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About CIA

Our mission is straightforward but critical: leverage the power of information to keep our Nation safe.

Black and white CIA seal.
The CIA seal features several symbols: an eagle for alertness, a shield for defense, and a compass rose for global intelligence collection.

We are the Nation’s first line of defense. We accomplish what others cannot accomplish and go where others cannot go.

The About glyph

What is CIA?

The CIA is a U.S. government agency that provides objective intelligence on foreign countries and global issues to the president, the National Security Council, and other policymakers to help them make national security decisions.

U.S. flag hanging in front of large windows in the CIA headquarters

What We Do

To stop threats before they happen and further U.S. national security objectives, we:

  • Collect foreign intelligence;
  • Produce objective analysis; and
  • Conduct covert action, as directed by the president.

We do not make policy or policy recommendations. Instead, our Agency serves as an independent source of information for people who do.

We are not a law enforcement organization. However, we do work with the Intelligence Community, Department of Defense, and law enforcement agencies on many complex issues ranging from counterintelligence to counterterrorism.

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How We Do It

To meet the intelligence needs of today and tomorrow, we:

  • Lead specialized, multidisciplinary Mission Centers to address high-priority issues including nonproliferation, counterterrorism, counterintelligence, organized crime, narcotics trafficking, and arms control, to name a few;
  • Build strong partnerships between intelligence collection disciplines;
  • Produce all-source analysis on a range of topics and participate in Intelligence Community-wide efforts; and
  • Contribute to the greater Intelligence Community by managing services of common concern, like imagery analysis and open-source collection, while partnering on technical research and development.
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Our Mission and Vision

As our world rapidly changes, so does our national security agenda. Through it all, our mission stays the same: to protect the Nation and advance its national security interests. Our guiding principles, aspirations, and core values keep us on course as we take on this extraordinary task.

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Our Organization

Our Agency is made up of multidisciplinary Mission Centers that integrate the full range of our analytic, operational, support, technical, and digital capabilities. These disciplines are divided into five corresponding directorates.

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Our Leadership

William J. Burns was officially sworn-in on March 19, 2021.

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DCIA William Burns portrait with both American and CIA flags in background.

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News and Stories

Your Talent. Your Diverse Skills. Our Mission.

Make a difference in your career. We’re looking for students, recent graduates, and professionals to join our team. Explore our world and imagine yourself working at the Nation’s premier intelligence agency.

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