Cia Essay, Research Paper
The CIA: Protecting Our Nation
Thesis Statement: The Central Intelligence Agency not only evaluates and gathers information about the safety of the country but also directs tasks of other agencies in the intelligence community.
I Creation of the CIA
II Four Directorates
C. Science and Technology
III Dangers to the CIA
B. Covert Actions
A. Security Checks
V Public Relations
B. Acquisition of Information
VI Importance of the CIA
Have you ever wondered what the Central Intelligence Agency(CIA) really does? Most people do not know the importance of this agency in maintaining and securing the safety of our country. The Central Intelligence Agency not only evaluates and gathers information about the safety of the country but also directs tasks of other agencies in the intelligence community.
The birth of the CIA actually occurred because of the surprise bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese in 1941(Tully 8). This attack, which wiped out America?s Pacific fleet, revealed our government?s lack of a single organization to analyze, coordinate, and distribute vital intelligence information(9). Although President Franklin D. Roosevelt started the Office of Strategic Services(OSS), our country?s first national spy agency, Harry S. Truman discontinued it because of governmental lobbyists who insisted that it was not necessary during peacetime(9). However, President Truman, confused by the different intelligence reports, appointed several high-ranking military men as the National Intelligence Authority, which, in turn, became the Central Intelligence Agency(10).
The main purpose of the CIA is to collect and analyze foreign intelligence information essential to the United States security(?Central Intelligence Agency? 254). The CIA also unifies the activities of other important agencies in the intelligence community such as the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency(254). The duties of the Central Intelligence Agency are numerous: engaging in research in military, scientific, and political fields, conducting counterintelligence activities in other countries, checking foreign television and radio broadcasts, taking part in espionage, and most importantly warning the President of the United States and the National Security Council about international occurrences(254).
The four directorates of the CIA include Intelligence, Operations, Science and Technology, and Administration. The Intelligence Directorate examines intelligence that is collected both openly and secretly through spying, satellite pictures, and the blocking of communication(Kessler 99). Perhaps the best-known of the directorates is that of the Directorate of Operations(3). This directorate handles secret operations that include the concealed gathering of intelligence and other secret operations(3). Of the 22,000 employees of the CIA, 5,000 are in this directorate(3). This proud directorate takes the most chances and causes the most trouble for the CIA(3). In addition to the inventing of technological devices, the third directorate, that of Science and Technology, keeps the CIA informed about scientific and technologic improvements(77, 165). The last directorate, that of Administration, oversees the Office of Security that is charged with the safety of personnel, facilities, and other information(132, 165).
The CIA, by its nature, is dangerous due to its enemies and covert actions. In the world today, smaller groups of people can unexpectedly cause more severe ruin more quickly and without being caught(Loeb). The many threats to the CIA are becoming more intricate, serious, and in different natures(Loeb). Thus, the CIA must be well-prepared and quick to take action when necessary. The President alone can call for a covert action which, if approved by the National Security Council, is used when diplomacy is not powerful enough, and military action may be too unreasonable to fulfill the U.S. foreign policy objective(Online). In some instances the CIA may have to undertake an activity in the favor of the foreign policy that the United States Government is not fully aware(Online).
The CIA strictly enforces its policy on matters such as spying on citizens, assassinations, drug trafficking, and terrorism. Contrary to popular belief, the CIA is not allowed to gain foreign information about the domestic actions of American citizens. One exception to this rule is if the CIA believes a person is committing international terrorism or spying. According to Executive Order Number 12333, the CIA can not participate in any way in assassinations. Congress actively oversees and enforces this rule to guarantee cooperation. The Central Intelligence Agency and the United States Government are on the same side attempting to end all drug trafficking. The CIA and the government provide information to the State Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The CIA and the government also stop all terrorism by the acquisition of knowledge on these terrorist groups.(Online)
The CIA is only as good as its personnel; therefore, the CIA places strict regulations on a candidate?s past history and qualifications. A CIA agent gives up his right of privacy when he enters the agency. The CIA regularly requires an employee to take a lie-detector test either before or after entering the service(Knudson 11). The results of this test are binding, and if the agent fails the test, he is immediately fired(11). The future agent must provide accurate information about himself and his family, and the administration will check out all the facts(8). Among the qualifications of becoming a CIA agent are good personal skills, the ability to learn foreign languages, U.S. citizenship, a knowledge of foreign affairs, outstanding verbal and written communication skills, and a college degree with an excellent academic record(9).
The CIA?s recruiting, rebuilding, and budget have been subject to change. The Central Intelligence Agency has lost at least a fourth of its employees, a fact that hinders its capability of collecting foreign intelligence and its ability to interpret much information. In the late 1980s, the CIA had about 22,000 employees; today, that number is 16,000. However, now the CIA is hiring new candidates for the agency. The CIA has started its greatest recruiting effort for analysts and spies in more than ten years. The CIA is attempting to return to the fundamentals and improve the two most important aspects: spying and analysis of data. The budget of the CIA is classified, but it is thought to be between two billion and three billion dollars. Congress increased the agency?s budget; this increase is estimated to be between $200 and $300 million.(Loeb)
Criticisms and ethical questions surround the CIA. Frederick Hitz, inspector general of the CIA, has admitted that the CIA did not stop connections with people who were in favor of the Contra program(Stamper). Some secret activities that have raised ethical questions are the CIA?s attempts to kill Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro, and prohibiting of the election of Chile?s Salvador Allenade(?Central Intelligence Agency? 254).
For obvious reasons the CIA is a secretive organization; therefore, it is not able to make public the majority of its information that comes from secret sources. However, sometimes the agency does publish unclassified releases. These reports consist of international, political, and economic information. The CIA has a very limited number of tours of its headquarters near McLean, Va., which are for civic and academic groups only.(Online)
The Central Intelligence Agency is perhaps the most misunderstood and unappreciated security system in the United States, for much of its work is unseen and unpublicized. Without it, however, our country would be more vulnerable to our enemies, and the stability of our government would be seriously jeopardized.
?Central Intelligence Agency.? Academic American Encyclopedia. Volume 4
Kessler, Ronald. Inside the CIA. New York: Pocket Books, 1992.
Knudson, Richard L. The Whole Spy Catalogue. New York: St. Martin?s Press, 1986.
Loeb, Vernon. ?After Dry Spell, CIA?s ?Help Wanted? Sign Is Up Recruiting Effort Largest in 10 Years.? Times-Picayune 28 Nov. 1998, Orleans Edition:A18+.
Online. Internet January 31, 1999
Stamper, John. ?CIA Official Says Agency Hasn?t Always Cut Ties to Drug Dealers As Quickly As It Should Have.? Knight- Ridder/Tribune News Service 16 March 1998.
Tully, Andrew. C.I.A. The Inside Story. New York: William Morrow and Co. Inc., 1962.