Washington Beat Book

Written for reporters by reporters, the Washington Beat Book provides a crash course in government agencies for those assigned to cover the federal government. Paul Miller Fellows select and profile each agency, with relevant links and resources. Click an agency seal to browse the information compiled by our fellows, or navigate directly to an agency's website with the provided link.

Central Intelligence Agency

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is a stand-alone agency of the U.S. government, responsible for gathering, analyzing and providing intelligence to decision makers within the government.

The CIA formed in 1947, after the responsibilities of its predecessor, the Office of Strategic Services, were folded into other government departments.  After World War II, President Harry S Truman centralized intelligence operations in one agency.

In 2004, the intelligence community underwent a reorganization of upper management, which eliminated the Director and Deputy Director of Central Intelligence and added the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and several other key positions.

Much of the agency’s present operations are classified, leaving many questions up in the air for journalists.

The number of employees, budget and many of the activities of the CIA are classified, and are left to the imaginations of Hollywood directors and novelists (though the agency does employ an Entertainment Industry Liaison WHO? to dispel certain myths and help clarify agency operations as allowed).

Though most documents and reports produced as part of the agency’s work are classified, it does release some documents via the agency’s FOIA reading room and the National Archives.  Some reference materials (such as the highly respected CIA World Factbook) are available on the CIA’s web site.

The CIA’s headquarters is located in the Langley neighborhood of McLean, Virginia.  Most of the agency’s officers work in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, and overseas posts are also offered.


Central Intelligence Agency Office of Public Affairs
Washington, DC 20505

An organizational chart of the CIA can be found at this link:
Congressional Jurisdiction:
Congress and the Executive Branch share oversight of the CIA.  The President, Vice President, Secretaries of State and Defense and the National Security Council guide the agency from the Executive Branch.  In Congress, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence have oversight over the CIA.  The Defense subcommittees of the Congressional appropriations committees oversee the classified budget of the agency.

Does this agency's information need updating? programs@nationalpress.org

Contact Information

  • (703) 482-0623

Press Contacts

Information about OPA can be found at this link: https://www.cia.gov/offices-of-cia/public-affairs/index.html#Public_Communications