of government. Revelations about past CIA activities, such as assassination attempts of foreign leaders and illegal domestic spying, provided the opportunity to carry out this process in the sphere of intelligence operations. Hastening the Agency's fall from grace were the involvement of ex-CIA agents in the Watergate break-in and President Nixon's subsequent attempts to use the CIA to stop the FBI investigation of Watergate. In the famous "smoking gun" tape which led to Nixon's resignation, Nixon ordered his chief of staff Haldeman to tell the CIA that further investigation of Watergate would "open the whole can of worms" about the Bay Of Pigs operation, and therefore that the CIA should tell the FBI to stop investigating Watergate because of "national security."

DCI James R. Schlesinger had commissioned a series of reports on past CIA wrongdoing. These reports, known euphemistically as "the Family Jewels", were kept close to the Agency's chest until an article by Seymour Hersh in the New York Times broke the news that the CIA had been involved in the assassination of foreign leaders and kept files on some seven thousand American citizens involved in the peace movement (Operation CHAOS). Congress investigated the CIA in the Senate through the Church committee, named after Chairman Frank Church (D-Idaho) and in the House through the Pike committee, named after Chairman Otis Pike (D-N.Y.); and these investigations led to further embarrassing disclosures. Around the Christmas of 1974/5, another blow was struck by Congress when they blocked covert intervention in Angola.

The CIA was subsequently prohibited from assassinating foreign leaders. Further, the prohibition against domestic spying, which had always been prohibited by the CIA charter, was again to be enforced, with the FBI having sole responsibility for domestic investigation of US citizens .

In 1988, President George H. W. Bush became the first former head of the CIA to be elected President of the United States.

Image:CIA New HQ Entrance.jpg

Previously, the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) oversaw the Intelligence Community and served as the principal intelligence adviser to the president, in addition to serving as head of the Central Intelligence Agency. The DCI's title is now Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (DCIA), and the Director serves as head of the CIA.

Today, the Central Intelligence Agency reports to U.S. Congressional committees but also answers to the President directly. The National Security Advisor is a permanent cabinet member responsible for briefing the President on pertinent information collected from all U.S. intelligence agencies including the National Security Agency, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and others. All 15 agencies of the Intelligence Community are under the Director of National Intelligence.

Many of the post-Watergate restrictions on the CIA were removed after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the U.S. military hub, the Pentagon. Some critics have charged that this violates the requirement in the U.S. Constitution that the federal budget be openly published. However, 52 years earlier, in 1949, Congress and President Harry Truman had approved arrangements that CIA and national intelligence funding could be hidden in the overall U.S federal budget.

CIA seal

The compass, or star, as some call it, has sixteen points. These points represents the CIA's search for intelligence data from all over the world (outside the United States) and bringing it back to headquarters in Virginia for analysis, reporting, and redistribution to policy makers. The compass rests upon a shield which is a symbol for defense.


The current Director of the Central Intelligence Agency is Porter J. Goss.

The current Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency is Vice Admiral Albert M. Calland[3]. The DD/CIA assists the Director in his duties as head of the CIA and exercises the powers of the Director when the Director’s position is vacant or in the Director’s absence or disability.

The Executive Director of the Central Intelligence Agency is Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, who has responsibility for the CIA's day-to-day management.

The Directorate of Intelligence[4], the analytical branch of the CIA, is responsible for the production and dissemination of all-source intelligence analysis on key foreign issues. The current Director of Intelligence is John A. Kringen[5].

The National Clandestine Service, a semi-independent service which was formerly the Directorate of Operations, is responsible for the clandestine collection of foreign intelligence and covert action. The current Director of the NCS is Jose A. Rodriguez, Jr.

The Directorate of Science & Technology[6] creates and applies innovative technology in support of the intelligence collection mission. The current Director of Science & Technology is Stephanie L. O’Sullivan.

The Directorate of Support provides the mission critical elements of the Agency's support foundation: people, security, information, property, and financial operations. The current Director of Support is Stephanie Danes Smith[7]. Most of this Directorate is sub-structured into smallers offices based on role and purpose, such as the Office of CIA Security.

The Center for the Study of Intelligence[8] maintains the Agency's historical materials and promotes the study of intelligence as a legitimate and serious discipline. The current Director is Paul Johnson.

The Office of the General Counsel[9]advises the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency on all legal matters relating to his role as CIA director and is the principal source of legal counsel for the CIA. The current Acting General Counsel is John A. Rizzo.

The Office of Inspector General promotes efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability in the administration of Agency activities. OIG also seeks to prevent and detect fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement. The Inspector General is nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The Inspector General, whose activities are independent of those of any other component in the Agency, reports directly to the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. OIG conducts inspections, investigations, and audits at Headquarters and in the field, and oversees the Agency-wide grievance-handling system. The OIG provides a semiannual report to the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency which the Director is required to submit by law to the Intelligence Committees of Congress within 30 days. The current Inspector General is John L. Helgerson.

The Office of Public Affairs[10] advises the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency on all media, public policy, and employee communications issues relating to his role as CIA director and is the CIA’s principal communications focal point for the media, the general public and Agency employees. The current Director of Public Affairs is Jennifer Millerwise Dyck[11].

Relationship with other agencies

The CIA acts as the primary American provider of central intelligence estimates. It is believed to make use of the surveillance satellites of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and the signal interception capabilities of the NSA, including the ECHELON system, the surveillance aircraft of the various branches of the U.S. armed forces and the analysts of the State Department and Department of Energy. At one point, the CIA even operated its own fleet of U-2 surveillance aircraft. The agency has also operated alongside regular military forces, and also employs a group of clandestine officers with paramilitary skills in its Special Activities Division. Micheal Spann, a CIA officer killed in November 2001 during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, was one such individual. The CIA also has strong links with other foreign intelligence agencies such as the UK's MI6 and Canada's CSIS.

Director of the Central Intelligence Agency

The head of the CIA is given the title of the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (DCIA).

The Central Intelligence Agency was created in 1947 with the signing of the National Security Act by President Harry S. Truman. The act also created a Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) to serve as head of the United States intelligence community; act as the principal adviser to the President for intelligence matters related to the national security; and serve as head of the Central Intelligence Agency. The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 amended the National Security Act to provide for a Director of National Intelligence who would assume some of the roles formerly fulfilled by the DCI, with a separate Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Porter J. Goss became the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency on April 21 2005[12]. He served as Director of Central Intelligence from September 24 2004 until April 21 2005. Director Goss previously served as head of the House Intelligence Committee as a representative from Florida. Director Goss is also a former CIA Operations Officer.

Historical operations

See also Category:CIA operations

North America

In the 1950's and 60's, the CIA ran a mind-control research program code-named Project MKULTRA.

Eastern Europe

In its earliest years the CIA and its predecessor, the OSS, attempted to rollback communism in eastern Europe by supporting local anti-communist groups; none of these attempts met with much success. Attempts to instigate revolutions in the Ukraine and Belarus by infiltrating anti-Communist spies and saboteurs met with total failure. In Poland the CIA spent several years sending money and equipment to an organization invented and run by Polish intelligence. It was more successful in its efforts to limit Communist influence in France and Italy, notably in the 1948 Italian election. After WWII, the CIA was instrumental in setting up the Gladio network, a secret government network of organizations in Italy and in other parts of Western Europe. In the 1960s-1980s, Gladio operatives, were involved in a series of "false flag" terrorist actions in Italy that were blamed on the "Red Brigades" and other Left groups in an attempt to discredit the Italian Left — called the strategy of tension). <ref>Template:Cite journal</ref>

It has now been firmly established (see references below) that the OSS actively recruited and protected many high ranking Nazi officers immediately following World War II, a policy that was carried on by the CIA[13]. These included, the CIA now admits, the notorious "butcher of Lyon" Klaus Barbie, Hitler's Chief of Soviet Intelligence General Reinhard Gehlen, and numerous less-renowned Gestapo officers. General Gehlen, due to his extensive (if dubious) intelligence assets within the Soviet Union, was allowed to keep his spy-network intact after the war in the service of the United States. The Gehlen organization soon became one of America's chief sources of Intelligence on the Soviet Union during the cold war, and formed the basis for what would later become the German intelligence agency the BND.

Developing World

With Europe stabilizing along the line of the Iron Curtain, the CIA then moved in the 1950s to try to limit the spread of Soviet influence elsewhere around the globe, especially in the Third World. With the encouragement of DCI Allen Dulles, clandestine operations quickly came to dominate the organization. Initially they proved very successful: in Iran in 1953 the CIA successfully overthrew the democratically elected Mossadegh government after it attempted to retain more of the country's oil revenues and remove perceived communist influence from the strong Iranian Communist Party (see Operation Ajax). In Guatemala in 1954 (see Operation PBSUCCESS), CIA operations, with relatively little funding, orchestrated the overthrow of these democratically elected governments and replaced them with non-democratic and pro-American dictatorships. However, the instability created in Guatemala resulted in a 30-year civil war which caused over 100,000 fatalities; and in Iran, the Shah's dictatorship, which aggressively eliminated all political opposition, would cause the rise of a fundamentalist Islamic government after the Shah was eventually overthrown in the 1979 Iranian revolution[14]. However, some claim that without the initial involvement of the US the Soviet Union would have been able to influence Iran and others enough to spread their communism and thus creating a much worse result than radical Islam-- the Cold War turned hot, what would have been World War III.Template:Fact


In 1958, a CIA-backed coup attempt was made on Indonesia's President Sukarno, while other elements of the U.S. government backed Sukarno.Template:Fact The operation failed when a CIA operative was captured after his plane was shot down, and was found to have on his possession his actual identification as a CIA agent. Template:Fact

In 1965 Sukarno was ousted in a coup d'état led by Suharto. As many as 5,000 names of communists and leftists were furnished to the Indonesian army by the CIA, and the Americans later checked off the names of those who had been killed or captured."<ref>Template:Cite book (Link is excerpts of book); Template:Cite journal ; The same article appeared in the Washington Post May 21, 1990, South Carolina Herald-Journal on May 19, 1990, and the Boston Globe on May 23, 1990.</ref> One of those Kadane interviewed was Robert J Martens, a political officer in the US embassy in Jakarta. "It was a big help to the army", he said. "They probably killed a lot of people and I probably have a lot of blood on my hands, but that's not all bad."<ref>Pilger p. 32</ref> In little more than a month, an estimated 500,000 executions took place, often directed at Indonesia's Chinese minority. In a 1968 report, the CIA estimated there had been 250,000 deaths, and called the carnage "one of the worst mass murders of the 20th century."<ref>Kadane, Kathy; see above. Time magazine hailed Suharto's "New Order" as "the West's best news for years in Asia." Template:Cite journal,</ref>

The CIA secretly supplied Suharto's troops with a field communications network. Flown in at night by US Air Force planes from the Philippines, this was state-of-the-art equipment, whose frequencies were known to the CIA and the National Security Agency. Not only did this technology allow Suharto's generals to coordinate the killings more efficiently, it also meant that the highest echelons of the US administration could listen in. Suharto was able to seal off large areas of the country.<ref>Pilger p. 32</ref>


The limitations of large scale covert action became readily apparent during the CIA organized Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba in 1961. The failure embarrassed the CIA and the United States on the world stage, as Cuban leader Fidel Castro used the botched invasion to consolidate power and strengthen ties with the Soviet Union. However, the CIA attempted unsuccessfully several times to assassinate the Cuban head of state as part of its Operation Mongoose.

CIA operations after Cuba

CIA operations became less ambitious after the Bay of Pigs, and shifted to being closely linked to aiding the U.S. military operation in Vietnam. Between 1962 and 1975, the CIA organized a Laotian group known as the Secret Army and ran a fleet of aircraft known as Air America to take part in the Secret War in Laos, part of the Vietnam War.


After the election of Socialist President Salvador Allende in 1970 the CIA covertly worked to prevent him from taking office through bribery of Chilean officials, which failed. Afterwards, an attempted coup was plotted by the CIA with anti-Allende factions, but it eventually was forced to abort the project. (See Project FUBELT}

Three years later, Allende was overthrown by military leader Augusto Pinochet. Allegations have been made that the CIA was behind the coup, although none have been completely confirmed or contradicted. The Church Committee, which investigated U.S. involvement in Chile during this period, stated that "There is no hard evidence of direct U.S. assistance to the coup, despite frequent allegations of such aid.[15]" In 2000 the CIA also denied that it assisted the coup.

The Church Report also showed that the CIA played a prominent role in Chile after the 1973 coup: The goal of covert action immediately following the coup was to assist the Junta in gaining a more positive image, both at home and abroad, and to maintain access to the command levels of the Chilean government. Another goal, achieved in part through work done at the opposition research organization before the coup, was to help the new government organize and implement new policies. Project files record that. CIA collaborators were involved in preparing an initial overall economic plan which has served as the basis for the Junta's most important economic decisions.

Nicaragua and cocaine conspiracy

In the early 1980s, after the overthrow of the Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua, the CIA funded and armed the Contras, forces opposed to the leftist and Marxist Sandinista junta. Congress passed the Boland Amendment which forbade any U.S. funding of the Contras. The Reagan administration violated the Boland Amendment by using profits from the sale of arms to Iran to fund the Contras. Part of the CIA campaign to overthrow the Nicaragua government included mining Nicaragua's harbors, resulting in the sinking of a merchant ship. This resulted in a World Court decision in the case Nicaragua v. United States ordering the United States to pay Nicaragua reparations, although the U.S. ignored the verdict of the World Court. In 1993, with support of the U.S. government, Colombia created the Search Block to locate and kill Pablo Escobar.

In 1996, journalist Gary Webb wrote a series of exposes for the San Jose Mercury News, entitled "Dark Alliance", in which he alleged the use of CIA aircraft, which had ferried arms to the Contras, to ship cocaine to the United States during the return flights. As a consequence. Webb also alleged that Central American narcotics traffickers could import cocaine to U.S. cities in the 1980s without the interference of normal law enforcement agencies. He claimed that this led, in part, to the crack cocaine epidemic, especially in poor neighborhoods of Los Angeles, and that the CIA intervened to prevent the prosecution of drug dealers who were helping to fund the Contras. Faced with Congressional and other media criticism (especially the Los Angeles Times), the San Jose Mercury News retracted Webb's conclusions) and Webb was prevented from conducting any more investigative reporting. Webb was transferred to cover non-controversial suburban stories, and was finally forced from his job. He died in 2004 of an alleged suicide.


In 1952 the CIA had founded the Robertson Panel to recommend what is to done about UFOs and/or alien contact after Washington, D.C. was involved in a major UFO sighting. It recommends that people be ridiculed, that UFO groups and organizations, such as Mufon be spied on, and there is evidence that this program is still going on according to UFO and paranormal related websites and data sites. See UFO conspiracy theory, Robertson Panel

Defectors such as former agent Philip Agee, who later worked with the Soviet KGB and the Cuban intelligence service, have alleged that such CIA covert action is extraordinarily widespread, extending to propaganda campaigns within countries allied to the United States. The agency has also been accused of participation in the illegal drug trade, notably in Laos, Afghanistan, Nicaragua and Los Angeles (see "Drug Trafficking" section, below; "Whiteout" by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair). It is known to have attempted assassinations of foreign leaders, most notably Fidel Castro, though since 1976 a Presidential order has banned such "executive actions," except during wartime.

In 1996, the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence issued a congressional report estimating that the clandestine service part of the intelligence community "easily" breaks "extremely serious laws" in countries around the world, 100,000 times every year. [16]

In a briefing held September 15 2001, George Tenet presented the Worldwide Attack Matrix: A "top-secret" document describing covert CIA anti-terror operations in eighty countries in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. The actions, underway or being recommended, would range from "routine propaganda to lethal covert action in preparation for military attacks." The plans, if carried out, "would give the CIA the broadest and most lethal authority in its history." [17]

On November 5 2002, newspapers reported that Al-Qaeda operatives in a car travelling through Yemen had been killed by a missile launched from a CIA-controlled Predator drone (a medium-altitude, remote-controlled aircraft). On May 15, 2005, it was reported [18] that another of these drones had been used to assassinate Al-Qaeda figure Haitham al-Yemeni inside Pakistan.

In June 2005, two events occurred that may shape future CIA operations.

Arrest warrants for 13 CIA agents were issued in Italy. The agents are alleged to have taken a suspected Egyptian terrorist from Milan on 17 February 2003 for extraordinary rendition to Egypt, where according to relatives of the cleric, he was tortured. The removal of the terrorist wasn't unusual except that the Italian government has denied having approved the rendition. Similar operations of this sort have occurred worldwide since 9/11, the vast majority with at least tacit approval by the national government. Additionally, it allegedly disrupted Italian attempts to penetrate the terrorist's Al Qaeda network [19]. The New York Times reported soon after that it is highly unlikely that the CIA agents involved would be extradited, despite the US-Italy bilateral treaty regarding extraditions for crimes that carry a penalty of more than a year in prison. The agents involved in the operation are also reported to have booked lavish hotels during the operation and taken taxpayer-funded vacations after it was complete. [20]

Soon after, President Bush appointed the CIA to be in charge of all human intelligence and manned spying operations. This was the apparent culmination of a years old turf war regarding influence, philosophy and budget between the Defense Intelligence Agency of The Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency. The Pentagon, through the DIA, wanted to take control of the CIA's paramilitary operations and many of its human assets. The CIA, which has for years held that human intelligence is the core of the agency, successfully argued that the CIA's decades long experience with human resources and civilian oversight made it the ideal choice. Thus, the CIA was given charge of all US human intelligence, but as a compromise, the Pentagon was authorized to include increased paramilitary capabilities in future budget requests.

Despite reforms which have led back to what the CIA considers its traditional principal capacities, the CIA Director position has lost influence in the White House. For years, the Director of the CIA met regularly with the President to issue daily reports on ongoing operations. After the creation of the post of the National Intelligence Director, currently occupied by John Negroponte, that practice has been discontinued in favor of the National Intelligence Director, with oversight of all intelligence, including DIA operations outside of CIA jurisdiction, giving the report. Current CIA Director Porter Goss, himself a former CIA officer, denies this has had a diminishing effect on morale, in favor of promoting his singular mission to reform the CIA into the lean and agile counter-terrorism focused force he believes it should be.

On December 6 2005, German Khalid El-Masri filed a lawsuit against former CIA Director George Tenet, claiming that he was transported from Macedonia to a prison in Afghanistan and held captive there by the CIA for 5 months on a case of mistaken identity. Two months after his true identity had been found out, he had been taken to Albania and released without funds or an official excuse.

Support for foreign dictators

The activities of the CIA have caused considerable political controversy both in the United States and in other countries, often nominally friendly to the United States, where the agency has operated (or been alleged to). Particularly during the Cold War, the CIA supported a long list of dictators, including Chile's infamous Augusto Pinochet, a number of dictatorships in Central America, the Shah of Iran, and the despots in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Indonesia, who have been friendly to perceived U.S. geopolitical interests (namely anti-Communism, providing access to oil companies and other multi-national corporations and implementing a liberal economic system), sometimes over democratically-elected governments.

Often cited as one of the American intelligence community's biggest blunders is the CIA involvement in equipping and training Mujahedeen fighters in Afghanistan in response to the Soviet invasion of the country. The Mujahedeen trained by the CIA later formed Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda terrorist organization. Zbigniew Brzezinski, the National Security Advisor under President Carter, has discussed U.S. involvement in Afghanistan in several publications.

Later, the CIA facilitated the so-called Reagan Doctrine, channelling weapons and other support to Jonas Savimbi's UNITA rebel movement in Angola (in addition to the Mujahedeen and the Contras) in response to Cuban military support for the MPLA, thus turning an otherwise low-profile African civil war into one of the larger battlegrounds of the Cold War.

Highly-illegal activities

The Intelligence Community in the 21st Century, Staff Study, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress: [21]

"Most of the operations of the CS [Clandestine Service] are, by all accounts, the most tricky, politically sensitive, and troublesome of those in the IC [Intelligence Community] and frequently require the DCI's [Director of Central Intelligence's] close personal attention. The [Clandestine Service] is the only part of the [Intelligence Community], indeed of the government, where hundreds of employees on a daily basis are directed to break extremely serious laws in countries around the world in the face of frequently sophisticated efforts by foreign governments to catch them. A safe estimate is that several hundred times every day (easily 100,000 times a year) DO [Directorate of Operations] officers engage in highly illegal activities (according to foreign law) that not only risk political embarrassment to the U.S. but also endanger the freedom if not lives of the participating foreign nationals and, more than occasionally, of the clandestine officer himself. In other words, a typical 28 year old, GS-11 case officer has numerous opportunities every week, by poor tradecraft or inattention, to embarrass his country and President and to get agents imprisoned or executed. Considering these facts and recent history, which has shown that the DCI, whether he wants to or not, is held accountable for overseeing the CS, the DCI must work closely with the Director of the CS and hold him fully and directly responsible to him."

Criticism for ineffectiveness

The agency has also been criticized for ineffectiveness as an intelligence gathering agency. These criticisms included allowing a double agent, Aldrich Ames, to gain high position within the organization, and for focusing on finding informants with information of dubious value rather than on processing the vast amount of open source intelligence. In addition, the CIA has come under particular criticism for failing to predict the collapse of the Soviet Union and India's nuclear tests or to forestall the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Conversely, proponents of the CIA respond by stating that only the failures become known to the public, whereas the successes cannot be known until decades have passed. Immediate release of successful operations would reveal operational methods to foreign intelligence, which could affect future and/or ongoing missions. Some successes for the CIA include the U-2 and SR-71 programs, anti-Soviet operations in Afghanistan in the mid-1980s (though with the serious downsides noted earlier, the ultimate worth of these operations is open to considerable debate), and perhaps others which may not come to light for some time.

Drug trafficking

Allegations have repeatedly been made that the CIA has been involved in drug trafficking to fund illegal operations. For example, it has been alleged that the CIA was involved in the sale of cocaine in Los Angeles to help fund the Iran-Contra Affair (see [22]). Ms. Waters, stated in Congress:

In 1982, the Attorney General and the Director of Central Intelligence entered into an agreement that excluded the reporting of narcotics and drug crimes by the CIA to the Justice Department. Under this agreement, there was no requirement to report information of drug trafficking and drug law violations with respect to CIA agents, assets, non-staff employees and contractors. This remarkable and secret agreement was enforced from February 1982 to August of 1995. This covers nearly the entire period of U.S. involvement in the Contra war in Nicaragua and the deep U.S. involvement in the counterinsurgency activities in El Salvador and Central America. [23]

On October 8, 1998, CIA Inspector General Hitz published Volume Two of his internal investigation of CIA connections with crack distribution in the United States and with Latin American drug dealers. Allegedly the report published evidence that drug trafficking and money laundering had made its way into Reagan's National Security Council. The report was described by some critics as outlining how the Reagan-Bush administration had deliberately thwarted federal investigations into drug crimes by protecting more than 50 contras and other drug traffickers. (Gary Webb; Dark Alliance by Gary Webb; Whiteout by Alexander Cockburn but there is no other public sourcing for these allegations. It has also been alleged that the CIA has been involved in the opium/heroin trade in Asia. (see [24]).


In roughly 1948 to 1958, the CIA program Operation Ohio was responsible for a hundred assassinations in Europe.

In 1957, the CIA formed Iran's SAVAK. Later, SAVAK was accused of assassinating Iranian dissidents.

The CIA has been linked to several assassination attempts on foreign leaders, including former leader of Panama Omar Torrijos and the President of Cuba, Fidel Castro. (See Church Committee)

On January 13, 2006, the CIA launched an airstrike on Damadola, a Pakistani village near the Afghan border, where they believed Ayman al-Zawahiri was located. The airstrike killed eight men, five women and five children but al-Zawahiri was not among them. The Pakistan government issued a strong protest against the US attack, considered a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty. [25] [26]

CIA operations in Iraq

According to certain authors[27] [28] [29] [30] the CIA appears to have supported the 1963 military coup in Iraq and the subsequent Saddam Hussein-led government up until the point of the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. U.S. support was predicated on the notion that Iraq was a key buffer state in relations with the Soviet Union. There are court records [31] indicating that the CIA gave military and monetary assistance to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War. The CIA were also involved in the failed 1996 coup against Saddam Hussein (see Iyad Allawi).

In 2002 an unnamed source, quoted in the Washington Post, says that the CIA was authorized to undertake a covert operation, if necessary with help of the Special Forces, that could serve as a preparation for a full-scale military attack of Iraq. [32]

The unreliability of U.S. intelligence on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq have been a focus of intense scrutiny in the U.S. In 2004, the continuing armed resistance against the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and the widely perceived need for systematic review of the respective roles of the CIA, FBI and the Defense Intelligence Agency are prominent themes. On July 9 2004 the Senate Report of Pre-war Intelligence on Iraq of the Senate Intelligence Committee stated that the CIA described the danger presented by weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in an unreasonable way, largely unsupported by the available intelligence. [33]

Secret CIA prisons

A story by reporter Dana Priest published in The Washington Post of November 2 2005, reported: "The CIA has been hiding and interrogating some of its most important alleged al Qaeda captives at a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe, according to U.S. and foreign officials familiar with the arrangement."[34] However, a Council of Europe investigation has found no evidence that such prisons exist. [35]

The report contends that the CIA has a worldwide covert prison system with facilities in Asia, Eastern Europe, and in Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. The system is central to the agency's anti-terror role, and according to the report has been kept secret from government officials (including Congressional committees that oversee the CIA) through the agency's own efforts as well as cooperation with foreign intelligence services.

Priest's story continues:

"The existence and locations of the facilities – referred to as "black sites" in classified White House, CIA, Justice Department and congressional documents – are known to only a handful of officials in the United States and, usually, only to the president and a few top intelligence officers in each host country... The secret facility is part of a covert prison system set up by the CIA nearly four years ago that at various times has included sites in eight countries, including Thailand, Afghanistan and several democracies in Eastern Europe, as well as a small center at the Guantánamo Bay prison in Cuba, according to current and former intelligence officials and diplomats from three continents."

The BBC has followed up on these reports and states that there is credible evidence of covert prisons. [36]

Trent Lott also appears to have confirmed their existence. [37]

On November 8 2005 U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert called for a joint leak probe by the Senate and House intelligence committees into the disclosure of these alleged secret CIA facilities in a letter. In their letter (If the Post story is correct) "such an egregious disclosure could have long-term and far-reaching damaging and dangerous consequences, and will imperil our efforts to protect the American people and our homeland from terrorist attacks."[38]

The letter went on to ask: "What is the actual and potential damage done to the national security of the United States and our partners in the global war on terror?"

Republican Senator Lindsey O. Graham accused the Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Speaker J. Dennis Hastert of shifting the focus of investigations from why these prisons exist to how information of them was leaked to the public.

Spain is investigating allegations that the CIA used Palma airport for unauthorised prisoner transfers [39].


Declassified CIA manuals


Main Article: Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare

In 1984, a CIA manual for training the Nicaraguan contras in psychological operations was discovered, entitled "Psychological Operations in Guerrilla War".[40]

The manual recommended “selective use of violence for propagandistic effects” and to “neutralize” (i.e., kill) government officials. Nicaraguan Contras were taught to lead:

demonstrators into clashes with the authorities, to provoke riots or shootings, which lead to the killing of one or more persons, who will be seen as the martyrs; this situation should be taken advantage of immediately against the Government to create even bigger conflicts.

The manual also recommended:

selective use of armed force for PSYOP [psychological operations] effect.... Carefully selected, planned targets — judges, police officials, tax collectors, etc. — may be removed for PSYOP effect in a UWOA [unconventional warfare operations area], but extensive precautions must insure that the people “concur” in such an act by thorough explanatory canvassing among the affected populace before and after conduct of the mission.[41]

Main Article: Torture manuals

On January 24, 1997, two new manuals were declassified in response to a FOIA request filed by the Baltimore Sun in 1994. The first manual, "KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation," dated July 1963, is the source of much of the material in the second manual. The second manual, "Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual--1983," was used in at least seven U.S. training courses conducted in Latin American countries, including Honduras, between 1982 and 1987.

Both manuals deal exclusively with interrogation.[42] [43]

Both manuals have an entire chapter devoted to "coercive techniques." These manuals recommend arresting suspects early in the morning by surprise, blindfolding them, and stripping them naked. Suspects should be held incommunicado and should be deprived of any kind of normal routine in eating and sleeping. Interrogation rooms should be windowless, soundproof, dark and without toilets.

The manuals advise that torture techniques can backfire and that the threat of pain is often more effective than pain itself. The manuals describe coercive techniques to be used "to induce psychological regression in the subject by bringing a superior outside force to bear on his will to resist." These techniques include prolonged constraint, prolonged exertion, extremes of heat, cold, or moisture, deprivation of food or sleep, disrupting routines, solitary confinement, threats of pain, deprivation of sensory stimuli, hypnosis, and use of drugs or placebos. [44] [45]

The second manual, "Human Resource Exploitation" states the importance of knowing local laws regarding detention but then notes, "Illegal detention always requires prior HQS [headquarters] approval." (p. B-2) [46]

Iraq War

In December 2005, ABC News reported that former agents claimed the CIA used waterboarding, along with five other "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques", against suspected members of al Qaeda held in the secret prisons. [47] [48]. Waterboarding is widely regarded as a form of torture, though there are reports that President Bush signed a secret "finding" that it is not and authorizing its use.

On 13 December, 2005 Dick Marty, investigating illegal CIA activity in Europe on behalf of the Council of Europe, reported evidence that "individuals had been abducted and transferred to other countries without respect for any legal standards". Marty at a news conference said he believed that the United States had moved its illegally detained from Europe to North Africa in early November as a reaction to the Washington Post report. Marty's investigation has found that no evidence exists establishing the existence of secret CIA prisons in Europe, but said there are enough "indications" to justify continuing the investigation. The report added, however, that it was "highly unlikely" that European governments were unaware of the American program of renditions. Marty's interim report, which was based largely on a compendium of press clippings, has been described by the British Government as "clouded in myth" and "as full of holes as Swiss cheese," and has been harshly criticised by the governments of various EU member states.[49]


Other Government Agency, or OGA, is the standard military and governmental euphemism for the CIA. It is used when the CIA's presence is an open secret, but cannot be officially confirmed.[50] [51] Other colloquial names for the CIA are The Agency and The Company.

A pejorative term for people who work for the CIA or other intelligence agencies is often "spook"; the phrase "Virginia farmboys" is also occasionally used in reference to the Langley, VA headquarters.

One of the CIA's publications, the CIA World Factbook, is unclassified and is indeed made freely available without copyright restrictions because it is a work of the United States federal government.

The CIA publishes an in-house professional journal known as Studies in Intelligence. Unclassified articles are made available on a limited basis through Internet and other publishing mechanisms. A recent compilation of unclassified and declassified articles from the Journal was made available through the Sherman Kent School for Intelligence Analysis. A further annotated collection of articles was published through Yale University Press under the title Inside CIA's Private World.

The U.S. intelligence budget, which includes the budget for the CIA, is a well kept government secret, but it was made public for a couple of years in the late 1990s. In 1998 it was $26.7 billion [52] [53].

On January 25, 1993, Mir Amir Kansi murdered 2 people and injured 3 others in their cars in front of CIA headquarters in Langley. Kansi was later captured and was executed by the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2002.

Further reading

See also

CIA insiders and "whistleblowers"

Other Countries



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United Kingdom


External links

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Official websites and documents



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