The Central Intelligence Agency was created in 1947 with the signing of the National Security Act by President Harry S. Truman. The act also created a Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) to serve as head of the United States intelligence community; act as the principal adviser to the President for intelligence matters related to the national security; and serve as head of the Central Intelligence Agency. The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 amended the National Security Act to provide for a Director of National Intelligence who would assume some of the roles formerly fulfilled by the DCI, with a separate Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
The Director of the Central Intelligence Agency serves as the head of the Central Intelligence Agency and reports to the Director of National Intelligence. The CIA director's responsibilities include:
- Collecting intelligence through human sources and by other appropriate means, except that he shall have no police, subpoena, or law enforcement powers or internal security functions;
- Correlating and evaluating intelligence related to the national security and providing appropriate dissemination of such intelligence;
- Providing overall direction for and coordination of the collection of national intelligence outside the United States through human sources by elements of the Intelligence Community authorized to undertake such collection and, in coordination with other departments, agencies, or elements of the United States Government which are authorized to undertake such collection, ensuring that the most effective use is made of resources and that appropriate account is taken of the risks to the United States and those involved in such collection; and
- Performing such other functions and duties related to intelligence affecting the national security as the President or the Director of National Intelligence may direct.
The function of the Central Intelligence Agency is to assist the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency in carrying out the responsibilities outlined above.
To accomplish its mission, the CIA engages in research, development, and deployment of high-leverage technology for intelligence purposes. As a separate agency, CIA serves as an independent source of analysis on topics of concern and also works closely with the other organizations in the Intelligence Community to ensure that the intelligence consumer—whether Washington policymaker or battlefield commander—receives the best intelligence possible.
As changing global realities have reordered the national security agenda, CIA has met these challenges by:
- Creating special, multidisciplinary centers to address such high-priority issues such as nonproliferation, counterterrorism, counterintelligence, international organized crime and narcotics trafficking, environment, and arms control intelligence.
- Forging stronger partnerships between the several intelligence collection disciplines and all-source analysis.
- Taking an active part in Intelligence Community analytical efforts and producing all-source analysis on the full range of topics that affect national security.
- Contributing to the effectiveness of the overall Intelligence Community by managing services of common concern in imagery analysis and open-source collection and participating in partnerships with other intelligence agencies in the areas of research and development and technical collection.
By emphasizing adaptability in its approach to intelligence collection, the CIA can tailor its support to key intelligence consumers and help them meet their needs as they face the issues of the post-Cold War World.