History

The Directorate of Intelligence (DI) was established in 1952 to help the president and other policymakers make informed decisions about our country’s national security. DI analysts look at all the available information on an issue and organize it for policymakers to give them more ideas on how to think about it.

The grist for the analysts’ mill is a mix of often incomplete and frequently contradictory fragments of information collected around—and above—the world. From a near-void on vital topics during the early years to an overwhelming volume today, the information has come from a variety of sources and methods, including U.S. personnel overseas as well as agent reports, satellite photography, foreign media, and sophisticated sensors.

Over the years, the DI has covered crises and confrontations, identified trends, and illuminated issues. It has produced timely information and insights available nowhere else and put them into the right hands. In so doing, it informed the decisionmaking that kept the Cold War from becoming a hot war, and it now plays a vital role in waging the global war against terrorism.

Visit our timeline of DI events* on the full site.

*Link will take you to the full website.