Central Intelligence Agency

Central Intelligence Agency

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), independent executive bureau of the U.S. government established by the National Security Act of 1947, replacing the wartime Office of Strategic Services (1942-45), the first U.S. espionage and covert operations agency. While the CIA's covert operations receive the most attention, its major responsibility is to gather intelligence, in which it uses not only covert agents but such technological resources as satellite photos and intercepted telecommunications transmissions. The CIA was given (1949) special powers under the Central Intelligence Act: The CIA director may spend agency funds without accounting for them; the size of its staff is secret; and employees, exempt from civil service procedures, may be hired, investigated, or dismissed as the CIA sees fit. Under the U.S. intelligence agency reorganization enacted in 2004, the CIA reports to the independent director of national intelligence, who is responsible for coordinating the work and budgets of all 15 U.S. intelligence agencies. To safeguard civil liberties in the United States, the CIA is denied domestic police powers; for operations in the United States it must enlist the services of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Allen Welsh Dulles, director from 1953 to 1961, strengthened the agency and emboldened its tactics.

The CIA has often been criticized for covert operations in the domestic politics of foreign countries. The agency was heavily involved in the failed 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, deeply embarrassing the United States. In 1971 the U.S. government acknowledged that the CIA had recruited and paid an army fighting in Laos. In 1973 the CIA came under congressional investigation for its role in the Pentagon Papers case. The agency had provided members of the White House staff, on request, with a personality profile of Daniel Ellsberg, defendant in the Pentagon Papers trial in 1973, and had indirectly aided the White House "Plumbers," the special unit established to investigate internal security leaks. This direct violation of the National Security Act's prohibition led Congress to strengthen provisions barring the agency from domestic operations.

Its foreign operations came under attack in 1974 for involvement in Chilean internal affairs during the administration of Salvador Allende, and in 1986 it was shown to be involved in the Iran-Contra affair. Diminished in the early 1990s after the end of the cold war, it began rebuilding later in the decade, accelerating the process after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It was subsequently hurt, however, by the revelation that Director George Tenet had insisted, prior to the Iraq invasion of 2003, that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, and the quality of the intelligence that it had provided was criticized. One result of the intelligence failures relating to Sept., 2001, and Iraq was the reorganization of 2004, which demoted the director of the CIA and made the CIA one of several agencies overseen by the new position of director of national intelligence.


See publications by the CIA History Staff; see also H. H. Ransom, The Intelligence Establishment (rev. ed. 1970); P. J. McGarvey, CIA: The Myth and the Madness (1972); S. D. Breckinridge, The CIA and the U.S. Intelligence System (1986); J. Ranelagh, The Agency (1986); S. Turner, Secrecy and Democracy; The CIA in Transition (1986); J. Marshall, The Iran-Contra Connection (1987); G. F. Treverton, Covert Action (1987); P. Agee, On the Run (1987); R. Jeffrey-Jones, The CIA and American Democracy (1989); E. Thomas, The Very Best Men: Four Who Dared: The Early Years of the CIA (1996); T. Weiner, Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA (2007).

The Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (DD/CIA) is a senior United States government official in the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. The DD/CIA assists the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (D/CIA) and is authorized to exercise the powers of the D/CIA when the Director’s position is vacant or in the Director’s absence or disability.

The functions of this position were served by the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence (DDCI) until that position was abolished under the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. The position of DD/CIA was created administratively by then-D/CIA Porter Goss and is awaiting statutory approval from the U.S. Congress.

The first DDCI was Kingman Douglass, appointed by the Director of Central Intelligence (now the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency) in 1946. In April 1953, Congress amended the National Security Act to allow the President of the United States to appoint the DDCI (with U.S. Senate confirmation). The amendment stipulated that the Director and Deputy Director positions could not be simultaneously filled by military officers.

Under current law, the Deputy Director is appointed by the D/CIA and is not required to be confirmed by the Senate. The current Deputy Director is Stephen R. Kappes.

List of Deputy Directors of Central Intelligence

Name Appointment Date End of Term
Kingman Douglass 1946 March 1946 July
Vacant 1946 July 1947 January
Edwin Kennedy Wright 1947 January 1949 March
Vacant 1949 March 1950 October
William Harding Jackson 1950 October 1951 August
Allen Welsh Dulles 1951 August 1953 February
Gen Charles Pearre Cabell 1953 April 1962 January
LTG Marshall Sylvester Carter 1962 April 1965 April
Richard McGarrah Helms 1965 April 1966 June
Rufus Lackland Taylor 1966 October 1969 February
Gen Robert Everton Cushman, Jr. 1969 May 1971 December
Vernon Anthony Walters 1972 May 1976 July
Enno Henry Knoche 1976 July 1977 August
John Francis Blake 1974 August 1978 February
Frank Charles Carlucci III 1978 February 1981 February
ADM Bobby Ray Inman 1981 February 1982 June
John Norman McMahon 1982 June 1986 March
Robert Michael Gates 1986 April 1989 March
Richard James Kerr 1989 March 1992 March
ADM William Oliver Studeman 1992 April 1995 July
George John Tenet 1995 July 1997 July
Gen John Alexander Gordon 1997 October 2000 June
John Edward McLaughlin 2000 October 2004 November
Vacant 2004 November 2005 July

Note: The office of Deputy Director of Central Intelligence was separated into the offices of Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence and Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

List of Deputy Directors of the Central Intelligence Agency

Name Appointment Date End of Term
VADM Albert M. Calland 15 July 2005 23 July 2006
Stephen R. Kappes 24 July 2006 Present


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