Definitions

intelligence-agency

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

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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An intelligence agency is a governmental agency that is devoted to the information gathering (known in the context as "intelligence") for purposes of national security and defense. Means of information gathering may include espionage, communication interception, cryptanalysis, cooperation with other institutions, and evaluation of public sources. The assembly and propagation of this information is known as intelligence analysis. Intelligence agencies can provide the following services for their national governments.

  • provide analysis in areas relevant to national security;
  • give early warning of impending crises;
  • serve national and international crisis management by helping to discern the intentions of current or potential opponents;
  • inform national defense planning and military operations;
  • protect secrets, both of their own sources and activities, and those of other state agencies; and
  • may act covertly to influence the outcome of events in favor of national interests

Intelligence agencies are also involved in defensive activities such as counter-espionage or counter-terrorism.

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.

See also

Further reading

books

  • Encyclopedia of espionage, intelligence, and security, hrg. von K. Lee Lerner und Brenda Wilmoth Lerner, 3 Bände, Detroit [u.a.] : Gale [u.a.], 2004
  • Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones, Cloak and Dollar: A History of American Secret Intelligence, Yale University Press, 2002
  • Richard C. S. Trahair, Encyclopedia of Cold War espionage, spies, and secret operations, Westport, Conn. [u.a.] : Greenwood Press, 2004
  • Amy B. Zegart, Flawed by design : the evolution of the CIA, JCS, and NSC, Stanford, Calif. : Stanford Univ. Press, 1999

journals

  • The journal of intelligence history

External links

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