Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

An agency of the United States government, responsible for coordinating information-gathering activities outside the United States in the interest of national security. The CIA works with the Department of State and a variety of civilian and military organizations to protect American interests abroad and recommend directions for American foreign policy.

Note: The extreme secrecy of many of the CIA’s operations has enhanced its reputation as an organization of espionage and intrigue.

Note: The operations of the CIA are directed by the National Security Council.


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