The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is an intelligence gathering agency located in the United States of America. The CIA is the first source for a variety of American intelligence. Agents of the organization work all over the world to monitor situations of interest to the United States Government, from political unrest to environmental hazards. The CIA is an independent agency, not affiliated with any other American intelligence agency, with a Director who reports directly to the President.
Slight changes in the organization of the CIA occurred after passage of the USA Patriot Act in 2001, which mandated reorganization of American intelligence gathering to allow greater inter-agency cooperation. Under the Patriot Act, the Director of the CIA reports to a national Director of Intelligence, to facilitate communication between intelligence agencies and promote the free exchange of information between them.
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The CIA often works in conjunction with other intelligence agencies, including the National Security Agency (NSA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and others. The CIA is considered the foremost international intelligence gathering agency, coordinating efforts between agents all over the globe. The CIA is not responsible for internal American security, although it may provide information to other agencies to increase domestic security.
The CIA was founded in 1947 by President Harry Truman, who signed the National Security Act. The CIA initially begun as the Berlin Operations Base, or BOB, during the Second World War. The BOB coordinated European intelligence efforts and reported the information to the United States and other Allied powers. At the end of the war, the BOB became the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), which later morphed into the CIA.
According to the CIA's mission statement, the agency gathers intelligence and takes action in an effort to preserve the security and values of the United States. In addition to collecting intelligence, the CIA participates in covert actions all over the world. The CIA has been linked with several questionable political actions, including the Bay of Pigs invasion, the coup in Iran, and the rapid destabilization of several South American countries.
After the terrorist attacks on the United States n 2001, the role of the CIA changed dramatically. The Agency had fallen into disorganization after the end of the Cold War, and faced major policy changes in the twenty first century. These changes began with making significant alterations in staffing, Agency policies, and the legislation which governed intelligence gathering in the United States. The Executive and Legislative branches of government hoped that this would build a stronger, more flexible, and more effective agency, better able to meet the challenges faced by the United States.