The CIA is one of the U.S. foreign inteligency agencies, responsible for getting and analyzing information about foreign government, corporations, individuals, and reporting such information to the various branches of the U.S. government. The State Department's Bureau or intelligence and reserch and theDefense Department'sdefense intelligence agency comprise the other two. Its headquarters is inLangley, Virginia, across the Potomac River from D.C. The Agency, created in 1947 by President Harry S. Trueman, is a descendant of the Office of stratigic Services(OSS) of World War 2. The OSS was dissolved in October 1945 but William J. Jonavan, the creator of the OSS, had submitted a proposal to President Roosevelt in 1944. He called for a new organization having direct Presidential supervision, "which will procure intelligence both by overt and covert methods and will at the same time provide intelligence guidance, determine national intelligence objectives, and correlate the intelligence material collected by all government agencies." Despite strong opposition from the military, the State Department, and the FBI, Truman established the Central Intelligence Group in January 1946. Later under the National Security Act of 1947, the National Security council and the Central Intelligence Agency were established.
In 1949, the Central Inteligence Agency Act (also called "Public Law 110") was passed, permitting the agency to use confidential fiscal and administrative procedures and exempting it from many of the usual limitations on the use of federal funds. The act also exempted the CIA from having to disclose its "organization, functions, officials, titles, salaries, or numbers of personnel employed." It also created a program called "PL-110" to handle defectors and other "essential aliens" outside normal immigration procedures, as well as give those persons cover stories and economic support. The Central Intelligence Agency reports to U.S. Congressional committees but also answers to the President directly. The National Security Advisor is a permanent cabinet member responsible for briefing the President on pertinent information collected from all U.S. intelligence agencies including the National Security Agency, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and others. Some critics have charged that this violates the requirement in the U.S. Constitution that theFederal Budget be openly published. In 1988, President Goerge H.W. Bush became the first former head of the CIA to become President of the United States.
The activities of the CIA are largely undisclosed. It undoubtedly makes use of the surveillance Sattelites of theNational Recconasonsse Office (NRO) and the signal interception capabilities of the NSA, including the Echelon system, and the surveillance aircraft of the various branches of the US armed forces. At one stage, the CIA even operated its own fleet of U-2 surveillance aircraft. The agency also employs a group of officers with paramilitary skills in its Special Division. Micheal Spaan, a CIA officer killed in November 2001 during the U.S. Invasion of Afghanistan, was one such individual. In its earliest years the CIA attempted to rollback Communism in Eastern Europe by supporting local anti-communist groups; none of these attempts met with much success. It was more successful in its efforts to limit Communist influence in France and Italy, though many believe there was never much of a Communist threat in these nations.
It has now been firmly established that the OSS actively recruited and protected many high ranking Nazi officers immediately following World War 2, a policy that was carried on by the CIA. These included, the CIA now admits, the notorious "butcher of Lyon" Klaus Barbi, Hitler's Chief of Soviet Intelligence General Reinhard Gehlen, and numerous less-renowned Gestapo officers. General Gehlen, due to his extensive intelligence assets within the Soviet Union, was allowed to keep...