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Terrorism FAQs

  • Has the CIA ever provided funding, training, or other support to Usama Bin Laden?>
  • No. Numerous comments in the media recently have reiterated a widely circulated but incorrect notion that the CIA once had a relationship with Usama Bin Laden. For the record, you should know that the CIA never employed, paid, or maintained any relationship whatsoever with Bin Laden.

  • Aren't there restrictions on CIA's recruitment of criminals and other unsavory characters?
  • The CIA has not been constrained from recruiting individuals with unsavory backgrounds.

    Whereas previous guidelines simply required field officers to obtain prior CIA Headquarters approval before establishing a relationship with an individual who has committed serious crimes, human rights abuses, or other repugnant acts, those guidelines have been changed to allow field officers greater latitude in making such decisions.

    CIA officers may now establish a relationship with such individuals without seeking prior CIA Headquarters approval, where there is a reasonable likelihood that those individuals have access to threat information of importance to the United States or its allies. Authority to approve the establishment of such relationships has been delegated to CIA field managers, but provisions to keep CIA Headquarters informed of such decisions remain in effect.

    The greatest challenge is to penetrate the terrorist networks themselves. This effort requires an extensive analytic effort to understand shadowy terrorist organizations, train CIA officers in their language, deploy them among their culture, and support them in the dangerous and enormously difficult mission of penetrating these groups. These challenges are the focus of our efforts.

  • How do you define terrorism?
  • The Intelligence Community is guided by the definition of terrorism contained in Title 22 of the US Code, Section 2656f(d):

    • The term "terrorism" means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents.
    • The term “international terrorism” means terrorism involving the territory or the citizens of more than one country.
    • The term “terrorist group” means any group that practices, or has significant subgroups that practice, international terrorism.

Posted: Apr 06, 2007 05:00 PM
Last Updated: Apr 19, 2013 12:29 PM