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Central Intelligence Agency

Washington, DC 20505


DIRECTORWilliam J. Burns
Deputy DirectorDavid S. Cohen

Office of Inspector General

Office of Inspector General
Inspector GeneralRobin C. Ashton

The Central Intelligence Agency collects, evaluates, and disseminates vital information on economic, military, political, scientific, and other developments abroad to safeguard national security.


On July 26, 1947, President Harry S. Truman approved Public Law 80–253, which is commonly cited as the National Security Act of 1947 (61 Stat. 495). The Act established the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

The President appoints the Director by the advice and with the consent of the Senate. The Director serves as the head of the CIA and reports to the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) regarding the activities of the Agency.

The "Organization" web page describes the Agency's structure.


The National Security Act has been amended since its enactment in 1947 (50 U.S.C. 3001 et seq.). The CIA now functions under the original Act, as amended; Executive Order 12333 of December 4, 1981; the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004; and other laws, Executive orders, regulations, and directives.

Rules and regulations that are relevant for accessing CIA records are found in 32 CFR 1900.


The CIA uses human source collection and other means to gather intelligence; however, it neither carries out internal security functions nor exercises police, subpoena, or other law enforcement powers. The Agency correlates, evaluates, and disseminates national security intelligence. Outside the United States, beyond the Nation's borders, the CIA directs and coordinates intelligence collecting by U.S. intelligence community elements that are authorized to engage in human source collection.

In coordination with other departments, agencies, and authorized elements of the U.S. Government, the CIA ensures that resources are used effectively and that adequate consideration is given to the risks, both to the United States and to those involved in collecting intelligence abroad. The Agency carries out other intelligence-related tasks that are necessary for safeguarding national security, as the President or the DNI may indicate. Under the direction of the DNI and consistent with section 207 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980, the CIA coordinates relationships between elements of the U.S. intelligence community and the security or intelligence services of foreign governments or international organizations in matters of national security and clandestine intelligence.

Sources of Information

Archived Records

The "Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States" indicates that CIA records have been assigned to record group 263.

Arctic Ocean

From the "Transnational Issues" section, one learns that "record summer melting of sea ice in the Arctic has renewed interest in maritime shipping lanes and sea floor exploration." Growth in maritime traffic and exploration make international disputes over Arctic resources and access to them more likely. For example, Canada and the United States cooperate in their efforts to survey the Arctic continental shelf, but have disagreements over the Beaufort Sea and the Northwest Passage.

Career Opportunities

To carry out its mission, the CIA relies on analysts, attorneys, engineers, graphic designers, foreign language instructors, mechanics and truck drivers, physicians and psychiatrists, and other professionals.

Contact Information

The CIA posts contact information on its website.


The "Environment—current issues" web page lists the most pressing and important environmental problems from around the world.

Federal Register

Documents that the CIA has published in the Federal Register are accessible online.


The "Flags of the World" web page has 249 images and descriptions of flags.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

The FOIA gives a right to obtain access to Federal agency records to any person, except to a fugitive from the law. Some records, or portions of them, are, however, shielded from disclosure by one or more of nine statutory exemptions or by specific harm that disclosure may cause. The CIA shields classified national security information, information relating to intelligence sources and methods, and organizational information from release under the FOIA. An information seeker may submit a FOIA request for records by sending it to the FOIA Requester Service Center, Central Intelligence Agency, Washington, DC 20505. A request also may be submitted by facsimile. Fax, 703-613-3007.

The CIA maintains an electronic reading room.


President Harry S. Truman approved the National Security Act of 1947, creating a permanent central agency for intelligence. His approval was not the beginning of the story: 6 years prior to the formal establishment of the CIA, various renditions of an intelligence agency had occurred. To learn more of the story that underlies today's CIA, visit the "History of the CIA" web page.

The "Intelligence Events Timeline" web page provides convenient access to the leading national archive of declassified intelligence artifacts, culture, and history.


The CIA Labs program conducts multidisciplinary research, development, testing, and engineering to address new challenges; to adapt, improve, or accelerate the production of existing solutions; and to solve scientific and technological problems through innovation.

Language Skills

The Intelligence Language Institute is the premier language school in the U.S. Intelligence Community.


The CIA has posted a collection of 104 country maps on its website.


The CIA Museum's online collection allows visitors to learn more about the Agency through an interactive timeline, historical artifacts, and stories.


The CIA posts press releases, recent events, speeches, and the Ask Molly column on its website. | Email:


The "Publications" web page provides convenient access to material on intelligence history, international relations, the Cold War, and other topics.

Political Parties

The "Political Parties and Leaders" web page provides a listing of significant political parties, coalitions, and electoral lists.

Site Map

The website map allows visitors to look for specific topics or to browse for content that aligns with their interests.

Social Media

The CIA has a Facebook account.

The CIA tweets announcements and other newsworthy items on Twitter.

The CIA posts videos on its YouTube channel.

Spy Kids

The "Spy Kids" website has materials that are suitable for K–5th grade, 6–12th grade, and parents and teachers. The website's main sections are "Games," "Spy Dogs," and "Stories." A spy dog is a member of the CIA's K9 Corps, whose dogs sniff out explosives and protect CIA officers and buildings from bombs and other explosive threats.

Study of Intelligence

The Center for the Study of Intelligence serves as a repository of unclassified intelligence articles, publications, and scholarship.

World Factbook

For over 260 world entities, the CIA posts information on their histories, peoples and societies, governments, economies, energy sources, geographies, communications, modes of transportation, militaries, and transnational issues.