Principal intelligence and counterintelligence agency of the U.S., established in 1947 as a successor to the World War II-era Office of Strategic Services. The law limits its activities to foreign countries; it is prohibited from gathering intelligence on U.S. soil, which is a responsibility of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Officially a part of the U.S. Defense Department, it is responsible for preparing analyses for the National Security Council. Its budget is kept secret. Though intelligence gathering is its chief occupation, the CIA has also been involved in many covert operations, including the expulsion of Mohammad Mosaddeq from Iran (1953), the attempted Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba (1961), and support of the Nicaraguan contras in the 1980s.
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Some agencies are accused of being involved in assassination, arms sales, coups d'état, and the placement of misinformation (propaganda) as well as other covert operations, in order to support their own or their governments' interests.