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About the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

What are the legal duties of the CIA


The Central Intelligence Agency collects, evaluates, and disseminates vital information on political, military, economic, scientific, and other developments abroad needed to safeguard national security.

The Central Intelligence Agency was established under the National Security Council by the National Security Act of 1947, as amended (50 U.S.C. 401 et seq.). It now functions under that statute, Executive Order 12333 of December 4, 1981, and other laws, regulations, and directives.

The Director of Central Intelligence heads both the Intelligence Community and the Central Intelligence Agency and is the President's principal adviser on intelligence matters. The Director and Deputy Director of Central Intelligence are appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate.

The Central Intelligence Agency, under the direction of the President or the National Security Council:

  • advises the National Security Council in matters concerning such intelligence activities of the Government departments and agencies as relate to national security;

  • makes recommendations to the National Security Council for the coordination of such intelligence activities of the departments and agencies of the Government as relate to the national security;

  • correlates and evaluates intelligence relating to the national security and provides for the appropriate dissemination of such intelligence within the Government;

  • collects, produces, and disseminates counterintelligence and foreign intelligence, including information not otherwise obtainable. The collection of counterintelligence or foreign intelligence within the United States shall be coordinated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as required by procedures agreed upon by the Director of Central Intelligence and the Attorney General;

  • collects, produces, and disseminates intelligence on foreign aspects of narcotics production and trafficking;

  • conducts counterintelligence activities outside the United States and, without assuming or performing any internal security functions, conducts counterintelligence activities within the United States in coordination with the FBI as required by procedures agreed upon by the Director of Central Intelligence and the Attorney General;

  • coordinates counterintelligence activities and the collection of information not otherwise obtainable when conducted outside the United States by other departments and agencies;

  • conducts special activities approved by the President. No agency, except the Central Intelligence Agency (or the Armed Forces of the United States in time of war declared by Congress or during any period covered by a report from the President to the Congress under the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1541 et seq.)), may conduct any special activity unless the President determines that another agency is more likely to achieve a particular objective;

  • carries out or contracts for research, development, and procurement of technical systems and devices relating to authorized functions;

  • protects the security of its installations, activities, information, property, and employees by appropriate means, including such investigations of applicants, employees, contractors, and other persons with similar associations with the Agency, as are necessary;

  • collects, produces, and disseminates military intelligence to military commands to enhance battlefield awareness;

  • conducts such administrative and technical support activities within and outside the United States as are necessary to perform its functions, including procurement and essential cover and proprietary arrangements; and

  • performs such other functions and duties relating to intelligence that affect the national security as the National Security Council may from time to time direct. The Agency has no police, subpoena, or law enforcement powers or internal security functions.

    For further information, contact the Central Intelligence Agency, Washington, DC 20505. Phone, 703-482-1100. Internet, www.cia.gov.

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