Believe it or not...

the CIA answers questions

(from the CIA's Factbook on Intelligence)


What is so distinctive about the Central Intelligence Agency?

The CIA is purely a foreign intelligence organization and has no domestic security or law enforcement duties. The Agency's activities are governed by various statutes and Executive Orders and are overseen by Congressional Committees and executive bodies.


Who works for the Central Intelligence Agency?

CIA carefully selects well-qualified people in nearly all fields of study. Scientists, engineers, economists, linguists, mathematicians, secretaries, and computer specialists are but a few of the disciplines continually in demand. Some are specialists-physical and social scientists, doctors of medicine, lawyers, etc. Many are generalists, people who have demonstrated their qualifications to hold the many varied positions that make up the bulk of the domestic and overseas staffs. The Agency promotes equal employment opportunity for all employees including women, members of minority groups and individuals with disabilities.


How many people work for the Central Intelligence Agency and what is its budget?

Neither the number of employees nor the size of the Agency's budget can at present be publicly disclosed. A common misconception is that the Agency has an unlimited budget, which is far from true. While classified, the budget and size of the CIA are known in detail and scrutinized daily by the Office of Management and Budget and by the Intelligence Oversight and Defense Subcommittees of the Appropriations Committees in both houses of Congress. The resources allocated to intelligence are subject to the same rigorous examination and approval process as are all other government organizations.


Does the Central Intelligence Agency give tours of its headquarters buildings?

No. Logistical problems and security considerations prevent public tours.


Does the Central Intelligence Agency release publications to the public?

CIA occasionally issues unclassified publications which provide additional research aids to the academic and business communities. The majority of these reports contain foreign or international economic and political information or are directories of foreign officials. They are available from the Government Printing Office, the National Technical Information Service, and the Library of Congress. CIA cannot, however, release most of its reports because they are derived from sensitive sources. For additional information, contact the Office of Public and Agency Information, Central Intelligence Agency, Washington, D.C. 20505; (703) 351-2053.


Does the CIA spy on Americans? Does it keep a file on me?

No. The Central Intelligence Agency is expressly prohibited by Executive Order from routinely engaging in the domestic use of such techniques as electronic, mail, or physical surveillance; monitoring devices; or unconsented physical search. Such intrusion into the lives of Americans by any Government agency could take place only under the most extraordinary conditions of concern for the national welfare and, even then, only when approved by the Attorney General. Similarly, CIA does not maintain files on American citizens. Names of U.S. citizens may appear in various records as a consequence of routine business they conduct with the CIA, but they are in no way segregated for surveillance or special attention. Any citizen has the right to confirm this fact under the authority of the Privacy Act.


Who decides when CIA should participate in covert actions, and why?

Only the President can direct CIA to undertake a covert action. Such actions usually are recommended by the National Security Council. Covert actions are considered when the National Security Council judges that U.S. foreign policy objectives may not be fully realized by normal diplomatic means and when military action is deemed too extreme an option. Therefore, the Agency may be directed to conduct a special activity abroad in support of foreign policy such that the role of the U.S. Government is neither apparent nor publicly acknowledged. Once tasked, the Director of Central Intelligence must notify the intelligence oversight commit tees of the Congress.


Does the Central Intelligence Agency engage in assassinations?

Executive Order No. 12333 explicitly prohibits the Central Intelligence Agency from engaging, either directly or indirectly, in assassinations. Internal safeguards and the Congressional oversight process assure compliance.


Does the Central Intelligence Agency engage in drug trafficking?

No. To the contrary, the Central Intelligence Agency assists the U.S. Government effort to thwart drug trafficking by providing intelligence information to the Department of Commerce, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the State Department.


What is the Central Intelligence Agency's role in combating international terrorism?

The Central Intelligence Agency supports the overall U.S. Government effort to combat international terrorism by collecting, analyzing, and disseminating intelligence on foreign terrorist groups and individuals. It also conducts liaison with the intelligence and security services of friendly governments, shares counterterrorism intelligence information with, and, on request, provides advice and training to these services. The Agency's counterterrorism specialists participate actively in developing strategies aimed at combating terrorism, and intelligence resources worldwide provide significant support to U.S. efforts to solve this grave problem.


CIA and Third World