Central Intelligence Agency the Civilian Intelligence Agency Essay

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Central Intelligence Agency

The civilian intelligence agency of United States has given the name of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The fundamental objective of this agency is to collect, assess and publicize foreign intelligence that provides national security intelligence assessment to the senior United States policy makers. The CIA is also involved in secret agenda at the request of President of United States.[footnoteRef:1]The establishment of CIA was in succession of the Office of Strategic Service (OSS) being operative in World War II. [1: Caroline Wilbert. "How the CIA Works." Available from http://people.howstuffworks.com/cia.htm; accessed Aug 3rd 2011]

On the government side CIA works fundamentally with the House Permanent select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. These two committees and the Foreign Relations, Foreign Affairs and Armed Services committee are responsible to authorize the CIA's program and oversee the CIA. The funding and budgeting system of the CIA programs, staffing and organization structure is kept secret under the act of 1949.


Initially the CIA was considered the main intelligence organization of U.S. government. It was fundamentally responsible for coordinating functions related to the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC). It was until 2004 when the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 established the office of Director of National Intelligence (DNI), which then took over the management charge and leadership role of IC.

Along with the executive office, the CIA has number of agency-wide functions and four main directorates. These are:

1. The Directorate of Intelligence- The main responsibility of this directorate is to oversee intelligence research and analysis

2. The National Clandestine Service- It was previously known as the Directorate of Operations. It's responsible for secret intelligent actions.

3. The Directorate of Support

4. The Directorate of Science and Technology

Data Created and Brief history of CIA

The developed country like United States has always been engaged in the intelligence activities. It is well evident from the case of World War I when the bureau of Investigation was controlling the data collection on intelligence activities. It was till then the committee was formed in 1942 in the name of Office of Strategic Services, who remained in force till 1945. The traces of World War II's U.S. defeat in the Pearl Harbor has diverted U.S. attention for the creation of more profound intelligence agency in the future. Therefore, in the year 1947 President Harry Truman signed the National Security Act that gave birth to CIA.

The staff of CIA is responsible to collect information on intelligence of their respective domain and report that to Executive committee. The center for all the publications and manuals is the CIA's Center for the Study on Intelligence that promotes the study of intelligence on the legal ground. The CIA's Sherman Kent School for intelligence Analysis in the year 2002 had started publishing the unclassified Kent Center Occasional Papers. The objective of this paper was to provide an opportunity to the intelligence professionals and interested peers to advance their theoretical learning and practical experience in intelligence analysis.[footnoteRef:2] [2: Sherman Kent "Kent Centers Occasional Papers 2004." Available at https://www.cia.gov/library/kent-center-occasional-papers/pdf/OPV3No1.pdf. Internet, accessed 3rd August 2011]

The Director of CIA has been informed and updates about the activities through different divisions/offices like the office of General Council advise the Director on the CIA on all the legal issues and this body is the main source of legal counsel for CIA; the office of Inspector General support efficiency, effectiveness and accountability in the administration of Agency activities. It is responsible to prevent and detect fraud, waste, abuse and other mismanagement. The activities of the Inspector General are not in coinciding with any other activities so they report directly to the Director General of CIA. [footnoteRef:3]The Director General of CIA is informed about all the media publications through the office of Public Affairs. [3: Mark Mazzetti "C.I.A. Tells of Changes for Its Internal Inquiries." New York Times, (February 2, 2008). Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/02/washington/02intel.html. Internet; accessed, 3rd Aug 2011]

Organizational Structure, Functions, Executive Committee and Mission

The organization structure of CIA is comprehensive and complicated. Under the main four directorates various offices, divisions and subdivisions functions. A snap shot of the organizational structure[footnoteRef:4] can be taken from the picture below: [4: Image of organizational chart Available at https://www.cia.gov/about-cia/leadership/cia-organization-chart.html, Internet; accessed 3rd August 2011]

Fig 1: Organizational Structure Chart of CIA

Executive committee

The physical location of the headquarters of the CIA is located in Langley in Mclean, unincorporated Fairfax County, Virginia, situated few miles west to the Washington, D.C along the Potomac River. Michael Morell is the current acting Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He will be succeeded by David Petraeus on 6th Sept 2011. Morell was born in 1958 at Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. He had joined CIA in 1980 and was the Chief of Asia, Pacific and Latin America. He had served as the CIA's first Associate Deputy Director from 2006-2008.

David Petraeus will take up the office as the Director of CIA on 6th Sep 2011. He was born on 7th November 1952. Lately he has served as the Commander, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Commander, U.S. Force Afghanistan (USFOR-A) tenure from 4th July 2010 to 18th July 2011. His appointment as the Director of CIA was announced on 30th June 2011. He will retire from U.S. army on 30th August 2011[footnoteRef:5]. [5: Kathleen Hennessey "Petraeus Confirmed as CIA Director." American Forces Press Service, Department of Defense,(2001) Available at. http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=64540. Internet; access, 3rd August 2011]

Mission & Functions

The objective of CIA is to deal in number of intelligence activities most prominently these include covert or concealed actions and also overt intelligence collection, intelligence analysis and reporting, and logistical and technical support activities. The main functions conducted under the four directorates are as follows:

1. National Clandestine Service: This area collects all the information about the foreign intelligence. The can be termed as spy agents who go abroad with hidden identity. These people have high academic profile, intellectual capacity and seek to take risk.

2. Directorate of Science and Technology: This team is responsible to gather information which is publicized. The information collection is made through print media, electronic media, social networks and web world.

3. Directorate of Intelligence: The information gathered by the Clandestine service and science and technology service is then reported to directorate of Intelligence. The primary responsibility of this directorate is to compile all the information in the report format covering all the details about facts and figures. The team working under this division should have excellent communication, analytical and logical reasoning abilities. Presentation style and report layout must be of high quality.

4. Directorate of Support: This division is responsible to provide the support functions like human resource administration, finance, resource development and mobilization and other administrative and support activities.

CIA's role as Intelligence agency

Although the CIA has been established with the objective of intelligence agency in U.S., it has been criticized on many occasions for its inefficiency in predicting the foreign intelligence affairs. It initially failed to predict the collapse of Soviet Union, intelligence community failed to detect the invasion of North Korea; it has also failed to detect the nuclear test conducted by India in 1974 and much of the controversies raised on the CIA inability to detect the Al-Qaeda movement and September 11 attack on Twin Towers, U.S.. These controversies have put CIA's position on doubt to be as the center of the intelligence agency in huge economy like U.S. who is operating globally in terms of business and foreign relations.

Agency impact by the post 9/11

CIA has suffered much criticism in the attack of Al-Qaeda on Sept 11. CIA immediately after the attack as a remedial measure established a Strategic Assessment Branch in 2001 from the approval of the counsel. The branch was setup…

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