Professor Nora Kabaji
3 May 2012
Central Intelligence Agency
American television and movies have influenced people’s perception of government agencies. Most people think that government agencies operate the same way in real life. One of the most commonly used government agencies is the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Sometimes the agency is displayed as the hero in the story, the one that solves all the problems and find ways out of difficult situations. At other times, the CIA is displayed in a negative light. It is seen as a bureaucratic system, and one that takes a long time before it responds to any situation. In most cases, the movies and television portray the CIA as uncooperative. It maintains the concept that the CIA and other government and private intelligence agencies do not cooperate. In real life, things are much different as they are presumed to be on the screen. Many people tend to believe what they see on the screen concerning the CIA. They then form different attitudes based on the actions of a movie director. Although some of the information is true, it is important to realize that most information concerning the CIA on the screen is a work of fiction. This paper intends to find out valid information concerning the CIA.
America has always recognized the need to have intelligence information. President Roosevelt noted the need for cooperation between the state and war department. He realized that the intelligence system at that time was lacking, and there was a need to have a strategic perspective on the issue. He commissioned William Donovan, who was at that time an attorney to create a plan that would be used for the new intelligence service. Donovan proposed the idea of having a service of strategic information. The service would constitute a panel with members from the army, the navy, the FBI, and the department of state and would collect information independently. The service combined the “information, intelligence, and clandestine activities”. The president appointed Donovan as the COI (Coordinator of Information) in 1941. The Second World War prompted the authorities to rethink the main purpose of the COI. The office of coordinator of information split into the office of war information, which handled the propaganda information, and the office of strategic services, which handled the clandestine activities in 1942. The aim of the OSS was to collect and analyze the strategic information needed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and to conduct special operations. The OSS ceased operations in 1845 after the second world war, along with many other agencies that were operating at the time. The government transferred the functions of the OSS to the state and war departments (Kirkpatrick).
The government had realized the importance of having a coordinated war agency during the period of the world war. It disbanded many agencies when the Second World War ended. However, President Truman realized that there was a need to have a centralized intelligence organization after the war to assist with the country’s intelligence affairs. He established the Central Intelligence Group in 1946, which was headed by the Director of Central Intelligence. The director served under the National Intelligence Authority, which consisted of the secretaries of state, war and navy, and the president’s representative. In 1947, he signed the National Security Act, which led to the establishment of the US Air Force, National Security Council, and the CIA. The functions of the CIA were laid out as “correlating, evaluating, and disseminating intelligence” that would affect the national security. The functions of the CIA have remained largely unchanged over the years. However, their definition has become diverse, as the country continues to receive more threats. The CIA supports the government actions in fighting terrorism. It also fights against drug trafficking, and this helps to ensure the safety of Americans. It works with many foreign governments to ensure that its efforts are successful. It also works with other agencies in the country such as the FBI and State Department (CIA).
The CIA recruits professionals from different fields including scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and accountants among others. The CIA is an intelligence agency, and it does not disclose the number of employees it has, or the size of its budget. Most people think that the CIA operates on an unlimited budget, but this is not the case. All government agencies have to undergo rigorous examination and approval process before they are allocated any funds. The CIA is no exception. The Office of Management and Budget, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Defense Subcommittees of the Appropriations Committees in Congress, have access to the CIA budget, and they scrutinize it carefully. The only exceptions to this rule were in 1997 and 1998. In 1997, the government released the aggregate figures of all the government intelligence, and intelligence related activities. The budget at that time was $26.6 billion. In the following year, the budget was 26.7 billion. The CIA is only one of the government intelligence agencies.
The Director of the CIA is the head of the agency, and he reports to the Director of National Intelligence. The president nominates the director, and the senate confirms him. He manages the operations of the agency, personnel, and budget. He acts as the National Human Source Intelligence manager. The Deputy Director of the CIA assists the director, and he takes over the director’s place when the director is absent. The post of the Associate Deputy Director of the CIA was created in 2006 manages the CIA on a daily basis. The Director of Intelligence heads the analytical branch of the CIA. The CIA has other directors heading different departments such as science and technology, support, and center for the study of intelligence. It has a General Counsel, which provides legal advice to the CIA director. The inspector general ensures the CIA remains accountable. It performs independent audits, investigations and inspections of the CIA, and it reviews the agency’s programs and operations. The CIA uses the media in different ways. The Director of Public Affairs advises the Director of the CIA concerning public policy and the media. He or she also advises the director on issues related to the employees (CIA).
The CIA plays an important role in ensuring national security, and ensures that its citizens are safe. The CIA provides the policy makers with intelligence information, which enables them to create and implement policies. The CIA has made many accomplishments since it was first established, not only in America, but in other countries as well. The CIA had a major role to play in the end of communism in Western Europe in the 50s. The agency conducts a lot of scientific and technological research to help it in its operations. It has developed many devices and enhanced technology in many ways. The US continues to face emerging terrorist threats. Since the 9/11 attack, the agency has intensified its operations. It has provided the intelligence and information needed to protect the country. It works with the navy, army, and other arms of the government to ensure that terrorist attacks do not happen in America.
The portrayal of the CIA on the movies and on television is not realistic. After gathering all the information, it is clear that the CIA plays an important role in the nation. The movies do not portray a real picture of the CIA. For instance, it is clear that the CIA has to cooperate with other agencies to ensure that its work is effective. Government intelligence agencies do not work in isolation. They have to collect all the information they can, which will assist in making better decisions and better policies. Someone intending to understand the working and operations of the CIA will benefit by seeking this information from other sources, and not by watching movies and television, which are mostly interested on the entertainment package.
CIA. General Hayden’s Remarks at the Council on Foreign Relations. 2007. Web. 19 May 2012
CIA. Preface. Central Intelligence Agency. 2008. Web. 19 May 2012
CIA. FAQs. Central Intelligence Agency. 2011 Web. 19 May 2012
Kirkpatrick, B. Lyman. Origins, Missions, and Structure of the CIA. 2011. Web. 19 May 2012