Until April 2005, the DCI also served as de-facto Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and was often referred to colloquially as the "CIA Director." After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States and the subsequent investigation by the 9/11 Commission, a movement grew to re-organize the Intelligence Community. That movement prompted the creation, on April 21, 2005, of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), in whose purview was the job portfolio that had been performed previously by the Director of Central Intelligence. The latter position then ceased to exist.
Porter J. Goss was the 19th and final CIA Director to serve in the position of DCI.
|RADM Sidney Souers, USNR||January 23 1946–June 10 1946|
|LTG Hoyt S. Vandenberg, USA||June 10 1946–May 1 1947|
|RADM Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter, USN||May 1 1947–October 7, 1950|
|GEN Walter Bedell Smith, USA||October 7 1950–February 9 1953|
|Allen W. Dulles||February 26, 1953–November 29, 1961|
|John McCone||November 29 1961–April 28 1965|
|VADM William Raborn, USN (Ret.)||April 28 1965–June 30 1966|
|Richard M. Helms||June 30 1966–February 2 1973|
|James R. Schlesinger||February 2, 1973–July 2 1973|
|William E. Colby||September 4 1973–January 30 1976|
|George H. W. Bush||January 30 1976–January 20 1977|
|ADM Stansfield Turner, USN (Ret.)||March 9 1977–January 20 1981|
|William J. Casey||January 28 1981–January 29 1987|
|William H. Webster||May 26 1987–August 31 1991|
|Robert M. Gates||November 6 1991–January 20 1993|
|R. James Woolsey||February 5 1993–January 10 1995|
|John M. Deutch||May 10 1995–December 15 1996|
|George J. Tenet||July 11 1997–July 11, 2004|
|Porter J. Goss||September 24, 2004–April 21, 2005|
|''Position replaced by Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and Director of National Intelligence.|
Rear Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter was appointed as the first Director of Central Intelligence (i.e., full Director of Central Intelligence). During his tenure, a National Security Council Directive on Office of Special Projects, June 18, 1948 (NSC 10/2) further gave the CIA the authority to carry out covert operations "against hostile foreign states or groups or in support of friendly foreign states or groups but which are so planned and conducted that any US Government responsibility for them is not evident to unauthorized persons." Those operations, however, were initially conducted by other agencies such as the Office of Policy Coordination. See Approval of Clandestine and Covert Operations and Clandestine HUMINT and Covert Action for details of the eventual merger of these operations with the CIA, as well as how the equivalent functions were done in other countries.
In the early 1970s, partially as a result of the Watergate break-ins under President Richard M. Nixon, the United States Congress took a more active role in intelligence agencies, as did independent commissions such as the 1975 United States President's Commission on CIA activities within the United States, also called the Rockefeller Commission after its chairman. Revelations about past CIA activities, such as assassinations and attempted assassinations of foreign leaders, illegal domestic spying on U.S. citizens, drew considerable Congressional oversight that had not been previousy exercised. It was determined, by several investigating committees, that the CIA had given inappropriate assistance to persons affiliated with the White House and the 1972 Nixon reelection campaign. Certain of the individuals involved in the Watergate breakins had worked, in the past, for the CIA. In an audio tape provoking 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" about the Bay Of Pigs of Cuba, and, therefore, that the CIA should tell the FBI to cease investigating the Watergate burglary, due to reasons of "national security".
The ease of Helms's role under President Lyndon Johnson changed with the arrival of President Richard Nixon and Nixon's national security advisor Henry Kissinger. After the debacle of Watergate, from which Helms succeeded in distancing the CIA as far as possible, the Agency came under much tighter Congressional control. Nixon, however, considered Helms to be disloyal, and fired him as DCI in 1973. Helms was the only DCI convicted for irregularities in office; his autobiography describes his reactions to the charges
He commissioned reports — known as the "Family Jewels" — on illegal activities by the Agency.
Congress responded to the "Family Jewels" in 1975, investigating the CIA in the Senate via the Church Committee, chaired by Senator Frank Church (D-Idaho), and in the House of Representatives via the Pike Committee, chaired by Congressman Otis Pike (D-NY). President Gerald Ford created the aforementioned Rockefeller Commission, and issued an Executive Order prohibiting the assassination of foreign leaders.
Colby's tenure as DCI congressional investigations into alleged U.S. intelligence malfeasance over the preceding twenty-five years. Colby cooperated, not out of a desire for major reforms, but in the belief that the actual scope of such misdeeds was not great enough to cause lasting damage to the CIA's reputation. He believed that cooperating with Congress was the only way to save the Agency from dissolution. Colby also believed that the CIA had a moral obligation to cooperate with the Congress and demonstrate that the CIA was accountable to the Constitution. This caused a major rift within the CIA ranks, with many old-line officers such as former DCI Richard Helms believing that the CIA should have resisted congressional intrusion.
Colby's time as DCI was also eventful on the world stage. Shortly after he assumed leadership, the Yom Kippur War broke out, an event that surprised not only the American intelligence agencies but also the Israelis. This intelligence surprise reportedly affected Colby's credibility with the Nixon Administration. Meanwhile, after many years of involvement, South Vietnam fell to Communist forces in April 1975, a particularly difficult blow for Colby, who had dedicated so much of his life and career to the American effort there. Events in the arms control field, Angola, the Middle East, and elsewhere also demanded attention.
William Colby's death, officially in a boating accident, happened on the same date when a New York prosecutor got permission to set up a grand jury to investigate the role of the CIA in the death of Frank Olson who worked at Fort Detrick, Maryland and was involved in chemical warfare research. Frank Olson was one of the experimental subjects in the CIA MKULTRA experiments with LSD and other drugs. He did not give informed consent for the CIA to experiment on him, as would be ethically required under the medical research principles of the Declaration of Helsinki. The CIA claimed that he committed suicide by jumping out of a hotel window but the family did not believe this explanation. An autopsy of the remains of Frank Olson had found blunt force trauma to the head, which might have come from the fall, or been inflicted before the fall. The Olson matter remains unresolved and continues to arise in reviews of questionable activities.
Bush served in this role for 355 days, from January 30, 1976 to January 20, 1977. The CIA had been rocked by a series of revelations, including disclosures based on investigations by the Senate's Church Committee, about the CIA's illegal and unauthorized activities, and Bush was credited with helping to restore the agency's morale. On February 18, 1976, President Ford issued Executive Order 11905, which established policy guidelines and restrictions for individual intelligence agencies, and clarified intelligence authorities and responsibilities. Bush was given 90 days to implement the new order, which called for a major reorganization of the Intelligence Community and firmly stated that intelligence activities could not be directed against U.S. citizens. In his capacity as DCI, Bush gave national security briefings to Jimmy Carter both as a Presidential candidate and as President-elect, and discussed the possibility of remaining in that position in a Carter administration.
During Turner's term as head of the CIA, he became outraged when former agent Frank Snepp published a book called Decent Interval which exposed incompetence among senior American government personnel during the fall of Saigon. accused Snepp of breaking the secrecy agreement required of all CIA agents, and then later was forced to admit under cross-examination that he had never read the agreement signed by Snepp. Regardless, the CIA ultimately won its case against Snepp at the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court forced Snepp to turn over all his profits from Decent Interval and to seek preclearance of any future writings about intelligence work for the rest of his life. The ultimate irony was that the CIA would later rely on the Snepp legal precedent in forcing Turner to seek preclearance of his own memoirs, which were highly critical of President Ronald Reagan's policies. Turner, who was not a lawyer, did not understand the concept of precedent, and did not grasp the broader implications of pushing the U.S. Department of Justice to take an aggressive stance against Snepp.
In the documentary "Secrets of the CIA" Admiral Turner commented the MK ULTRA project.
"It came to my attention early in my ten years as director, and I felt it was a warning sign that if your not alert, things can go wrong in this organisation."
Casey oversaw the re-expansion of the Intelligence Community, in particular the CIA, to funding and human resource levels greater than those before resource cuts during the Carter Administration. During his tenure restrictions were lifted on the use of the CIA to directly, covertly influence the internal and foreign affairs of countries relevant to American policy.
This period of the Cold War saw an increase of the Agency's anti-Soviet activities around the world. Notably he oversaw covert assistance to the mujahadeen resistance in Afghanistan, with a budget of over $1 billion by working closely with Akhtar Abdur Rahman (the Director General of ISI in Pakistan), the Solidarity movement in Poland, and a number of coups and attempted coups in South- and Central America.
Hours before Casey was scheduled to testify before Congress about his knowledge of Iran-Contra, he was reported to have been rendered incapable of speech, and was later hospitalized. In his 1987 book, Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, who had interviewed Casey on numerous occasions, said that he had gained entry to Casey's hospital room for a final, four-minute long encounter — a claim that was met with disbelief in many quarters, and adamant denial by Casey's wife, Sofia. According to Woodward, when he asked Casey if he knew about the diversion of funds to the Nicaraguan Contras, "His head jerked up hard. He stared, and finally nodded yes."
The final report of the Independent Counsel for Iran/Contra Matters, issued on August 4, 1993, said that Gates "was close to many figures who played significant roles in the Iran/contra affair and was in a position to have known of their activities. The evidence developed by Independent Counsel did not warrant indictment...
Never once in his two-year tenure did CIA director James Woolsey ever have a one-on-one meeting with Clinton. Even semiprivate meetings were rare. They only happened twice. Woolsey told me: "It wasn't that I had a bad relationship with the president. It just didn't exist."
Another quote about his relationship with Clinton, according to Paula Kaufman of Insight Magazine:
Remember the guy who in 1994 crashed his plane onto the White House lawn? That was me trying to get an appointment to see President Clinton.
David Halberstam notes in War in a Time of Peace that Clinton chose Woolsey for CIA director because the Clinton campaign had courted neoconservatives leading up to the 1992 election, promising to be tougher on Taiwan, Bosnia, and human rights in China, and it was decided that they ought to give at least one neoconservative a job in the administration.
In 1996, the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence issued a congressional report estimating that: "Hundreds of employees on a daily basis are directed to break extremely serious laws in countries around the world in the face of frequently sophisticated efforts by foreign governments to catch them. A safe estimate is that several hundred times every day (easily 100,000 times a year) DO officers engage in highly illegal activities (according to foreign law) that not only risk political embarrassment to the US but also endanger the freedom if not lives of the participating foreign nationals and, more than occasionally, of the clandestine officer himself."
In the same document, the committee wrote, "Considering these facts and recent history, which has shown that the [Director of the Central Intelligence Agency], whether he wants to or not, is held accountable for overseeing the [Clandestine Service], the DCI must work closely with the Director of the CS and hold him fully and directly responsible to him."
Soon after Deutch's departure from the CIA in 1996 it was revealed that classified materials were being kept on several of Deutch's laptop computers designated as unclassified. In January 1997, the CIA began a formal security investigation of the matter. Senior management at CIA declined to fully pursue the security breach. Over two years after his departure, the matter was referred to the Department of Justice, where Attorney General Janet Reno declined prosecution. She did, however, recommend an investigation to determine whether Deutch should retain his security clearance. President Clinton pardoned Deutch on his last day in office.
Tenet embarked on a mission to regenerate the CIA, which had fallen on hard times since the end of the Cold War. The number of agents recruited each year had fallen to an all-time low, a 25-percent decline from the Cold War peak. Tenet appealed to the original mission of the agency, which had been to "prevent another Pearl Harbor". The trick was to see where danger might come from in the post-Cold War world. Tenet focused on potential problems such as "the transformation of Russia and China", "rogue states" like North Korea, Iran and Iraq, and terrorism.
How could [an intelligence] community without a strategic plan tell the president of the United States just four days after 9/11 how to attack the Afghan sanctuary and operate against al-Qa'ida in ninety-two countries around the world?On September 15, 2001. Tenet presented the Worldwide Attack Matrix, a blueprint for what became known as the War On Terror. He proposed firstly to send CIA teams into Afghanistan to collect intelligence on, and mount covert operations against, al-Qaeda and the Taliban. The teams would act jointly with military Special Operations units. "President Bush later praised this proposal, saying it had been a turning point in his thinking.
After the September 11 attacks, many observers criticized the Intelligence Community for numerous "intelligence failures" as one of the major reasons why the attacks were not prevented. In August 2007, a secret report written by the CIA inspector general was made public (originally written in 2005 but kept secret). The 19-page summary states that Tenet knew the dangers of Al Qaeda well before September 2001, but that the leadership of the CIA did not do enough to prevent any attacks. Tenet reacted to the publication of this report by calling it "flat wrong".
Bob Woodward, in his book Plan of Attack, wrote that Tenet privately lent his personal authority to the intelligence reports about weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq. At a meeting on December 12, 2002, he assured Bush that the evidence against Saddam Hussein amounted to a "slam dunk case." After several months of refusing to confirm this statement, Tenet later stated that this remark was taken out of context. (Tenet indicated that the comment was made pursuant to a discussion about how to convince the American people to support invading Iraq, and that, in his opinion, the best way to convince the people would be by explaining the dangers posed by Iraq's WMD i.e., the public relations sale of the war via the WMD, according to Tenet, would be a "slam dunk"). The search following the 2003 invasion of Iraq by U.S., British and international forces yielded no stockpiles of WMDs, however. Tenet and his Director of Operations resigned at approximately the same time, and it was suggested this was in penance over the WMD issue in Iraq.
He served in Congress for 16 years until his appointment as Director of the CIA. While in the House, Goss consistently and emphatically defended the CIA and supported strong budget increases for the Agency, even during a time of tight budgets and Clintonian slashes to other parts of the intelligence budgets. In mid-2004, Goss took a very strong position, during what had already been announced as his last congressional term, urging specific reforms and corrections in the way the CIA carried out its activities, lest it become "just another government bureaucracy."
After growing pressure, Congress established the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001, a joint inquiry of the two intelligence committees, led by Graham and Goss. Goss and Graham made it clear that their goal was not to identify specific wrongdoing: Graham said the inquiry would not play "the blame game about what went wrong from an intelligence perspective,", and Goss said, "This is not a who-shall-we-hang type of investigation. It is about where are the gaps in America's defense and what do we do about it type of investigation. The inquiry's final report was released in December 2002 and focused entirely on the CIA and FBI's activities, including no information on the White House's activities. Ray McGovern, a 27-year veteran of the CIA and a frequent commentator on intelligence issues, believed the report showed that Goss gave "clear priority to providing political protection for the president" when conducting the inquiry. Goss chiefly blamed President Bill Clinton for the recent CIA failures. He confided in a reporter: "The one thing I lose sleep about is thinking what could I have done better, how could I have gotten more attention on this problem sooner." When asked whether he ever brought up his concerns with the administration, Goss claimed he had met three times with Clinton to discuss "certain problems". The upshot? "He was patient and we had an interesting conversation but it was quite clear he didn’t value the intelligence community to the degree President Bush does."
Goss was nominated to become the new director on August 10,2004. The appointment was challenged by some prominent Democrats). Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV), vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, expressed concerns that Goss was too politically partisan, given his public remarks against Democrats while serving as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Another Democratic member of the committee, Ron Wyden (D-OR), expressed concerns that given Goss's history within and ties to the CIA, he would be too disinclined to push for institutional change. In an interview carried out by Michael Moore's production company on March 3, 2004, Goss described himself as "probably not qualified" for a job within the CIA, because the language skills the Agency now seeks are not languages he speaks and because the people applying today for positions within the CIA's four directorates have such keen technical and analytic skills, which he did not have when he applied to the Agency in the early 60s.
He brought with him five personal staff that were to implement change that became unpopular with CIA professionals. Steve Kappes — the Director of Operations — and his subordinates including Michael Sulick, Kappes' then-deputy. Although Kappes came back to a responsible position, it has been reported that he quit the Agency rather than carry out a request by Goss to reassign Michael Sulick. Following Goss's departure, both Kappas and Sulick have returned to positions of higher authority in the U.S. Intelligence Community. Kappas is the Deputy Director of the CIA and Sulick was appointed Director of the National Clandestine Service on September 14, 2007.
Speculations on the reason for his departure include a desire to have military agency heads, or, perhaps more likely,
For many analysts, Goss' departure was inevitable, given the widespread perception that the White House had lost confidence in his ability to reorganise the CIA. Goss' departure appears to have been due, at least in part, to his repeated clashes with John Negroponte who was appointed in 2005 as the US Director of National Intelligence, a new post created to co-ordinate all 16 of the US intelligence agencies in the aftermath of the Al-Qaeda attacks.
A claim that the black sites existed was made by The Washington Post in November 2005 and before by human rights NGOs. US President George W. Bush acknowledged the existence of secret prisons operated by the CIA during a speech on September 6, 2006.
Michael Hayden is the current Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, as distinct from the Director of Central Intelligence. The overall responsibility for intelligence community coordination now rests with the Director of National Intelligence, currently John Michael McConnell; the position of Director of Central Intelligence has been abolished.
The first collection, the "Family Jewels," consists of almost 700 pages of responses from CIA employees to a 1973 directive from Director of Central Intelligence James Schlesinger requesting information about activities inconsistent with the Agency's charter.
The second collection, the CAESAR-POLO-ESAU papers, consists of 147 documents and 11,000 pages of research from 1953 to 1973 relating to Soviet and Chinese leadership hierarchies, and Sino-Soviet relations.