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Directors of the Central Intelligence Agency: Fun Facts

Which director had the longest tenure? In which state were the most directors born? Here, you will have a chance to learn fun facts about the individuals who have served as leaders to the CIA and the Intelligence Community.


Home Sweet Home

The 21 Directors of Central Intelligence (DCI) and Directors of the Central Intelligence Agency (DCIA) hail from 14 different states. New York is the birthplace of the most DCIs/DCIAs, including:

  • Allen W. Dulles
  • James R. Schlesinger
  • William J. Casey
  • George J. Tenet


Academic Excellence

Before leading the CIA, the DCIs/DCIAs had strong academic records. DCIs/DCIAs attended 22 different colleges, universities, and graduate or professional schools. Yale, Amherst, and the Naval Academy were the most popular schools among the DCIs/DCIAs.

  • Yale – George H.W. Bush, R. James Woolsey, Porter J. Goss
  • Amherst – Stansfield Turner, William H. Webster, John M. Deutch
  • Naval Academy – Turner, Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter, William F. Raborn, Jr.


Some of DCIs/DCIAs also earned a doctorate:

  • Schlesinger - economics at Harvard University
  • Robert M. Gates - Russian and Soviet history from Georgetown University
  • Deutch - chemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Serving the Nation

DCIs/DCIAs have served in all three branches of government (executive, legislative, and judicial) and three of the five military services (Army, Navy and Air Force). The U.S. Navy boasts the most DCIs/DCIAs with eight:

  • Sidney Souers
  • Hillenkoetter
  • Raborn
  • Richard M. Helms
  • Bush
  • Turner
  • Casey
  • Webster


Intelligence Alumni

Some of the directors had a career in the CIA and/or its predecessor — the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) — before they became DCI/DCIA:

  • Casey previously served in the OSS
  • Gates and Goss both worked at the CIA, as an intelligence officer and a clandestine service officer, respectively
  • Dulles, Helms, and William E. Colby worked in both the OSS and the CIA


Tenure Records

The length of tenure has varied greatly among DCIs/DCIAs over the years.

  • Longest tenure: Dulles with eight years and 10 months
  • Shortest tenure: Souers with 4 1/2 months


Pre-CIA Careers

Before becoming DCI/DCIA, some directors had very interesting jobs:

  • Ambassador to the Soviet Union – Walter Bedell Smith
  • Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation – Webster
  • Director of the National Security Agency – Michael V. Hayden
  • Member of Congress – Leon E. Panetta


Post-CIA Careers

After serving as DCI/DCIA, some directors went on to work in some exciting new positions:

  • U.S. vice president and president – Bush
  • Cabinet secretaries:
    • Schlesinger – Secretary of Defense and Secretary of Energy
    • Gates – Secretary of Defense
  • Ambassador to Iran – Helms


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Posted: Nov 12, 2010 01:11 PM
Last Updated: Apr 30, 2013 12:41 PM