What Does the CIA Do?


Quick Answer

The Central Intelligence Agency, or CIA, is responsible for collecting, evaluating and dispersing intelligence to help the president and higher-level government officials make decisions about national security. The agency is not responsible for making policy.

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Full Answer

The information that is collected from the CIA is considered to be independent. In order to ascertain the information that is needed by government officials, the CIA might use covert actions. The individuals who work for the agency come from a wide range of fields including engineering, mathematics and accounting. A large share of the work performed by the agency consists of researching. The materials collected are evaluated and placed in written reports that are given to the appropriate government officials.

Certain aspects of the CIA are hidden from the public. The number of employees and the amount of funding it receives are all considered classified information. The budget is overseen by committees in Congress and the Office of Management and Budget. Documentation from the CIA is released annually. The information that the agency releases is usually of the historical sort. When CIA agents are dispersed on covert missions, the role of the United States government should not be apparent nor acknowledged. The president is the only person who can direct the agency to complete a covert action.

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