Thursday, July 16, 2009
Central Intelligence Agency
Official Seal of the CIA
September 18, 1947
Central Intelligence Group
Langley, Virginia (McLean, Virginia) United States 38°57′06″N 77°08′48″W / 38.951796°N 77.146586°W / 38.951796; -77.146586
$26.7 billion in 1998
Leon Panetta, Director Stephen Kappes, Deputy Director Scott White, Associate Deputy Director
The entrance of the CIA Headquarters
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is the successor of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) formed, during World War II, to coordinate espionage activities between the branches of the US military services. The National Security Act of 1947 established the CIA, affording it "no police or law enforcement functions, either at home or abroad." One year later his mandate was expanded to include “sabotage, anti-sabotage, demolition and evacuation measures…. Subversion (and) assistance to underground resistance movements, guerrillas and refugee liberation movements, and support of indigenous anti-communist elements in threatened countries of the free world” 
Today, the CIA's primary function is collecting, and analyzing information about foreign governments, corporations, and individuals which it uses to advise public policymakers. The agency conducts covert operations, paramilitary actions and exerts foreign political influence through its Special Activities Division. Prior to December 2004, the CIA was literally the central intelligence organization for the US government, charged with coordinating and overseeing not only its own activities, but also the activities of the intelligence community as a whole. The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 created the office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), who took over some of the government and intelligence community (IC)-wide functions that had previously been the CIA's. The DNI manages the United States Intelligence Community and in so doing it manages the intelligence cycle. Among the functions that moved to the DNI were the preparation of estimates reflecting the consolidated opinion of the 16 IC agencies, and preparation of briefings for the president.
2004 was a critical year in the history of the CIA, as there is a marked difference between the agency as it was during the period that it bore IC-wide responsibilities, and the agency as it is today, given its present set of responsibilities. The IC still has internal politics, although an increasing number of interagency "centers", as well as the Intellipedia information sharing mechanism, are hoped to improve cooperation between each member.
The current CIA still has a number of functions in common with other countries' intelligence agencies; see relationships with foreign intelligence agencies. The CIA's headquarters is in Langley in Fairfax County, Virginia, a few miles west of Washington, D.C. along the Potomac River.
Sometimes, the CIA is referred to euphemistically in government and military parlance as Other Government Agencies (OGA), particularly when its operations in a particular area are an open secret. Other terms include The Company and The Agency.