Central Intelligence Agency to 2001 (CIA) (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Commonly called the CIA, the Central Intelligence Agency was the main intelligence and counterintelligence organization of the United States government. Created in 1947, the CIA was a scion of the World War II (1939-1945) Office of Strategic Services (OSS), an organization that sought to link the uncoordinated intelligence strands of the army, navy, and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The framework upon which nearly all U.S. intelligence activity is based, the CIA assumes numerous roles. It routinely monitors and analyzes foreign radio and telephone transmissions, satellite surveillance photographs, and other products of communication technology. The resultant data are usually distributed to pertinent government agencies in the form of bulletins, reports, or surveys. The CIA is also adept at espionage, or the clandestine gathering of intelligence. Its covert operations have produced the most controversy—especially the Bay of Pigs Invasion (1961), a disastrous expedition undertaken by CIA-backed Cuban dissidents. Unlike its counterpart in the now-defunct Soviet Union, the KGB, the CIA was limited to intelligence activity on foreign soil.
The structure of the CIA was called into question after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. Significant changes were suggested by the commission that investigated the incident regarding all U.S. intelligence gathering agenies.
(The entire section is 203 words.)
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