The CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY (CIA) is a civilian foreign
intelligence service of the
United States federal government , tasked
with gathering, processing, and analyzing national security
information from around the world, primarily through the use of human
intelligence (HUMINT). As one of the principal members of the U.S.
Intelligence Community (IC), the CIA reports to the Director of
National Intelligence and is primarily focused on providing
intelligence for the President and Cabinet .
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which is a domestic
security service, the CIA has no law enforcement function and is
mainly focused on overseas intelligence gathering, with only limited
domestic intelligence collection . Though it is not the only U.S.
government agency specializing in HUMINT, the CIA serves as the
national manager for coordination of
HUMINT activities across the US
intelligence community. Moreover, the CIA is the only agency
authorized by law to carry out and oversee covert action at the behest
of the President. It exerts foreign political influence through
its tactical divisions, such as the
Special Activities Division .
Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act
Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act , the CIA
Director concurrently served as the head of the Intelligence
Community; today, the CIA is organized under the Director of National
Intelligence (DNI). Despite transferring some of its powers to the
DNI, the CIA has grown in size as a result of the September 11 attacks
. In 2013,
The Washington Post
The Washington Post reported that in fiscal year 2010, the
CIA had the largest budget of all IC agencies, exceeding previous
The CIA has increasingly expanded its role, including covert
paramilitary operations. One of its largest divisions, the
Information Operations Center (IOC), has shifted focus from
counter-terrorism to offensive cyber-operations .
* 1 Purpose
* 2 Organizational structure
* 2.1 Executive Office
* 2.2 Directorate of Analysis
* 2.3 Directorate of Operations
* 2.4 Directorate of Science and Technology
* 2.5 Directorate of Support
* 3 Training
* 4 Budget
* 5 Employees
* 5.1 Polygraphing
* 6 Relationship with other intelligence agencies
* 6.1 U.S. agencies
* 6.2 Foreign intelligence services
* 7 History
* 7.1 Immediate predecessors
* 7.2 National Security Act
* 7.3 Intelligence vs. action
* 7.5 1953 Iranian coup d\'état
* 7.6 1954 Guatemalan coup d\'état
* 7.7 Syria
* 7.9 Congo
* 7.10 Gary Powers U-2 shootdown
* 7.11 Dominican Republic
Bay of Pigs
* 7.13 Early Cold War, 1953–1966
* 7.14 Indochina, Tibet and the
Vietnam War (1954–1975)
* 7.14.1 Johnson
* 7.15 Nixon
* 7.16 Congressional Investigations
* 7.19 Iran/Contra
* 7.19.1 Lebanon
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Desert Storm
* 7.22 Fall of the USSR
* 7.23 President Clinton
Osama Bin Laden
Al-Qaeda and the "Global War on Terrorism"
* 7.24.2 Use of vaccination programs
* 7.25 Failures in intelligence analysis
* 7.26 Abuses of CIA authority, 1970s–1990s
* 7.28 2004, DNI takes over CIA top-level functions
* 7.29 Operation Neptune Spear
* 7.30 Syrian Civil War
* 7.31 Reorganization
* 7.32 Drones
Open Source Intelligence
* 9 Outsourcing and privatization
* 10 Controversies
* 10.1 Domestic wiretapping
* 10.3 Security failures
Human rights concerns
* 10.6 External investigations and document releases
* 10.7 Influencing public opinion and law enforcement
* 10.8 Drug trafficking
* 10.9 Alleged lying to Congress
* 10.9.1 Covert programs hidden from Congress
* 10.9.2 Intelligence Committee investigation
* 10.10 Improper search of computers used by Senate investigators
* 10.11 Resignation of officials and agents who would not work for
* 10.12 WikiLeaks\' disclosure of CIA\'s cyber tools
* 11 In fiction
* 12 See also
* 13 Notes
* 14 References
* 15 Further reading
* 16 External links
When the CIA was created, its purpose was to create a clearinghouse
for foreign policy intelligence and analysis. Today its primary
purpose is to collect, analyze, evaluate, and disseminate foreign
intelligence, and to perform covert actions.
According to its fiscal 2013 budget, the CIA has five priorities:
Counterterrorism , the top priority
Nonproliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction
North Korea described as perhaps the most difficult target.
* Warning/informing American leaders of important overseas events,
Pakistan described as an "intractable target".
Counterintelligence , with
Cuba , and
Israel described as "priority" targets.
* Cyber intelligence .
Mike Pompeo , the current director of the Central Intelligence
Agency Chart showing the organization of the Central
Intelligence Agency. Main article: Organizational structure of the
Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The CIA has an executive office and five major directorates:
* The DIRECTORATE OF DIGITAL INNOVATION
* The DIRECTORATE OF ANALYSIS
* The DIRECTORATE OF OPERATIONS
* The DIRECTORATE OF SUPPORT
* The DIRECTORATE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (D/CIA) reports
directly to the
Director of National Intelligence (DNI); in practice,
the CIA director interfaces with the DNI, Congress, and the White
House , while the Deputy Director is the internal executive of the
The Executive Office also supports the
U.S. military by providing it
with information it gathers, receiving information from military
intelligence organizations, and cooperates on field activities. The
Executive Director is in charge of the day to day operation of the
CIA. Each branch of the military service has its own Director. The
Associate Director of military affairs, a senior military officer,
manages the relationship between the CIA and the Unified Combatant
Commands , who produce and deliver to the CIA regional/operational
intelligence and consume national intelligence produced by the CIA.
DIRECTORATE OF ANALYSIS
Aerial view of the
Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency headquarters,
The Directorate has four regional analytic groups, six groups for
transnational issues, and three that focus on policy, collection, and
staff support. There is an office dedicated to
Iraq ; regional
analytical offices covering the
Near East and
South Asia ,
Europe; and the Asian Pacific, Latin American, and African office.
DIRECTORATE OF OPERATIONS
National Clandestine Service
The DIRECTORATE OF OPERATIONS is responsible for collecting foreign
intelligence (mainly from clandestine
HUMINT sources), and for covert
action. The name reflects its role as the coordinator of human
intelligence activities between other elements of the wider U.S.
intelligence community with their own
HUMINT operations. This
Directorate was created in an attempt to end years of rivalry over
influence, philosophy and budget between the
United States Department
of Defense (DOD) and the CIA. In spite of this, the Department of
Defense recently organized its own global clandestine intelligence
Defense Clandestine Service (DCS), under the Defense
Intelligence Agency (DIA).
This Directorate is known to be organized by geographic regions and
issues, but its precise organization is classified.
DIRECTORATE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Main article: Directorate of Science & Technology
The Directorate of Science & Technology was established to research,
create, and manage technical collection disciplines and equipment.
Many of its innovations were transferred to other intelligence
organizations, or, as they became more overt, to the military
For example, the development of the U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance
aircraft was done in cooperation with the
United States Air Force
United States Air Force .
The U-2's original mission was clandestine imagery intelligence over
denied areas such as the
Soviet Union . It was subsequently provided
with signals intelligence and measurement and signature intelligence
capabilities, and is now operated by the Air Force.
Imagery intelligence collected by the U-2 and reconnaissance
satellites was analyzed by a DS the fiscal 2013 figure is $52.6
billion. According to the
2013 mass surveillance disclosures
2013 mass surveillance disclosures , the
CIA's fiscal 2013 budget is $14.7 billion, 28% of the total and almost
50% more than the budget of the National Security Agency. CIA's HUMINT
budget is $2.3 billion, the
SIGINT budget is $1.7 billion, and
spending for security and logistics of CIA missions is $2.5 billion.
"Covert action programs", including a variety of activities such as
the CIA's drone fleet and anti-
Iranian nuclear program activities,
accounts for $2.6 billion.
There were numerous previous attempts to obtain general information
about the budget. As a result, it was revealed that CIA's annual
budget in Fiscal Year 1963 was US $550 million (inflation-adjusted US$
4.3 billion in 2017), and the overall intelligence budget in FY 1997
was US $26.6 billion (inflation-adjusted US$ 39.7 billion in 2017).
There have been accidental disclosures; for instance, Mary Margaret
Graham , a former CIA official and deputy director of national
intelligence for collection in 2005, said that the annual intelligence
budget was $44 billion, and in 1994 Congress accidentally published a
budget of $43.4 billion (in 2012 dollars) in 1994 for the non-military
National Intelligence Program, including $4.8 billion for the CIA.
Marshall Plan was approved, appropriating $13.7 billion over
five years, 5% of those funds or $685 million were made available to
Robert Baer, a
CNN analyst and former CIA operative, stated that
normally a CIA employee undergoes a polygraph examination every three
to four years.
RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHER INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES
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Mass surveillance portal
The CIA acts as the primary US
HUMINT and general analytic agency,
Director of National Intelligence , who directs or
coordinates the 16 member organizations of the United States
Intelligence Community . In addition, it obtains information from
other U.S. government intelligence agencies, commercial information
sources, and foreign intelligence services.
CIA employees form part of the
National Reconnaissance Office
National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)
workforce, originally created as a joint office of the CIA and US Air
Force to operate the spy satellites of the US military.
Special Collections Service is a joint CIA and National Security
Agency (NSA) office that conducts clandestine electronic surveillance
in embassies and hostile territory throughout the world.
FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SERVICES
The role and functions of the CIA are roughly equivalent to those of
the United Kingdom's
Secret Intelligence Service (the SIS or MI6), the
Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS), the French foreign
intelligence service Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure
(DGSE), the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (Sluzhba Vneshney
Razvedki) (SVR), the Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS), the
Research and Analysis Wing
Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), the Pakistani Inter-Services
Intelligence (ISI), the
Egyptian General Intelligence Service , and
Mossad . While the preceding agencies both collect and
analyze information, some like the U.S. State Department's Bureau of
Intelligence and Research are purely analytical agencies.
The closest links of the U.S. IC to other foreign intelligence
agencies are to Anglophone countries: Australia, Canada, New Zealand,
and the United Kingdom. There is a special communications marking that
signals that intelligence-related messages can be shared with these
four countries. An indication of the United States' close operational
cooperation is the creation of a new message distribution label within
U.S. military communications network. Previously, the marking
of NOFORN (i.e., No Foreign Nationals) required the originator to
specify which, if any, non-U.S. countries could receive the
information. A new handling caveat, USA/AUS/CAN/GBR/NZL
Five Eyes ,
used primarily on intelligence messages, gives an easier way to
indicate that the material can be shared with Australia, Canada,
United Kingdom, and New Zealand.
The task of the division called "Verbindungsstelle 61" of the German
Bundesnachrichtendienst is keeping contact to the CIA office in
Wiesbaden . Ireland 's Directorate of Military Intelligence liaises
with the CIA, although it is not a member of the Five Eyes.
This section is too long . Consider splitting it into new pages,
adding subheadings , or condensing it. (April 2015)
The 113 stars on the
CIA Memorial Wall in the original CIA
headquarters, each representing a CIA officer killed in action Main
History of the Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency was created on July 26, 1947, when
Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act into law. A major
impetus for the creation of the CIA was the unforeseen attack on Pearl
Harbor . In addition, towards the end of
World War II
World War II the U.S.
government felt the need for a group to coordinate intelligence
The success of the
British Commandos during
World War II
World War II prompted
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt to authorize the creation of an
intelligence service modeled after the British Secret Intelligence
Service (MI6), and
Special Operations Executive . This led to the
creation of the
Office of Strategic Services
Office of Strategic Services (OSS). On September 20,
1945, shortly after the end of World War II,
Harry S. Truman signed an
executive order dissolving the OSS, and by October 1945 its functions
had been divided between the Departments of State and War. The
division lasted only a few months. The first public mention of the
"Central Intelligence Agency" appeared on a command-restructuring
proposal presented by
Jim Forrestal and
Arthur Radford to the U.S.
Senate Military Affairs Committee at the end of 1945. Despite
opposition from the military establishment, the United States
Department of State and the
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),
Truman established the National Intelligence Authority in January
1946, which was the direct predecessor of the CIA. Its operational
extension was known as the Central Intelligence Group (CIG)
NATIONAL SECURITY ACT
Lawrence Houston, head counsel of the SSU, CIG, and, later CIA, was
principal draftsman of the
National Security Act of 1947
National Security Act of 1947 , which
dissolved the NIA and the CIG, and established both the National
Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency. In 1949
Houston helped to draft the
Central Intelligence Agency Act (Public
law 81-110), which authorized the agency to use confidential fiscal
and administrative procedures, and exempted it from most limitations
on the use of Federal funds. It also exempted the CIA from having to
disclose its "organization, functions, officials, titles, salaries, or
numbers of personnel employed." It created the program "PL-110" to
handle defectors and other "essential aliens" who fell outside normal
INTELLIGENCE VS. ACTION
At the outset of the
Korean War the CIA still only had a few thousand
employees, a thousand of whom worked in analysis. Intelligence
primarily came from the Office of Reports and Estimates, which drew
its reports from a daily take of State Department telegrams, military
dispatches, and other public documents. The CIA still lacked its own
intelligence gathering abilities. On August 21, 1950, shortly after
the invasion of
South Korea , Truman announced
Walter Bedell Smith
Walter Bedell Smith as
the new Director of the CIA to correct what was seen as a grave
failure of Intelligence.
The CIA had different demands placed on it by the different bodies
overseeing it. Truman wanted a centralized group to organize the
information that reached him, the
Department of Defense wanted
military intelligence and covert action, and the State Department
wanted to create global political change favorable to the US. Thus the
two areas of responsibility for the CIA were covert action and covert
intelligence. One of the main targets for intelligence gathering was
Soviet Union , which had also been a priority of the CIA's
United States Air Force
United States Air Force general
Hoyt Vandenberg , the CIG's second
director, created the Office of
Special Operations (OSO), as well as
the Office of Reports and Estimates (ORE). Initially the OSO was
tasked with spying and subversion overseas with a budget of $15
million, the largesse of a small number of patrons in congress.
Vandenberg's goals were much like the ones set out by his predecessor;
finding out "everything about the Soviet forces in Eastern and Central
Europe - their movements, their capabilities, and their intentions."
On June 18, 1948, the National Security Council issued Directive 10/2
calling for covert action against the USSR, and granting the
authority to carry out covert operations against "hostile foreign
states or groups" that could, if needed, be denied by the U.S.
government. To this end, the Office of Policy Coordination was created
inside the new CIA. The OPC was quite unique;
Frank Wisner , the head
of the OPC, answered not to the CIA Director , but to the secretaries
of defense, state, and the NSC, and the OPC's actions were a secret
even from the head of the CIA. Most CIA stations had two station
chiefs, one working for the OSO, and one working for the OPC.
The early track record of the CIA was poor, with the agency unable to
provide sufficient intelligence about the Soviet takeovers of Romania
Czechoslovakia , the Soviet blockade of Berlin , and the Soviet
atomic bomb project . In particular, the agency failed to predict the
Chinese entry into the
Korean War with 300,000 troops. The famous
Kim Philby was the British liaison to American Central
Intelligence. Through him the CIA coordinated hundreds of airdrops
inside the iron curtain, all compromised by Philby.
Arlington Hall ,
the nerve center of CIA cryptanalysis was compromised by Bill Weisband
, a Russian translator and Soviet spy.
However, the CIA was successful in influencing the 1948 Italian
election in favor of the Christian Democrats . The $200 million
Exchange Stabilization Fund , earmarked for the reconstruction of
Europe, was used to pay wealthy Americans of Italian heritage. Cash
was then distributed to
Catholic Action , the Vatican\'s political
arm, and directly to Italian politicians. This tactic of using its
large fund to purchase elections was frequently repeated in the
At the beginning of the Korean War, CIA officer Hans Tofte claimed to
have turned a thousand North Korean expatriates into a guerrilla force
tasked with infiltration, guerrilla warfare, and pilot rescue. In
1952 the CIA sent 1,500 more expatriate agents north.
chief Albert Haney would openly celebrate the capabilities of those
agents, and the information they sent. In September 1952 Haney was
replaced by John Limond Hart, a Europe veteran with a vivid memory for
bitter experiences of misinformation. Hart was suspicious of the
parade of successes reported by Tofte and Haney and launched an
investigation which determined that the entirety of the information
supplied by the Korean sources was false or misleading. After the
war, internal reviews by the CIA would corroborate Hart's findings.
Seoul station had 200 officers, but not a single speaker of
Korean. Hart reported to Washington that
Seoul station was hopeless,
and could not be salvaged. Loftus Becker, Deputy Director of
Intelligence, was sent personally to tell Hart that the CIA had to
keep the station open to save face. Becker returned to Washington,
pronounced the situation to be "hopeless", and that, after touring the
CIA's Far East operations, the CIA's ability to gather intelligence in
the far east was "almost negligible". He then resigned. Air Force
Colonel James Kallis stated that CIA director
Allen Dulles continued
to praise the CIA's Korean force, despite knowing that they were under
enemy control. When
China entered the war in 1950, the CIA attempted
a number of subversive operations in the country, all of which failed
due to the presence of double agents. Millions of dollars were spent
in these efforts. These included a team of young CIA officers
airdropped into to
China who were ambushed, and CIA funds being used
to set up a global heroin empire in Burma's Golden Triangle following
a betrayal by another double agent.
1953 IRANIAN COUP D\'éTAT
Main article: 1953 Iranian coup d\'état
Mohammad Mosaddegh , a member of the National Front , was
elected Iranian prime-minister. As prime minister, he nationalized
Anglo-Iranian Oil Company which his predecessor had supported. The
nationalization of the British-funded Iranian oil industry, including
the largest oil refinery in the world, was disastrous for Mossadeq. A
British naval embargo closed the British oil facilities, which Iran
had no skilled workers to operate. In '52 Mosaddegh resisted the royal
refusal to approve his Minister of War, and resigned in protest. The
National Front took to the streets in protest. Fearing a loss of
control, the military pulled its troops back five days later, and the
Shah gave in to Mosaddegh's demands. Mosaddegh quickly replaced
military leaders loyal to the Shah with those loyal to him, giving him
personal control over the military. Given six months of emergency
powers, Mosaddegh unilaterally passed legislation. When that six
months expired, his powers were extended for another year. In 1953
Mossadeq dismissed parliament and assumed dictatorial powers. This
power grab triggered the Shah to exercise his constitutional right to
dismiss Mosaddegh. Mosaddegh launched a military coup as the Shah fled
the country. As was typical of CIA operations, CIA interventions were
preceded by radio announcements on July 7, 1953, made by the CIA's
intended victim by way of operational leaks. On August 19, a CIA paid
mob led by Ayatollah
Ruhollah Khomeini would spark what a US embassy
officer called "an almost spontaneous revolution" but Mosaddegh was
protected by his new inner military circle, and the CIA had been
unable to gain influence within the Iranian military. Their chosen
man, former general
Fazlollah Zahedi , had no troops to call on.
General McClure, commander of the American military assistance
advisory group, would get his second star buying the loyalty of the
Iranian officers he was training. An attack on his house would force
Mossadegh to flee. He surrendered the next day, and his coup came to
an end. The end result would be a 60/40 oil profit split in favor of
Iran (possibly similar to agreements with
Saudi Arabia and Venezuela).
1954 GUATEMALAN COUP D\'éTAT
Main article: 1954 Guatemalan coup d\'état
The return of the Shah to power, and the impression, cultivated by
Allen Dulles , that an effective CIA had been able to guide that
nation to friendly and stable relations with the west triggered
planning for Operation PBSUCCESS, a plan to overthrow Guatemalan
Jacobo Arbenz . The plan was exposed in major newspapers
before it happened after a CIA agent left plans for the coup in his
Guatemala City hotel room.
Guatemalan Revolution of 1944-54 overthrew the U.S. backed
Jorge Ubico and brought a democratically elected government
to power. The government began an ambitious agrarian reform program
attempting to grant land to millions of landless peasants. This
program threatened the land holdings of the
United Fruit Company
United Fruit Company , who
lobbied for a coup by portraying these reforms as communist.
On June 18, 1954,
Carlos Castillo Armas
Carlos Castillo Armas led 480 CIA-trained men
across the border from
Honduras into Guatemala. The weapons had also
come from the CIA. The CIA also mounted a psychological campaign to
convince the Guatemalan people and government that Armas' victory was
a fait accompli, the largest part of which was a radio broadcast
entitled "The Voice of Liberation" which announced that Guatemalan
exiles led by Castillo Armas were shortly about to liberate the
country. On June 25, a CIA plane bombed
Guatemala City, destroying
the government's main oil reserves. Árbenz ordered the army to
distribute weapons to local peasants and workers. The army refused,
forcing Jacobo Árbenz's resignation on June 27, 1954. Árbenz handed
over power to Colonel
Carlos Enrique Diaz . The CIA then orchestrated
a series of power transfers that ended with the confirmation of
Castillo Armas as president in July 1954. Armas was the first in a
series of military dictators that would rule the country, triggering
Guatemalan Civil War in which some 200,000 people were
killed, mostly by the U.S.-backed military.
In 1949, Colonel
Adib Shishakli rose to power in Syria in a
CIA-backed coup. Four years later, he would be overthrown by the
military, Ba\'athists , and communists. The CIA and MI6 started
funding right wing members of the military, but suffered a large
setback in the aftermath of the
Suez Crisis . CIA Agent Rocky Stone,
who had played a minor role in the Iranian Revolution, was working at
Damascus embassy as a diplomat, but was actually the station
chief. Syrian officers on the CIA dole quickly appeared on television
stating that they had received money from "corrupt and sinister
Americans" "in an attempt to overthrow the legitimate government of
Syria." Syrian forces surrounded the embassy and rousted Agent Stone,
who confessed and subsequently made history as the first American
diplomat expelled from an Arab nation. This strengthened ties between
Syria and Egypt, helping establish the
United Arab Republic , and
poisoning the well for the US for the foreseeable future.
The charismatic leader of
Indonesia was President
Sukarno . His
declaration of neutrality in the
Cold War put the suspicions of the
CIA on him. After
Bandung Conference , promoting the
Non-Aligned Movement , the Eisenhower
White House responded with NSC
5518 authorizing "all feasible covert means" to move
the Western sphere.
The US had no clear policy on Indonesia. Ike sent his special
assistant for security operations, F. M. Dearborn Jr., to Jakarta. His
report that there was great instability, and that the US lacked stable
allies, reinforced the domino theory.
Indonesia suffered from what he
described as "subversion by democracy". The CIA decided to attempt
another military coup in Indonesia, where the Indonesian military was
trained by the US, had a strong professional relationship with the US
military, had a pro-American officer corps that strongly supported
their government, and a strong belief in civilian control of the
military, instilled partly by its close association with the US
On September 25, 1957, Eisenhower ordered the CIA to start a
Indonesia with the goal of regime change. Three days
later, Blitz, a Soviet-controlled weekly in India, reported that the
US was plotting to overthrow Sukarno. The story was picked up by the
media in Indonesia. One of the first parts of the operation was an
11,500 ton US navy ship landing at
Sumatra , delivering weapons for as
many as 8,000 potential revolutionaries.
The CIA described Agent Al Pope's bombing and strafing of Indonesia
in a CIA B-26 to the President as attacks by "dissident planes".
Pope's B-26 was shot down over Ambon,
Indonesia on May 18, 1958, and
he bailed out. When he was captured, the Indonesian military found his
personnel records, after action reports, and his membership card for
the officer's club at
Clark Field . On March 9, Foster Dulles , the
Secretary of State, and brother of DI
Allen Dulles , made a public
statement calling for a revolt against communist despotism under
Sukarno. Three days later, the CIA reported to the
White House that
the Indonesian Army's actions against CIA-instigated revolution was
After Indonesia, Eisenhower displayed mistrust of both the CIA and
its Director, Allen Dulles. Dulles too displayed mistrust of the CIA
itself. Abbot Smith, a CIA analyst who later became chief of the
Office of National Estimates, said, "We had constructed for ourselves
a picture of the USSR, and whatever happened had to be made to fit
into this picture. Intelligence estimators can hardly commit a more
abominable sin." Something reflected in the intelligence failure in
Indonesia. On December 16, Eisenhower received a report from his
intelligence board of consultants that said the agency was "incapable
of making objective appraisals of its own intelligence information as
well as its own operations."
In the election of
Patrice Lumumba , and his acceptance of Soviet
support the CIA saw another possible Cuba. This view swayed the White
House. Ike ordered that Lumumba be "eliminated". The CIA delivered a
quarter of a million dollars to
Joseph Mobutu , their favored
Congolese political figure. Mobutu delivered Lumumba to the Belgians,
the former colonial masters of Congo, who executed him in short order.
GARY POWERS U-2 SHOOTDOWN
1960 U-2 incident
1960 U-2 incident Suspended from the ceiling of
the glass enclosed atrium: three models of the U-2 ,
Lockheed A-12 ,
and D-21 drone . These models are exact replicas at one-sixth scale of
the real planes. All three had photographic capabilities. The U-2 was
one of the first espionage planes developed by the CIA. The A-12 set
unheralded flight records. The D-21 drone was one of the first
unmanned aircraft ever built.
Lockheed Martin Corporation donated all
three models to the CIA.
After the Bomber Gap came the Missile Gap . Eisenhower wanted to use
the U-2 to disprove the Missile Gap, but he had banned U-2 overflights
of the USSR after meeting Secretary
Camp David . Another
reason the President objected to the use of the U-2 was that, in the
nuclear age, the intelligence he needed most was on their intentions,
without which, the US would face a paralysis of intelligence. He was
particularly worried that U-2 flights could be seen as preparations
for first strike attacks. He had high hopes for an upcoming meeting
Khrushchev in Paris. Eisenhower finally gave into CIA pressure to
authorize a 16-day window for flights, which was extended an
additional six days because of poor weather. On May 1, 1960, the USSR
shot down a U-2 flying over the Soviet territory. To Eisenhower, the
ensuing coverup destroyed his perceived honesty, and his hope of
leaving a legacy of thawing relations with Khrushchev. It would also
mark the beginning of a long downward slide in the credibility of the
Office of the President of the United States. Eisenhower later said
that the U-2 coverup was the greatest regret of his Presidency. :160
The human rights abuses of Generalissimo
Rafael Trujillo had a
history of more than 3 decades, but in August 1960 the United States
severed diplomatic relations. The CIA's
Special group had decided to
arm Dominicans in hopes of an assassination. The CIA had dispersed
three rifles, and three .38 revolvers, but things paused as Kennedy
assumed office. An order approved by Kennedy resulted in the dispersal
of four machine guns. Trujillo died from gunshot wounds two weeks
later. In the aftermath, Robert Kennedy wrote that the CIA had
succeeded where it had failed many times in the past, but in the face
of that success, it was caught flatfooted, having failed to plan what
to do next.
BAY OF PIGS
Bay of Pigs invasion
Bay of Pigs invasion
The CIA welcomed
Fidel Castro on his visit to DC, and gave him a
face-to-face briefing. The CIA hoped that Castro would bring about a
friendly democratic government, and planned to curry his favor with
money and guns. On December 11, 1959, a memo reached the DI's desk
recommending Castro's "elimination". Dulles replaced the word
"elimination" with "removal", and set the wheels in motion. By
mid-August 1960, Dick Bissell would seek, with the blessing of the
CIA, to hire the Mafia to assassinate Castro.
Bay of Pigs Invasion
Bay of Pigs Invasion was a failed military invasion of Cuba
undertaken by the CIA-sponsored paramilitary group
Brigade 2506 on
April 17, 1961. A counter-revolutionary military, trained and funded
by the CIA,
Brigade 2506 fronted the armed wing of the Democratic
Revolutionary Front (DRF) and intended to overthrow the increasingly
communist government of
Fidel Castro . Launched from
Guatemala , the
invading force was defeated within three days by the Cuban
Revolutionary Armed Forces , under the direct command of Prime
Minister Fidel Castro. US President
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower was concerned
at the direction Castro's government was taking, and in March 1960,
Eisenhower allocated $13.1 million to the CIA to plan Castro's
overthrow. The CIA proceeded to organize the operation with the aid of
various Cuban counter-revolutionary forces, training
Brigade 2506 in
Guatemala. Over 1,400 paramilitaries set out for
Cuba by boat on April
13. Two days later on April 15, eight CIA-supplied B-26 bombers
attacked Cuban air fields. On the night of April 16, the main invasion
landed in the
Bay of Pigs , but by April 20, the invaders finally
surrendered. The failed invasion strengthened the position of Castro's
leadership as well as his ties with the USSR. This led eventually to
the events of the
Cuban Missile Crisis
Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. The invasion was a
major embarrassment for
US foreign policy . US President John F.
Kennedy ordered a number of internal investigations across Latin
The Taylor Board was commissioned to determine what went wrong in
Cuba. The Board came to the same conclusion that the Jan '61
President's Board of Consultants on Foreign Intelligence Activities
had concluded, and many other reviews prior, and to come, that Covert
Action had to be completely isolated from intelligence and analysis.
The Inspector General of the CIA investigated the Bay of Pigs. His
conclusion was that there was a need to drastically improve the
organization and management of the CIA. The
Special Group (Later
renamed the 303 committee) was convened in an oversight role.
EARLY COLD WAR, 1953–1966
Lockheed U-2 "Dragon Lady", the first generation of near-space
reconnaissance aircraft Early CORONA/KH-4B imagery IMINT
satellite The USAF's
SR-71 Blackbird was developed from the
CIA's A-12 OXCART.
The CIA was involved in anti-Communist activities in Burma,
Guatemala, and Laos. There have been suggestions that the Soviet
attempt to put missiles into
Cuba came, indirectly, when they realized
how badly they had been compromised by a U.S.-UK defector in place,
Oleg Penkovsky . One of the biggest operations ever undertaken by the
CIA was directed at
Zaïre in support of general-turned-dictator
Mobutu Sese Seko
Mobutu Sese Seko .
INDOCHINA, TIBET AND THE VIETNAM WAR (1954–1975)
CIA Tibetan program ,
Vietnam War ,
Phoenix Program ,
Operation Barrel Roll , and
Laotian Civil War
The OSS Patti mission arrived in
Vietnam near the end of World War
II, and had significant interaction with the leaders of many
Vietnamese factions, including
Ho Chi Minh .
CIA Tibetan program consists of political plots, propaganda
distribution, as well as paramilitary and intelligence gathering based
on U.S. commitments made to the
Dalai Lama in 1951 and 1956.
During the period of U.S. combat involvement in the
there was considerable argument about progress among the Department of
Robert McNamara , the CIA, and, to some extent, the
intelligence staff of Military Assistance Command
Sometime between 1959 and 1961 the CIA started Project Tiger, a
program of dropping South Vietnamese agents into North
gather intelligence. These were failures; the Deputy Chief for Project
Tiger, Captain Do Van Tien, admitted that he was an agent for Hanoi.
In the face of the failure of Project Tiger, the Pentagon wanted CIA
paramilitary forces to participate in their Op Plan 64A, this resulted
in the CIA's foreign paramilitaries being put under the command of the
DOD, a move seen as a slippery slope inside the CIA, a slide from
covert action towards militarization.
A CIA analyst's assessment of
Vietnam was that the US was "becoming
progressively divorced from reality... proceeding with far more
courage than wisdom".
In 1971, the NSA and CIA were engaged in domestic spying. The DOD was
eavesdropping on Kissinger . The White House, and
Camp David were
wired for sound. Nixon and Kissinger were eavesdropping on their
aides, as well as reporters. Famously, Nixon's Plumbers had in their
number many former CIA agents, including
Howard Hunt , Jim McCord ,
Eugenio Martinez . On July 7, 1971,
John Ehrlichman , Nixon's
domestic policy chief, told DCI Cushman, Nixon's hatchet-man in the
CIA, to let Cushman "know that was in fact doing some things for the
President... you should consider he has pretty much carte blanche"
Importantly, this included a camera, disguises, a voice altering
device, and ID papers furnished by the CIA, as well as the CIA's
participation developing film from the burglary Hunt staged on the
Pentagon Papers leaker
Daniel Ellsberg 's psychologist.
On June 17, Nixon's Plumbers were caught burglarizing the DNC offices
in the Watergate. On June 23, DI Helms was ordered by the White House
to wave the FBI off using national security as a pretext. The new DCI,
Walters, another Nixon hack, called the acting director of the FBI and
told him to drop the investigation as ordered. On June 26, Nixon's
John Dean ordered DCI Walters to pay the plumbers untraceable
hush money. The CIA was the only part of the government that had the
power to make off the book payments, but it could only be done on the
orders of the CI, or, if he was out of the country, the DCI. The
Acting Director of the FBI started breaking ranks. He demanded the CIA
produce a signed document attesting to the national security threat of
the investigation. Jim McCord's lawyer contacted the CIA informing
them that McCord had been offered a Presidential pardon if he fingered
the CIA, testifying that the break-in had been an operation of the
CIA. Nixon had long been frustrated by what he saw as a liberal
infection inside the CIA, and had been trying for years to tear the
CIA out by its roots. McCord wrote "If Helms goes (takes the fall)
and the Watergate operation is laid at the CIA's feet, where it does
not belong, every tree in the forest will fall. It will be a scorched
On November 13, after Nixon's landslide re-election, Nixon told
Kissinger " to ruin the Foreign Service. I mean ruin it - the old
Foreign Service - and to build a new one." He had similar designs for
the CIA, and intended to replace Helms with
James Schlesinger . Nixon
had told Helms that he was on the way out, and promised that Helms
could stay on until his 60th birthday, the mandatory retirement age.
On February 2, Nixon broke that promise, carrying through with his
intention to "remove the deadwood" from the CIA. "Get rid of the
clowns" was his order to the incoming CI. Kissinger had been running
the CIA since the beginning of Nixon's presidency, but Nixon impressed
on Schlesinger that he must appear to congress to be in charge,
averting their suspicion of Kissinger's involvement. Nixon also hoped
that Schlesinger could push through broader changes in the
intelligence community that he had been working towards for years, the
creation of a Director of National Intelligence, and spinning off the
covert action part of the CIA into a separate organ. Before Helms
would leave office, he would destroy every tape he had secretly made
of meetings in his office, and many of the papers on
Project MKUltra .
In Schlesinger's 17-week tenure, he would fire more than 1,500
employees. As Watergate threw the spotlight on the CIA, Schlesinger,
who had been kept in the dark about the CIA's involvement, decided he
needed to know what skeletons were in the closet. He issued a memo to
every CIA employee directing them to disclose to him any CIA activity
they knew of past or present that could fall outside the scope of the
This became the Family Jewels . It included information linking the
CIA to the assassination of foreign leaders, the illegal surveillance
of some 7,000 U.S. citizens involved in the antiwar movement
Operation CHAOS ), the CIA had also experimented on U.S. and Canadian
citizens without their knowledge , secretly giving them LSD (among
other things) and observing the results. This prompted Congress to
Church Committee in the Senate, and the Pike Committee in
the House. President
Gerald Ford created the Rockefeller Commission ,
and issued an executive order prohibiting the assassination of foreign
leaders. DCI Colby leaked the papers to the press, later he stated
that he believed that providing Congress with this information was the
correct thing to do, and ultimately in the CIA's own interests.
Acting Attorney General
Laurence Silberman learned of the existence
of the Family Jewels, he issued a subpoena for them, prompting eight
congressional investigations on the domestic spying activities of the
Bill Colby 's short tenure as DCI would end with the Halloween
Massacre . His replacement was George H.W. Bush . At the time, the DOD
had control of 80% of the intelligence budget. Communication and
coordination between the CIA and the DOD would suffer greatly under
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The CIA's budget for hiring
clandestine officers had been squeezed out by the paramilitary
operations in south-east Asia, and hiring was further strained by the
government's poor popularity. This left the Agency bloated with middle
management, and anemic in younger officers. With employee training
taking five years, the Agency's only hope would be on the trickle of
new officers coming to fruition years in the future. The CIA would see
another setback as communists would take Angola.
William J. Casey , a
member of Ford's Intelligence Advisory Board, would press Bush to
allow a team from outside the CIA to produce Soviet military estimates
as a "Team B". Bush gave the OK. The "B" team was composed of hawks.
Their estimates were the highest that could be justified, and they
painted a picture of a growing Soviet military when the Soviet
military was actually shrinking. Many of their reports found their way
to the press. As a result of the investigations, Congressional
oversight of the CIA eventually evolved into a select intelligence
committee in the House, and Senate supervising covert actions
authorized by the President.
Libya was a major source of weaponry to communist
rebel forces. The CIA seized the opportunity to arm and finance Chad's
Hissène Habré after he created a breakaway
government in Western
Sudan , even giving him Stinger missiles.
CIA activities in Afghanistan and
Allegations of CIA assistance to Osama bin Laden
In Afghanistan, the CIA funneled $40 billion worth of weapons, which
included over two thousand
FIM-92 Stinger surface-to-air missiles ,
Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), which funneled them to
almost 100,000 Afghan resistance fighters, notably the
and foreign "
Afghan Arabs " from forty Muslim countries.
Under President Carter, the CIA was conducting covertly funded
pro-American opposition against the
Sandinista . In March 1981, Reagan
told Congress that the CIA would protect
El Salvador by preventing the
shipment of Nicaraguan arms into the country to arm Communist rebels.
This was a ruse. The CIA was actually arming and training Nicaraguans
Honduras in hopes that they could depose the Sandinistas in
Nicaragua . Through
William J. Casey 's tenure as DI little of what
he said in the National Security Planning Group, or to President
Reagan was supported by the intelligence branch of the CIA, so Casey
formed the Central American Task Force, staffed with yes men from
Covert Action. On December 21, 1982, Congress passed a law
restricting the CIA to its stated mission, restricting the flow of
Nicaragua to El Salvador, prohibiting the use of funds to
oust the Sandinistas. Reagan testified before Congress, assuring them
that the CIA was not trying to topple the Nicaraguan government.
The CIA's prime source in Lebanon was
Bashir Gemayel , a member of
the Christian Maronite sect. The CIA was blinded by the uprising
against the Maronite minority.
Israel invaded Lebanon, and, along with
the CIA, propped up Gemayel. This got Gemayel's assurance that
Americans would be protected in Lebanon. 13 days later he was
Imad Mughniyah , a
Hezbollah assassin would target
Americans in retaliation for the Israeli invasion, the Sabra and
Shatila massacre , and the US Marines of the Multi-National Force for
their role in opposing the PLO in Lebanon. On April 18, 1983, a 2,000
lb car bomb exploded in the lobby of the American embassy in
killing 63 people including 17 Americans, and 7 CIA officers,
including Robert Ames , one of the CIA's best Middle East experts.
America's fortunes in Lebanon would only suffer more as America's
poorly-directed retaliation for the bombing was interpreted by many as
support for the Christian Maronite minority. On October 23, 1983, two
Beirut Bombing ) were set off in Beirut, including a 10
ton bomb at a US military barracks that killed 242 people. Both
attacks are believed to have been planned by
Iran by way of Mughniyah.
The Embassy bombing had taken the life of the CIA's
Chief, Ken Haas. Bill Buckley was sent in to replace him. Eighteen
days after the US Marines left Lebanon, Buckley was kidnapped. On
March 7, 1984, Jeremy Levin,
CNN Bureau Chief in
Beirut was kidnapped.
Twelve more Americans would be kidnapped in
Beirut during the Reagan
Administration. Manucher Ghorbanifar, a former
Savak agent was an
information seller, and the subject of a rare CIA burn notice for his
track record of misinformation. He reached out to the Agency offering
a back channel to Iran, suggesting a trade of missiles that would be
lucrative to the intermediaries.
Poland–United States relations
Unlike the Carter Administration, the Reagan Administration supported
the Solidarity movement in
Poland , and—based on CIA
intelligence—waged a public relations campaign to deter what the
Carter administration felt was "an imminent move by large Soviet
military forces into Poland." Colonel Ryszard Kukliński, a senior
officer on the Polish General Staff was secretly sending reports to
the CIA. The CIA transferred around $2 million yearly in cash to
Solidarity, which suggests that $10 million total is a reasonable
estimate for the 5-year total. There were no direct links between the
CIA and Solidarnosc, and all money was channeled through third
parties. CIA officers were barred from meeting Solidarity leaders,
and the CIA's contacts with Solidarnosc activists were weaker than
those of the
AFL-CIO , which raised 300 thousand dollars from its
members, which were used to provide material and cash directly to
Soldarity, with no control of Solidarity's use of it. The U.S.
Congress authorized the National Endowment for Democracy to promote
democracy, and the NED allocated $10 million to Solidarity. When the
Polish government launched a crackdown of its own in December 1981,
however, Solidarity was not alerted. Potential explanations for this
vary; some believe that the CIA was caught off guard, while others
suggest that American policy-makers viewed an internal crackdown as
preferable to an "inevitable Soviet intervention." CIA support for
Solidarity included money, equipment and training, which was
Special Operations CIA division.
Henry Hyde , U.S.
House intelligence committee member, stated that USA provided
"supplies and technical assistance in terms of clandestine newspapers,
broadcasting, propaganda, money, organizational help and advice".
Michael Reisman from Yale Law School named operations in
Poland as one
of the covert actions of CIA during
Cold War . Initial funds for
covert actions by CIA were $2 million, but soon after authorization
were increased and by 1985 CIA successfully infiltrated
Thiel in "Nested Games of External Democracy Promotion: The United
States and the Polish Liberalization 1980-1989" mentions how covert
operations by CIA and spy games among others allowed USA to proceed
with successful regime change.
OPERATION DESERT STORM
During the Iran-
Iraq war, the CIA had backed both sides. The CIA had
maintained a network of spies in Iran, but in 1989 a CIA mistake
compromised every agent they had in there, and the CIA had no agents
in Iraq. In the weeks before the
Invasion of Kuwait the CIA downplayed
the military buildup. During the war CIA estimates of Iraqi abilities
and intentions flip-flopped and were rarely accurate. In one
particular case, the DOD had asked the CIA to identify military
targets to bomb. One target the CIA identified was an underground
shelter. The CIA didn't know that it was a civilian bomb shelter. In a
rare instance the CIA correctly determined that the coalition forces
efforts were coming up short in their efforts to destroy SCUD
missiles. Congress took away the CIA's role in interpreting
spy-satellite photos, putting the CIA's satellite intelligence
operations under the auspices of the military. The CIA created its
office of military affairs, which operated as "second-echelon support
for the pentagon... answering... questions from military men 'how
wide is this road?'"
FALL OF THE USSR
Gorbachev's announcement of the unilateral reduction of 500,000
Soviet troops took the CIA by surprise. Moreover, Doug MacEachin, the
CIA's Chief of Soviet analysis said that even if the CIA had told the
President, the NSC, and Congress about the cuts beforehand, it would
have been ignored. "We never would have been able to publish it." All
the CIA numbers on the USSR's economy were wrong. Too often the CIA
relied on people inexperienced with that which they were supposed to
be the expert on. Bob Gates had preceded Doug MacEachin as Chief of
Soviet analysis, and he had never visited Russia. Few officers, even
those stationed in country spoke the language of the people they were
spying on. And the CIA had no capacity to send agents to respond to
developing situations. The CIA analysis of
Russia during the entire
cold war was either driven by ideology, or by politics. William J
Crowe, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted that the CIA
"talked about the
Soviet Union as if they weren't reading the
newspapers, much less developed clandestine intelligence."
On January 25, 1993,
Mir Qazi opened fire at the CIA headquarters in
Langley, Virginia, killing two agents and wounding three others. On
Al-Qaeda terrorists led by
Ramzi Yousef bombed the
parking garage below the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New
York City , killing six people and injuring 1,402 others.
Bosnian War , the CIA ignored signs within and without of
Srebrenica massacre . Two weeks after news reports of the
slaughter, the CIA sent a U-2 to photograph it; a week later the CIA
completed its report on the matter. During
Operation Allied Force ,
the CIA had incorrectly provided the coordinates of the Chinese
Embassy as a Yugoslav military target resulting in its bombing .
France , the CIA had orders for economic intelligence; a female
CIA agent revealed her connections to the CIA to the French. Dick Holm
Paris Station Chief, was expelled. In
Guatemala , the CIA produced
the Murphy Memo, based on audio recordings made by bugs planted by
Guatemalan intelligence in the bedroom of Ambassador Marilyn McAfee.
In the recording, Ambassador McAfee verbally entreated "Murphy". The
CIA circulated a memo in the highest Washington circles accusing
Ambassador McAfee of having an extramarital lesbian affair with her
secretary, Carol Murphy. There was no affair. Ambassador McAfee was
calling to Murphy, her poodle .
Harold James Nicholson would burn several serving officers and 3
years of trainees before he was caught spying for Russia. In 1997 the
House would pen another report, which said that CIA officers know
little about the language or politics of the people they spy on; the
conclusion was that the CIA lacked the "depth, breadth, and expertise
to monitor political, military, and economic developments worldwide."
Russ Travers said in the CIA in-house journal that in 5 years
"intelligence failure is inevitable". In 1997 the CIA's new director
George Tenet would promise a new working agency by 2002. The CIA's
surprise at India's detonation of an atom bomb was a failure at almost
every level. After the 1998 embassy bombings by
Al Qaeda , the CIA
offered two targets to be hit in retaliation . One of them was the
Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory , where traces of chemical weapon
precursors had been detected. In the aftermath it was concluded that
"the decision to target al Shifa continues a tradition of operating on
inadequate intelligence about Sudan." It triggered the CIA to make
"substantial and sweeping changes" to prevent "a catastrophic systemic
intelligence failure." Between 1991 and 1998 the CIA lost 3,000
Between 1985 and 1986 the CIA lost every spy it had in Eastern
Europe. The details of the investigation into the cause were obscured
from the new Director, and the investigation had little success, and
has been widely criticized. In June 1987, Major Florentino Aspillaga
Lombard, the chief of Cuban Intelligence in
Czechoslovakia drove into
Vienna, and walked into the American Embassy to defect. He revealed
that every single Cuban spy on the CIA payroll was a double agent,
pretending to work for the CIA, but secretly still being loyal to
Castro. On February 21, 1994, FBI agents pulled
Aldrich Ames out of
his Jaguar. In the investigation that ensued, the CIA discovered that
many of the sources for its most important analyses of the USSR were
based on Soviet disinformation fed to the CIA by controlled agents. On
top of that, it was discovered that, in some cases, the CIA suspected
at the time that the sources were compromised, but the information was
sent up the chain as genuine.
OSAMA BIN LADEN
Agency files show that it is believed
Osama Bin Laden was funding the
Afghan rebels against the USSR in the 1980s. In 1991, Bin Laden
returned to his native
Saudi Arabia protesting the presence of troops,
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Desert Storm . He was expelled from the country. In 1996
the CIA created a team to hunt Bin Laden. They were trading
information with the Sudanese until, on the word of a source that
would later be found to be a fabricator, the CIA closed its Sudan
station later that year. In 1998 Bin Laden would declare war on
America, and, on August 7, strike in Tanzania and Nairobi . On October
Al Qaeda bombed the
USS Cole . In 1947 when the CIA was
founded, there were 200 agents in the Clandestine Service. In 2001, of
the 17,000 employees in the CIA, there were 1,000 in the Clandestine
Service. Of that 1,000 few would accept hardship postings. In the
first days of George W. Bush's presidency,
Al Qaeda threats were
ubiquitous in daily Presidential CIA briefings, but it may have become
a case of the boy who cries wolf. The Agency's predictions were dire,
but carried little weight, and the attentions of the President and his
defense staff were elsewhere. The CIA arranged the arrests of
Al Qaeda members through cooperation with foreign agencies,
but the CIA could not definitively say what effect these arrests had
had, and it could not gain hard intelligence from those captured. The
President had asked the CIA if
Al Qaeda could plan attacks in the US.
On August 6, Bush received a daily briefing with the headline, not
based on current, solid intelligence, "
Al Qaeda determined to strike
inside the US." The US had been hunting Bin Laden since '96 and had
had several opportunities, but neither Clinton, nor Bush had wanted to
risk their skin taking an active role in a murky assassination plot,
and the perfect opportunity had never materialized for a trigger shy
DI that would have given him the reassurances he needed to take the
plunge. That day,
Richard A. Clarke sent National Security Advisor
Condoleezza Rice warning of the risks, and decrying the inaction of
Al-Qaeda And The "Global War On Terrorism"
CIA transnational anti-terrorism activities ,
Human rights violations by the CIA , and Senate Intelligence Committee
report on CIA torture The CIA prepared a series of leaflets
announcing bounties for those who turned in or denounced individual
suspected of association with the
Taliban or al Qaeda.
The CIA had long been dealing with terrorism originating from abroad,
and in 1986 had set up a
Counterterrorist Center to deal specifically
with the problem. At first confronted with secular terrorism, the
Agency found Islamist terrorism looming increasingly large on its
In January 1996, the CIA created an experimental "virtual station,"
Bin Laden Issue Station , under the Counterterrorist Center, to
track Bin Laden's developing activities. Al-Fadl, who defected to the
CIA in spring 1996, began to provide the Station with a new image of
Al Qaeda leader: he was not only a terrorist financier, but a
terrorist organizer, too. FBI
Special Agent Dan Coleman (who together
with his partner Jack Cloonan had been "seconded" to the Bin Laden
Station) called him Qaeda's "
Rosetta Stone ".
In 1999, CIA chief
George Tenet launched a grand "Plan" to deal with
al-Qaeda. The Counterterrorist Center, its new chief
Cofer Black and
the center's Bin Laden unit were the Plan's developers and executors.
Once it was prepared Tenet assigned CIA intelligence chief Charles E.
Allen to set up a "Qaeda cell" to oversee its tactical execution. In
2000, the CIA and USAF jointly ran a series of flights over
Afghanistan with a small remote-controlled reconnaissance drone, the
Predator ; they obtained probable photos of Bin Laden.
Cofer Black and
others became advocates of arming the Predator with missiles to try to
assassinate Bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders. After the
Cabinet-level Principals Committee meeting on terrorism of September
4, 2001, the CIA resumed reconnaissance flights, the drones now being
September 11 attacks
September 11 attacks and its aftermath US
Special Forces help
Northern Alliance troops away from a CIA-operated
MI-17 Hip helicopter at
Bagram Airbase , 2002
On September 11, 2001 , 19
Al-Qaeda members hijacked four passenger
jets within the
Northeastern United States
Northeastern United States in a series of coordinated
terrorist attacks. Two planes crashed into the Twin Towers of the
World Trade Center in
New York City
New York City , the third into the Pentagon in
Arlington County, Virginia , and the fourth inadvertently into a field
Shanksville, Pennsylvania . The attacks cost the lives of 2,996
people (including the 19 hijackers) , caused the destruction of the
Twin Towers , and damaged the western side of the Pentagon. Soon after
New York Times
New York Times released a story stating that the CIA's New
York field office was destroyed in the wake of the attacks. According
to unnamed CIA sources, while first responders , military personnel
and volunteers were conducting rescue efforts at the World Trade
Center site , a special CIA team was searching the rubble for both
digital and paper copies of classified documents. This was done
according to well-rehearsed document recovery procedures put in place
after the Iranian takeover of the
United States Embassy in Tehran in
1979. While it was not confirmed whether the agency was able to
retrieve the classified information, it is known that all agents
present that day fled the building safely.
While the CIA insists that those who conducted the attacks on 9/11
were not aware that the agency was operating at 7 World Trade Center
under the guise of another (unidentified) federal agency, this center
was the headquarters for many notable criminal terrorism
investigations. Though the New York field offices' main
responsibilities were to monitor and recruit foreign officials
stationed at the United Nations, the field office also handled the
investigations of the August 1998 bombings of
United States Embassies
in East Africa and the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole. Despite
the fact that the CIA's New York branch may have been damaged by the
9/11 attacks and they had to loan office space from the US Mission to
United Nations and other federal agencies, there was an upside for
the CIA. In the months immediately following 9/11, there was a huge
increase in the amount of applications for CIA positions. According to
CIA representatives that spoke with the New York Times, pre-9/11 the
agency received approximately 500 to 600 applications a week, in the
months following 9/11 the agency received that number daily.
The intelligence community as a whole, and especially the CIA, were
involved in presidential planning immediately after the 9/11 attacks.
In his address to the nation at 8:30pm on September 11, 2001, George
W. Bush mentioned the intelligence community: "The search is underway
for those who are behind these evil acts, I've directed the full
resource of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find
those responsible and bring them to justice."
The involvement of the CIA in the newly coined "War on Terror" was
further increased on September 15, 2001. During a meeting at Camp
George W. Bush
George W. Bush agreed to adopt a plan proposed by CIA director
George Tenet. This plan consisted of conducting a covert war in which
CIA paramilitary officers would cooperate with anti-
inside Afghanistan. They would later be joined by small special
operations forces teams which would call in precision airstrikes on
Al Qaeda fighters. This plan was codified on September 16,
2001 with Bush's signature of an official Memorandum of Notification
that allowed the plan to proceed. Former CIA director Robert
Gates meets with Russian Minister of Defense and ex-
KGB officer Sergei
Ivanov , 2007
On November 25–27, 2001,
Taliban prisoners revolted at the Qala
Jangi prison west of Mazar-e-Sharif. Though several days of struggle
occurred between the
Taliban prisoners and the Northern Alliance
members present, the prisoners did gain the upper hand and obtain
North Alliance weapons. At some point during this period Johnny "Mike"
Spann, a CIA officer sent to question the prisoners, was beaten to
death. He became the first American to die in combat in the war in
After 9/11, the CIA came under criticism for not having done enough
to prevent the attacks. Tenet rejected the criticism, citing the
Agency's planning efforts especially over the preceding two years. He
also considered that the CIA's efforts had put the Agency in a
position to respond rapidly and effectively to the attacks, both in
the "Afghan sanctuary" and in "ninety-two countries around the world".
The new strategy was called the "
Worldwide Attack Matrix ".
Anwar al-Awlaki , a Yemeni-American U.S. citizen and al-Qaeda member,
was killed on September 30, 2011, by an air attack carried out by the
Special Operations Command. After several days of surveillance
of Awlaki by the Central Intelligence Agency, armed drones took off
from a new, secret American base in the Arabian Peninsula, crossed
into northern Yemen, and fired a number of Hellfire missiles at
Samir Khan , a Pakistani-American al-Qaeda member
and editor of the jihadist Inspire magazine, also reportedly died in
the attack. The combined CIA/JSOC drone strike was the first in Yemen
since 2002 – there have been others by the military's Special
Operations forces – and was part of an effort by the spy agency to
duplicate in Yemen the covert war which has been running in
Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Use Of Vaccination Programs
The agency attracted widespread criticism after it used a doctor in
Pakistan to set up a vaccination program in
Abbottabad in 2011 to
obtain DNA samples from the occupants of a compound where it was
suspected bin Laden was living.
FAILURES IN INTELLIGENCE ANALYSIS
A major criticism is failure to forestall the
September 11 attacks
September 11 attacks .
9/11 Commission Report identifies failures in the IC as a whole.
One problem, for example, was the FBI failing to "connect the dots" by
sharing information among its decentralized field offices.
The report concluded that former DCI
George Tenet failed to
adequately prepare the agency to deal with the danger posed by
al-Qaeda prior to the attacks of September 11, 2001. The report was
finished in June 2005 and was partially released to the public in an
agreement with Congress, over the objections of current DCI General
Michael Hayden . Hayden said its publication would "consume time and
attention revisiting ground that is already well plowed." Tenet
disagreed with the report's conclusions, citing his planning efforts
vis-à-vis al-Qaeda, particularly from 1999.
ABUSES OF CIA AUTHORITY, 1970S–1990S
Conditions worsened in the mid-1970s, around the time of Watergate .
A dominant feature of political life during that period were the
attempts of Congress to assert oversight of the U.S. Presidency and
the executive branch of the U.S. government. Revelations about past
CIA activities, such as assassinations and attempted assassinations of
foreign leaders (most notably
Fidel Castro and Rafael Trujillo) and
illegal domestic spying on U.S. citizens, provided the opportunities
to increase Congressional oversight of U.S. intelligence operations.
CIA involvement in Contra cocaine trafficking in
complicity in the actions of the death squads in
El Salvador and
Honduras also came to light. Nixon Oval Office meeting with
H.R. Haldeman "Smoking Gun" Conversation June 23, 1972, Full
Hastening the CIA's fall from grace were the burglary of the
Watergate headquarters of the Democratic Party by former CIA officers,
Richard Nixon 's subsequent attempt to use the CIA to
impede the FBI's investigation of the burglary. In the famous "smoking
gun" recording that led to President Nixon's resignation, Nixon
ordered his chief of staff,
H. R. Haldeman , to tell the CIA that
further investigation of Watergate would "open the whole can of worms"
Bay of Pigs Invasion
Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba. In this way Nixon and
Haldemann ensured that the CIA's No. 1 and No. 2 ranking officials,
Richard Helms and Vernon Walters , communicated to FBI Director L.
Patrick Gray that the FBI should not follow the money trail from the
burglars to the
Committee to Re-elect the President , as it would
uncover CIA informants in Mexico. The FBI initially agreed to this due
to a long-standing agreement between the FBI and CIA not to uncover
each other's sources of information, though within a couple of weeks
the FBI demanded this request in writing, and when no such formal
request came, the FBI resumed its investigation into the money trail.
Nonetheless, when the smoking gun tapes were made public, damage to
the public's perception of CIA's top officials, and thus to the CIA as
a whole, could not be avoided. President
Gerald Ford meets with
George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush , December 17, 1975
Repercussions from the
Iran-Contra affair arms smuggling scandal
included the creation of the
Intelligence Authorization Act in 1991.
It defined covert operations as secret missions in geopolitical areas
where the U.S. is neither openly nor apparently engaged. This also
required an authorizing chain of command, including an official,
presidential finding report and the informing of the House and Senate
Intelligence Committees, which, in emergencies, requires only "timely
Main article: CIA activities in
Iraq Further information: Plame
72 days after the 9/11 attacks President Bush told his Secretary of
Defense to update the US plan for an invasion of
Iraq , but not to
tell anyone. SecDef Rumsfeld asked Bush if he could bring DCI Tenet
into the loop, to which Bush agreed.
Feelers the CIA had put out to
Iraq in the form of 8 of their best
officers in Kurdish territory in Northern
Iraq hit a goldmine,
unprecedented in the famously closed, almost fascist Hussein
government. By December 2002 the CIA had close to a dozen good
Iraq :242 and would advance so far that they would
penetrate Iraq's SSO , and even tap the encrypted communications of
the Deputy Prime Minister, even the bodyguard of Hussein's son became
an agent. As time passed, the CIA would become more and more frantic
about the possibility of their networks being compromised, "rolled
up". To the CIA, the Invasion had to occur before the end of February
2003 if their sources inside Hussein's government were to survive. The
rollup would happen as predicted, 37 CIA sources recognized by their
Thuraya satellite telephones provided for them by the CIA. :337
Former CIA deputy director
Michael Morell (left) apologized to Colin
Powell for the CIA’s erroneous assessments of Iraq’s WMD programs
Colin Powell presented before the United Nations
(purportedly proving an Iraqi WMD program) was wishful thinking. DDCI
John E. McLaughlin was part of a long discussion in the CIA about
equivocation. McLaughlin, who would make, among others, the "slam
dunk" presentation to the President, "felt that they had to dare to be
wrong to be clearer in their judgements". :197 The Al Qaeda
connection, for instance, was from a single source, extracted through
torture, and was later denied. Curveball was a known liar, and the
sole source for the mobile chemical weapons factories. A postmortem
of the intelligence failures in the lead up to
Iraq led by former DDCI
Richard Kerr would conclude that the CIA had been a casualty of the
cold war, wiped out in a way "analogous to the effect of the meteor
strikes on the dinosaurs."
The opening days of the Invasion of
Iraq would see successes and
defeats for the CIA. With its
Iraq networks compromised, and its
strategic and tactical information shallow, and often wrong, the
intelligence side of the invasion itself would be a black eye for the
Agency. The CIA would see some success with its "Scorpion"
paramilitary teams composed of CIA
Special Activities Division agents,
along with friendly Iraqi partisans . CIA SAD officers would also help
the US 10th
Special Forces . The occupation of
Iraq would be a low
point in the history of the CIA. At the largest CIA station in the
world agents would rotate through 1-3 month tours. In
Iraq almost 500
transient agents would be trapped inside the
Green Zone while Iraq
Station Chiefs would rotate with only a little less frequency.
2004, DNI TAKES OVER CIA TOP-LEVEL FUNCTIONS
Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act
Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 created
the office of the
Director of National Intelligence (DNI), who took
over some of the government and intelligence community (IC)-wide
functions that had previously been the CIA's. The DNI manages the
United States Intelligence Community
United States Intelligence Community and in so doing it manages the
intelligence cycle . Among the functions that moved to the DNI were
the preparation of estimates reflecting the consolidated opinion of
the 16 IC agencies, and preparation of briefings for the president. On
July 30, 2008, President Bush issued
Executive Order 13470 amending
Executive Order 12333 to strengthen the role of the DNI.
Director of Central Intelligence
Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) oversaw the
Intelligence Community, serving as the president's principal
intelligence advisor, additionally serving as head of the CIA. The
DCI's title now is "Director of the Central Intelligence Agency"
(D/CIA), serving as head of the CIA.
Currently, the CIA reports to the Director of National Intelligence.
Prior to the establishment of the DNI, the CIA reported to the
President, with informational briefings to congressional committees.
The National Security Advisor is a permanent member of the National
Security Council, responsible for briefing the President with
pertinent information collected by all U.S. intelligence agencies,
including the National Security Agency, the Drug Enforcement
Administration, etc. All 16 Intelligence Community agencies are under
the authority of the Director of National Intelligence.
OPERATION NEPTUNE SPEAR
Death of Osama bin Laden
On May 1, 2011, President Barack Obama announced that Osama bin Laden
was killed earlier that day by "a small team of Americans" operating
Abbottabad , Pakistan, during a CIA operation. The raid was
executed from a CIA forward base in
Afghanistan by elements of the
Naval Special Warfare Development Group and CIA
It resulted in the acquisition of extensive intelligence on the
future attack plans of al-Qaeda.
The operation was a result of years of intelligence work that
included the CIA's capture and interrogation of Khalid Sheik Mohammad
(KSM), which led to the identity of a courier of Bin Laden's, the
tracking of the courier to the compound by
Special Activities Division
paramilitary operatives and the establishing of a CIA safe house to
provide critical tactical intelligence for the operation.
SYRIAN CIVIL WAR
CIA activities in Syria
Under the aegis of operation
Timber Sycamore and other clandestine
activities, CIA operatives and U.S. special operations troops have
trained and armed nearly 10,000 rebel fighters at a cost of $1 billion
a year. The CIA has been sending weapons to anti-government rebels in
Syria since at least 2012. These weapons have been reportedly falling
into hands of extremists, such as al-Nusra Front and ISIL . Around
February 2017, the CIA was instructed to halt military aid to Syrian
rebels (Free Syrian Army or FSA), which also included training,
ammunition, guided missiles, and salaries. Sources state that the hold
on aid was not related to the transitions from Obama's administration
to Trump's, but rather due to issues faced by the FSA. Based on
responses by rebel officials, they believe that the aid freeze is
related to concerns that weapons and funds will fall into the hands of
ISIL. Based on information obtained by Reuters, five FSA groups have
confirmed that they received funding and military support from an
source called “MOM operations room.” Several countries besides the
U.S. had also contributed to the funding of the FSA. These countries
include Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. On April 6, 2017, Al-Jazeera
reported that funding to the FSA was partially restored. Based on
information provided by two FSA sources, the new military operation
room will receive its funds from the coalition “Friends of Syria”.
The coalition consists of members from the U.S, Turkey, Western
Europe, and Gulf states, which previously supported the military
operation known as MOM.
It was reported in July 2017 that President
Donald Trump had ordered
a "phasing out" of the CIA's support for anti-Assad rebels.
On March 6, 2015, the office of the D/CIA issued an unclassified
edition of a statement by the Director, titled 'Our Agency's Blueprint
for the Future', as a press release for public consumption. The press
release announced sweeping plans for the reorganization and reform of
the CIA, which the Director believes will bring the CIA more in line
with the Agency doctrine called the 'Strategic Direction'. Among the
principal changes disclosed include the establishment of a new
directorate, the Directorate of Digital Innovation, which is
responsible for designing and crafting the digital technology to be
used by the Agency, to keep the CIA always ahead of its enemies. The
Directorate of Digital Innovation will also train CIA staff in the use
of this technology, to prepare the CIA for the future, and it will
also use the technological revolution to deal with cyber-terrorism and
other perceived threats. The new directorate will be the chief
cyber-espionage arm of the Agency going forward.
Other changes which were announced include the formation of a Talent
Development Center of Excellence, the enhancement and expansion of the
CIA University and the creation of the office of the Chancellor to
CIA University in order to consolidate and unify recruitment
and training efforts. The office of the Executive Director will be
empowered and expanded and the secretarial offices serving the
Executive Director will be streamlined. The restructuring of the
entire Agency is to be revamped according to a new model whereby
governance is modelled after the structure and hierarchy of
corporations, said to increase the efficiency of workflow and to
greatly enable the Executive Director to manage day-to-day activity.
As well, another stated intention was to establish 'Mission Centers',
each one to deal with a specific geographic region of the world, which
will bring the full collaboration and joint efforts of the five
Directorates together under one roof. While the Directorate heads will
still retain ultimate authority over their respective Directorate, the
Mission Centers will be led by an Assistant Director who will work
with the capabilities and talents of all five Directorates on mission
specific goals for the parts of the world which they are given
The unclassified version of the document ends with the announcement
National Clandestine Service (NCS) will be reverting to its
original Directorate name, the Directorate of Operations. The
Directorate of Intelligence is also being renamed, it will now be the
Directorate of Analysis.
A new policy introduced by President Barack Obama removed the
authority of the CIA to launch drone attacks and allowed these attacks
Department of Defense command. This change was reversed by
President Donald Trump, who authorized CIA drone strikes on suspected
OPEN SOURCE INTELLIGENCE
Foreign Broadcast Information Service and Open
Until the 2004 reorganization of the intelligence community, one of
the "services of common concern" that the CIA provided was Open Source
Intelligence from the
Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS).
FBIS, which had absorbed the Joint Publication Research Service, a
military organization that translated documents, moved into the
National Open Source Enterprise under the Director of National
Reagan administration , Michael Sekora (assigned to the
DIA ), worked with agencies across the intelligence community,
including the CIA, to develop and deploy a technology-based
competitive strategy system called
Project Socrates . Project Socrates
was designed to utilize open source intelligence gathering almost
exclusively. The technology-focused Socrates system supported such
programs as the
Strategic Defense Initiative in addition to private
As part of its mandate to gather intelligence, the CIA is looking
increasingly online for information, and has become a major consumer
of social media . "We're looking at YouTube, which carries some unique
and honest-to-goodness intelligence," said Doug Naquin , director of
Open Source Center (OSC) at CIA headquarters. "We're looking
at chat rooms and things that didn't exist five years ago, and trying
to stay ahead." CIA launched a
Twitter account in June 2014.
OUTSOURCING AND PRIVATIZATION
Many of the duties and functions of Intelligence Community
activities, not the CIA alone, are being outsourced and privatized.
Mike McConnell , former Director of National Intelligence, was about
to publicize an investigation report of outsourcing by U.S.
intelligence agencies, as required by Congress. However, this report
was then classified. Hillhouse speculates that this report includes
requirements for the CIA to report:
* different standards for government employees and contractors;
* contractors providing similar services to government workers;
* analysis of costs of contractors vs. employees;
* an assessment of the appropriateness of outsourced activities;
* an estimate of the number of contracts and contractors;
* comparison of compensation for contractors and government
* attrition analysis of government employees;
* descriptions of positions to be converted back to the employee
* an evaluation of accountability mechanisms;
* an evaluation of procedures for "conducting oversight of
contractors to ensure identification and prosecution of criminal
violations, financial waste, fraud, or other abuses committed by
contractors or contract personnel"; and
* an "identification of best practices of accountability mechanisms
within service contracts."
According to investigative journalist
Tim Shorrock :
...what we have today with the intelligence business is something far
more systemic: senior officials leaving their national security and
counterterrorism jobs for positions where they are basically doing the
same jobs they once held at the CIA, the NSA and other agencies —
but for double or triple the salary, and for profit. It's a
privatization of the highest order, in which our collective memory and
experience in intelligence — our crown jewels of spying, so to speak
— are owned by corporate America. Yet, there is essentially no
government oversight of this private sector at the heart of our
intelligence empire. And the lines between public and private have
become so blurred as to be nonexistent.
Congress has required an outsourcing report by March 30, 2008.
Director of National Intelligence has been granted the authority
to increase the number of positions (FTEs) on elements in the
Intelligence Community by up to 10% should there be a determination
that activities performed by a contractor should be done by a U.S.
Part of the contracting problem comes from Congressional restrictions
on the number of employees in the IC. According to Hillhouse, this
resulted in 70% of the de facto workforce of the CIA's National
Clandestine Service being made up of contractors. "After years of
contributing to the increasing reliance upon contractors, Congress is
now providing a framework for the conversion of contractors into
federal government employees—more or less."
As with most government agencies, building equipment often is
National Reconnaissance Office
National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), responsible for
the development and operation of airborne and spaceborne sensors, long
was a joint operation of the CIA and the
United States Department of
Defense. NRO had been significantly involved in the design of such
sensors, but the NRO, then under DCI authority, contracted more of the
design that had been their tradition, and to a contractor without
extensive reconnaissance experience,
Boeing . The next-generation
Future Imagery Architecture project "how does heaven look",
which missed objectives after $4 billion in cost overruns, was the
result of this contract.
Some of the cost problems associated with intelligence come from one
agency, or even a group within an agency, not accepting the
compartmented security practices for individual projects, requiring
See also: 1953 Iranian coup d\'état , 1954 Guatemalan coup d\'état
, CIA activities in
Indonesia , and
Supplemental material used in Maxwell Taylor's report on the Bay of
THE CIA: a forgotten history, by
William Blum and Legacy of Ashes:
The History of the CIA by
Tim Weiner have accused the CIA of various
covert actions, and human rights abuses. The CIA has responded to the
claims made in Weiner's book, and
Jeffrey T. Richelson of the
National Security Archive has also been critical of it. Intelligence
expert David Wise faulted Weiner for portraying
Allen Dulles as "a
doddering old man" rather than the "shrewd professional spy" he knew
and for refusing "to concede that the agency's leaders may have acted
from patriotic motives or that the CIA ever did anything right," but
Legacy of Ashes succeeds as both journalism and history,
and it is must reading for anyone interested in the CIA or American
intelligence since World War II." In 2017, the CIA faced heat over
Wikileaks. They released a statement saying they conduct missions to
aggressively collect intelligence, but denied the authenticity of the
In 1969, at the height of the antiwar movement in the US, CIA
Director Helms received a message from
Henry Kissinger ordering him to
spy on the leaders of the groups requesting a moratorium on Vietnam.
"Since 1962, three successive presidents had ordered the director of
central intelligence to spy on Americans".
Extraordinary rendition ,
Black site , and
Rendition aircraft The US Senate Report on CIA Detention
Interrogation Program that details the use of torture during CIA
detention and interrogation.
Extraordinary rendition is the apprehension and extrajudicial
transfer of a person from one country to another.
The term "torture by proxy" is used by some critics to describe
situations in which the CIA and other US agencies have transferred
suspected terrorists to countries known to employ torture , whether
they meant to enable torture or not. It has been claimed, though, that
torture has been employed with the knowledge or acquiescence of US
agencies (a transfer of anyone to anywhere for the purpose of torture
is a violation of US law), although
Condoleezza Rice (then the United
States Secretary of State ) stated that:
United States has not transported anyone, and will not transport
anyone, to a country when we believe he will be tortured. Where
United States seeks assurances that transferred
persons will not be tortured.
Whilst the Obama administration has tried to distance itself from
some of the harshest counterterrorism techniques, it has also said
that at least some forms of renditions will continue. Currently the
administration continues to allow rendition only "to a country with
jurisdiction over that individual (for prosecution of that
individual)" when there is a diplomatic assurance "that they will not
be treated inhumanely."
The US programme has also prompted several official investigations in
Europe into alleged secret detentions and unlawful inter-state
Council of Europe member states. A June 2006
report from the
Council of Europe estimated 100 people had been
kidnapped by the CIA on EU territory (with the cooperation of Council
of Europe members), and rendered to other countries, often after
having transited through secret detention centres ("black sites ")
used by the CIA, some located in Europe. According to the separate
European Parliament report of February 2007 , the CIA has conducted
1,245 flights, many of them to destinations where suspects could face
torture, in violation of article 3 of the
United Nations Convention
11 September 2001 attacks the United States, in
particular the CIA, has been accused of rendering hundreds of people
suspected by the government of being terrorists—or of aiding and
abetting terrorist organisations—to third-party states such as
Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Uzbekistan. Such "ghost detainees " are
kept outside judicial oversight, often without ever entering US
territory, and may or may not ultimately be devolved to the custody of
the United States.
On October 4, 2001, a secret arrangement is made in Brussels, by all
NATO . Lord George Robertson , British defence secretary
and later NATO's secretary-general, will later explain
agree to provide "blanket overflight clearances for the United States
and other allies' aircraft for military flights related to operations
Critics assert that funding the Afghan mujahideen (Operation
Cyclone ) played a role in causing the
September 11 attacks
September 11 attacks .
On December 30, 2009, a suicide attack occurred in the Forward
Operating Base Chapman attack in the province of
Khost , Afghanistan.
Seven CIA officers, including the chief of the base, were killed and
six others seriously wounded in the attack.
Perhaps the most disruptive period involving counterintelligence was
James Jesus Angleton's search for a mole, based on the statements of
a Soviet defector,
Anatoliy Golitsyn . A second defector, Yuri Nosenko
, challenged Golitsyn's claims, with the two calling one another
Soviet double agents. Many CIA officers fell under career-ending
suspicion; the details of the relative truths and untruths from
Nosenko and Golitsyn may never be released, or, in fact, may not be
fully understood. The accusations also crossed the Atlantic to the
British intelligence services, who also were damaged by molehunts.
Edward Lee Howard ,
David Henry Barnett , both field operations
officers sold secrets to Russia, and
William Kampiles , a low-level
worker in the CIA 24-hour Operations Center. Kampiles sold the Soviets
the detailed operational manual for the
HUMAN RIGHTS CONCERNS
Human rights violations by the CIA See also: Senate
Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture Operation Condor
participants. Green: active members. Blue: collaborator (USA).
The CIA has been called into question for, at times, using torture,
funding and training of groups and organizations that would later
participate in killing of civilians and other non-combatants and would
try or succeed in overthrowing democratically elected governments,
human experimentation, and targeted killings and assassinations. The
CIA has also been accused of a lack of financial and whistleblower
controls which has led to waste and fraud.
The Institute on Medicine as a Profession and the non-profit
organization Open Society Foundations reviewed public records into the
medical professions alleging complicity in the abuse of prisoners
suspected of terrorism who were held in U.S. custody during the years
after 9/11." The reports found that health professionals "Aided
cruel and degrading interrogations; Helped devise and implement
practices designed to maximize disorientation and anxiety so as to
make detainees more malleable for interrogation; and Participated in
the application of excruciatingly painful methods of force-feeding of
mentally competent detainees carrying out hunger strikes" are not all
that surprising. Medical professionals were sometimes used at black
sites to monitor detainee health. Whether or not the physicians were
compelled is an open question.
Other human rights issues that are controversial include the case of
Edward Snowden. However, the significance of human right does not
fall into this case regarding whether Snowden received his fair trial
or not. Rather, the human rights associated with the Snowden leaks are
regarding the types of document Snowden released. Snowden released a
significant amount of information on the U.S. government’s
surveillance program of its citizens to the
Washington Post as
well as foreign news reporters.
Particularly, “between on or about June 5, 2013, and June 9, 2013,
classified information was published on the internet and in print by
multiple newspapers, including
The Washington Post
The Washington Post and The Guardian.
The articles and internet postings by
The Washington Post
The Washington Post and The
Guardian included classified documents that were marked TOP SECRET.
The Washington Post
The Washington Post and
The Guardian later revealed that SNOWDEN was
the principal source for the classified information on or about June
9, 2013, in a videotaped interview with The Guardian, admitted that he
was the person who illegally provided those documents to reporters.
Evidence indicates that SNOWDEN had access to the classified documents
in question; accessed those documents; and, subsequently, provided
those documents to media outlets without authorization and in
violation of U.S. law.”
Furthermore, the leaks included documents at many levels of the
National Security Agency
National Security Agency (NSA) electronic surveillance activities.
“The Snowden leaks have generated broad public debate over issues of
security, privacy, and legality inherent in the NSA's surveillance of
communications by American citizens. The records include: White House
and ODNI efforts to explain, justify, and defend the programs;
Correspondence between outside critics and executive branch officials;
Fact sheets and white papers distributed (and sometimes later
withdrawn) by the government; Key laws and court decisions (both
Supreme Court and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court); Documents
on the Total Information Awareness (later Terrorist Information
Awareness, or TIA) program, an earlier proposal for massive data
collection Manuals on how to exploit the Internet for intelligence.”
EXTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS AND DOCUMENT RELEASES
Official reports by the U.S. Government on the CIA
Several investigations (e.g., the Church Committee, Rockefeller
Commission, Pike Committee, etc.) have been conducted about the CIA,
and many documents have been declassified.
INFLUENCING PUBLIC OPINION AND LAW ENFORCEMENT
CIA influence on public opinion ,
CIA and the media , CIA
in fiction ,
Robertson Panel , and
The CIA sometimes finds itself in conflict with other parts of the
government when there is disagreement over the legality of specific
covert programs. There is always the risk that one part of the
government may make the covert operations of another part of the
Main articles: CIA transnational anti-crime and anti-drug activities
Allegations of CIA drug trafficking
Two offices of CIA Directorate of Analysis have analytical
responsibilities in this area. The Office of Transnational Issues
applies unique functional expertise to assess existing and emerging
threats to U.S. national security and provides the most senior U.S.
policymakers, military planners, and law enforcement with analysis,
warning, and crisis support.
CIA Crime and Narcotics Center researches information on
international narcotics trafficking and organized crime for
policymakers and the law enforcement community. Since CIA has no
domestic police authority, it sends its analytic information to the
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Immigration and Customs
Enforcement (ICE) and other law enforcement organizations, such as the
Drug Enforcement Administration
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Office of Foreign Assets
Control of the
United States Department of the Treasury
United States Department of the Treasury (OFAC).
Another part of CIA, the Directorate of Operations, collects human
intelligence (HUMINT) in these areas.
Research by Dr.
Alfred W. McCoy ,
Gary Webb , and others has pointed
to CIA involvement in narcotics trafficking across the globe, although
the CIA officially denies such allegations. During the Cold War,
when numerous soldiers participated in transport of Southeast Asian
heroin to the
United States by the airline Air America , the CIA's
role in such traffic was reportedly rationalized as "recapture" of
related profits to prevent possible enemy control of such assets.
ALLEGED LYING TO CONGRESS
Former Speaker of the
United States House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives Nancy
Pelosi has stated that the CIA repeatedly misled Congress since 2001
about waterboarding and other torture, though Pelosi admitted to being
told about the programs. Six members of Congress have claimed that
Director of the CIA
Leon Panetta admitted that over a period of
several years since 2001 the CIA deceived Congress, including
affirmatively lying to Congress. Some congressmen believe that these
"lies" to Congress are similar to CIA lies to Congress from earlier
Covert Programs Hidden From Congress
On July 10, 2009, House Intelligence subcommittee Chairwoman
Jan Schakowsky (D, IL) announced the termination of an
unnamed CIA covert program described as "very serious" in nature which
had been kept secret from Congress for eight years. It's not as if
this was an oversight and over the years it just got buried. There was
a decision under several directors of the CIA and administration not
to tell the Congress. Jan Schakowsky, Chairwoman, U.S. House of
Representatives Intelligence Subcommittee
CIA Director Panetta had ordered an internal investigation to
determine why Congress had not been informed about the covert program.
Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Representative Silvestre
Reyes announced that he is considering an investigation into alleged
CIA violations of the National Security Act , which requires with
limited exception that Congress be informed of covert activities.
Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee Chairwoman Schakowsky
indicated that she would forward a request for congressional
HPSCI Chairman Silvestre Reyes. "Director Panetta
did brief us two weeks ago—I believe it was on the 24th of
June—... and, as had been reported, did tell us that he was told
that the vice president had ordered that the program not be briefed to
the Congress." Dianne Feinstein, Chairwoman of the
U.S. Senate Select
Committee on Intelligence
As mandated by
Title 50 of the United States Code Chapter 15,
Subchapter III, when it becomes necessary to limit access to covert
operations findings that could affect vital interests of the U.S., as
soon as possible the President must report at a minimum to the Gang of
Eight (the leaders of each of the two parties from both the Senate and
House of Representatives, and the chairs and ranking members of both
the Senate Committee and House Committee for intelligence). The House
is expected to support the 2010 Intelligence Authorization Bill
including a provision that would require the President to inform more
than 40 members of Congress about covert operations. The Obama
administration threatened to veto the final version of a bill that
included such a provision. On July 16, 2008, the fiscal 2009
Intelligence Authorization Bill was approved by House majority
containing stipulations that 75% of money sought for covert actions
would be held until all members of the House Intelligence panel were
briefed on sensitive covert actions. Under the George W. Bush
administration, senior advisers to the President issued a statement
indicating that if a bill containing this provision reached the
President, they would recommend that he veto the bill.
The program was rumored vis-à-vis leaks made by anonymous government
officials on July 23, to be an assassinations program, but this
remains unconfirmed. "The whole committee was stunned....I think this
is as serious as it gets," stated
Anna Eshoo , Chairman, Subcommittee
on Intelligence Community Management, U.S. House Permanent Select
Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI).
Allegations by Director Panetta indicate that details of a secret
counterterrorism program were withheld from Congress under orders from
former U.S. Vice President
Dick Cheney . This prompted Senator
Feinstein and Senator
Patrick Leahy , chairman of the Senate Judiciary
Committee to insist that no one should go outside the law. "The
agency hasn't discussed publicly the nature of the effort, which
remains classified," said agency spokesman Paul Gimigliano.
The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal reported, citing former intelligence
officials familiar with the matter, that the program was an attempt to
carry out a 2001 presidential authorization to capture or kill
Intelligence Committee Investigation
On July 17, 2009, the House Intelligence Committee said it was
launching a formal investigation into the secret program.
Silvestre Reyes announced the probe will look into
"whether there was any past decision or direction to withhold
information from the committee". "Is giving your kid a test in
school an inhibition on his free learning?" Holt said. "Sure, there
are some people who are happy to let intelligence agencies go about
their business unexamined. But I think most people when they think
about it will say that you will get better intelligence if the
intelligence agencies don't operate in an unexamined fashion." Rush
Holt , Chairman, House Select Intelligence Oversight Panel, Committee
Jan Schakowsky (D, IL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on
Oversight and Investigations, who called for the investigation, stated
that the investigation was intended to address CIA failures to inform
Congress fully or accurately about four issues: C.I.A. involvement in
the downing of a missionary plane mistaken for a narcotics flight in
Peru in 2001, and two "matters that remain classified", as well as the
rumored-assassinations question. In addition, the inquiry is likely to
look at the Bush administration's program of eavesdropping without
warrants and its detention and interrogation program. U.S.
Intelligence Chief Dennis Blair testified before the House
Intelligence Committee on February 3, 2010, that the U.S. intelligence
community is prepared to kill U.S. citizens if they threaten other
Americans or the United States. The American Civil Liberties Union
has said this policy is "particularly troubling" because U.S. citizens
"retain their constitutional right to due process even when abroad."
The ACLU also "expressed serious concern about the lack of public
information about the policy and the potential for abuse of unchecked
IMPROPER SEARCH OF COMPUTERS USED BY SENATE INVESTIGATORS
In July 2014 CIA Director
John O. Brennan had to apologize to
lawmakers because five CIA employees (two lawyers and three computer
specialists) had surreptitiously searched Senate Intelligence
Committee files and reviewed some committee staff members' e-mail on
computers that were supposed to be exclusively for congressional
investigators. Brennan ordered the creation of an internal personnel
board, led by former senator
Evan Bayh , to review the agency
employees' conduct and determine "potential disciplinary measures."
However, according to some reports, Brennan didn't apologize for
spying or doing anything wrong at all, even though his agency had been
improperly accessing computers of the Senate Select Intelligence
Committee (SSCI) and then, in the words of investigative reporter Dan
Froomkin , "speaking a lie". This accusation was based on the CIA
Director's earlier denials of Senator
Dianne Feinstein 's claims that
the surreptitious CIA search of the SSCI computers occurred, was
inappropriate, or "violated the separation of powers principles
embodied in the
United States Constitution, including the Speech and
Debate clause " or other laws.
RESIGNATION OF OFFICIALS AND AGENTS WHO WOULD NOT WORK FOR DONALD
In February 2017, reports emerged that key experts within the CIA
were resigning because they would not work for U.S. President Donald
Trump . The
Middle East Eye reported that two agents, Americans, who
operated spy-rings within ISIS had resigned, because they did not want
to see the contacts who worked for them sacrificed due to incompetence
and anti-Muslim prejudice from within Trump's inner circle. Edward
Price , a CIA official since 2006, stirred controversy when he
published an op-ed in the
Washington Post , explaining why he
surprised himself by resigning, after he perceived Trump using his
visit to CIA HQ for partisan political posturing.
WIKILEAKS\' DISCLOSURE OF CIA\'S CYBER TOOLS
In March 2017,
WikiLeaks has published more than 8,000 documents on
the CIA. The confidential documents, codenamed
Vault 7 and dated from
2013–2016, include details on CIA's software capabilities, such as
the ability to compromise cars , smart TVs , web browsers (including
Google Chrome ,
Microsoft Edge ,
Mozilla Firefox , and Opera Software
ASA ), and the operating systems of most smartphones (including
Apple 's iOS and
Google 's Android ), as well as other operating
systems such as
Microsoft Windows , macOS , and
not name the source, but said that the files had "circulated among
former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized
manner, one of whom has provided
WikiLeaks with portions of the
In a 2017 speech addressing CSIS , CIA Director
Mike Pompeo referred
Wikileaks as "a non-state hostile intelligence service often
abetted by state actors like Russia". He also said: “To give them
the space to crush us with misappropriated secrets is a perversion of
what our great Constitution stands for. It ends now.”
CIA in fiction
Fictional depictions of the CIA exist in many books, films and video
games. Some fiction draws, at least in parts, on actual historical
events, while other works are entirely fictional. The television
series Chuck (2007), was based solely on a man who accidentally sees
secret CIA encryptions and eventually becomes an asset/liabilty, and
later on an agent in the agency. Films include Charlie Wilson\'s War
(2007), based on the story of U.S. Congressman Charlie Wilson and CIA
Gust Avrakotos , who supported the Afghan mujahideen , and
The Good Shepherd (2006), a fictional spy film produced and directed
Robert De Niro
Robert De Niro based loosely on the development of
counter-intelligence in the CIA. The fictional character Jack Ryan in
Tom Clancy 's books is a CIA analyst.
Graham Greene 's The Quiet
American is about a CIA agent operating in Southeast Asia. Fictional
depictions of the CIA are also used in video games, such as Tom
Clancy\'s Splinter Cell , Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Call of
Duty: Black Ops .
* Government of the
United States portal
* Intelligence portal
Abu Omar case
Blue sky memo
Classified information in the United States
Freedom of Information Act (United States)
George Bush Center for Intelligence
George Bush Center for Intelligence
History of the Central Intelligence Agency
National Intelligence Board
Operation Peter Pan
Title 32 of the Code of Federal Regulations
U.S. Army and CIA interrogation manuals
United States and state-sponsored terrorism
United States Department of Homeland Security
United States Department of Homeland Security
United States Intelligence Community
United States Intelligence Community
The World Factbook
The World Factbook , published by the CIA
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