President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act in 1947 creating the Central Intelligence Agence (CIA).The Act charged the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) with coordinating the USA's intelligence activities and correlating, evaluating and disseminating intelligence which affects US national security.
The CIA is answerable to the President through the DCI, and accountable to the citizens of the US through the Intelligence Oversight Committees of the US Congress.
The CIA's role is to support the US President, the National Security Council and all officials who make or implement US national security policy by:
- Providing accurate foreign intelligence reports
- Providing counter-intelligence activites
- Performing special activities and other functions related to foreign intelligence and US national security as directed by the US President
The Founding of the CIA
The United States has carried out intelligence operations since the days of George Washington, but it was only during the Second World War that they were coordinated on a government-wide basis. Even before Pearl Harbor, Franklin D. Roosevelt was concerned by the deficiencies in US intelligence gathering, and asked William J. Donovan ("Wild Bill") a lawyer from New York, to draft a plan for an intelligence service.
The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was founded in 1942 with a remit to collect and analyze information required by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and to conduct special operations not assigned to other agencies.
The OSS was disbanded in October 1945, its functions transfered back to the State and War departments.
In December 1944, eleven months before the dissolution of OSS, Donovan, at the time a major general, submitted to President Roosevelt a proposal calling for the separation of OSS from the Joint Chiefs of Staff with the new organization having direct Presidential supervision.
Donovan proposed an "organization 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." Under his plan, a centralized civilian agency would coordinate all the intelligence services. He also proposed that this agency have authority to conduct "subversive operations abroad," but "no police or law enforcement functions, either at home or abroad."
President Truman established the Central Intelligence Group in January 1946, tasking it with the coordination of existing departmental intelligence, supplementing but not supplanting their services. This was all to be done under the direction of a National Intelligence Authority composed of a Presidential representative and the Secretaries of State, War and Navy. Rear Admiral Sidney W. Souers, USNR, who was the Deputy Chief of Naval Intelligence, was appointed the first Director of Central Intelligence.
The National Intelligence Authority and its operating component, the Central Intelligence Group lasted 20 months.
The National Security Act of 1947 established the National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency. Most of the National Security Act's specific assignments were given to the CIA, it was specifically prohibited from performing a police or internal security role. The Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) was made responsible for protecting intelligence sources and methods.
Structure of the CIA
CIA is organized into four Directorates -- Operations, Science & Technology, Intelligence, and Administration.
Directorate of Operations
The Directorate of Operations (DO), headed by the Deputy Director for Operations (DDO), has responsibility for the covert collection of foreign intelligence, including Human Intelligence HUMINT. Domestically, the DO is responsible for the overt collection of foreign intelligence volunteered by individuals and organizations in the United States. The DO is divided into regional divisions, with the addition of a domestic collection division, two topical centers, one tasking center, and one defector resettlement center.
Directorate of Intelligence
CIA produces a wide variety of finished intelligence. Its scope is worldwide. It covers functional as well as regional issues, and its output ranges from quick-reaction, informal briefings to complex, long-term research studies that may take months or years to complete.
Headed by the Deputy Director for Intelligence (DDI), the Directorate of Intelligence produces the majority of CIA's intelligence output and is the executive agent for meeting CIA's responsibility to produce national-level intelligence.
The Directorate's analysis of regional and country-specific intelligence is performed in five regional offices. These offices are:
- Office of African and Latin American Analysis
- Office of East Asian Analysis
- Office of European Analysis
- Office of Near Eastern and South Asian Analysis
- Office of Slavic and Eurasian Analysis
The Directorate also has four offices that are worldwide in responsibility but focus on particular issues or kinds of analysis:
The Office of Resources, Trade and Technology (RTT) covering issues as sanctions monitoring, economic negotiations support, foreign efforts to unfairly aid business, questionable foreign financial practices, international arms market trends, defense industry strategies, energy and resource analysis, geographic and demographic issues, and environmental trends and civil technology challenges-from both a technical and policy perspective.
The Office of Scientific and Weapons Research (OSWR) produces assessments of foreign developments in science, technology, and weapons. Major issues currently addressed by OSWR include: the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, nuclear security and safety, technology surprise, and the proliferation of advanced conventional weaponry.
The Office of Leadership Analysis (LDA) provides comprehensive assessments of the major leaders, groups, and institutions of foreign countries.
The Office of Imagery Analysis (OIA) which is managed and staffed on behalf of the Directorate by the National Photographic Interpretation Center - provides analyses on the full range of intelligence topics and develops and refines imaging systems.
The Office of Information Resources (OIR) provides library services within CIA. It also supports the Directorate of Intelligence information systems.
The Office of Current Production and Analytic Support (CPAS) publishes national-level intelligence, fulfills the CIA's warning and alert functions via its Operations Center, coordinates foreign intelligence liaison activities, and supports CIA's finished intelligence production with cartographic, design, and editorial expertise.
Directorate of Science and Technology
Directorate of Science and Technology (DS&T), headed by the Deputy Director for Science and Technology, provides support to CIA in the collection, and processing of intelligence from all sources - imagery, human intelligence (HUMINT), open source and signals intelligence (SIGINT).
Directorate of Administration
The Directorate of Administration provides administrative and technical support services which provide the foundation for the collection and analysis of intelligence by other Directorates. The Directorate runs a training facility in Arlington, VA, for trade-craft skills such as photography, letter-opening, and lock-picking. The Site B Warrenton Training Center, a large mountain-top complex of buildings west of Warrenton, VA, provides training for communications and signals intelligence specialists, as well as operating CIA's secure communications network.