The CIA's Office of Inspector General (OIG) had its origin in the Central Intelligence Group, but the position of Inspector General (IG) more closely related to the one we know today was established on 1 January 1952. By March 1953, the OIG mission was defined, and the IG was charged with conducting investigations throughout the Agency on behalf of the then Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) and with inspecting the performance of missions and exercise of functions of all CIA offices and personnel. In May 1962, the positions of Chief of the Inspection Staff and Chief of the Audit Staff were established, although the former was often handled as a concurrent duty of the Deputy IG. The Investigations Staff was originally established as the OIG's Grievance Group in November 1977.
The Statutory Inspector General was created in November 1989. In its report on the legislation that created the statutory IG for CIA, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence said the purpose was to improve the office's status within the Agency; to enhance its autonomy and capabilities, thereby improving the objectivity and effectiveness of its performance; and to improve congressional oversight of the CIA's activities. The IG is required by law to:
- Conduct, supervise, and coordinate audits, inspections, and investigations, relating to the programs and operations of the CIA to ensure that such programs and operations are conducted efficiently and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.
- Keep the Director of the CIA (D/CIA) fully and currently informed concerning violations of law and regulations, fraud, and other serious problems, abuses, and deficiencies that may occur in CIA programs and operations, and to report the progress made in implementing corrective action.
- Take due regard for the protection of intelligence sources and methods in the preparation of IG reports.
- Provide a semiannual report to the D/CIA summarizing the activities of the OIG.
- Report immediately to the D/CIA any particularly serious or flagrant abuses, problems, or deficiencies relating to the administration of CIA programs or operations.