One of the CIA’s missions is to gather the information that is supposed to reveal the plans, intentions, and potential of the US adversaries, from which decisions are made and necessary actions are taken. At the same time, the CIA is mandated with the responsibility of keeping and safeguarding the United States secrets that aid in national security (Mello, 2000). The information may be collected overtly through the readership of overseas newspapers and magazines or surveillance of overseas television and radio stations. On the other hand, the information may also be collected covertly through listening devices, hidden cameras, or satellite photography. The CIA carries out these operations through the creation of multidisciplinary centers to tackle aforesaid high-priority concerns like nonproliferation, counterterrorism, and counterintelligence (Wagner, 2007). The CIA operations are also concerned with international organized crime and drug trafficking, environmental and firearms control intelligence.
An operational example of this mission is in the employment of the CIA officials in the US embassies across the world (Mello, 2000). The officials carry out counterintelligence and other specialized operations that relate to overseas intelligence and national security. Another example is in the worldwide fight against terrorism in relation to information gathering and the crackdown on al Qaeda hot spots in different parts of the world.
The second mission of the CIA is to produce an accurate and timely analysis of the intelligence information to the president and all the other government officials that create and implement the policies of the US national security. The analysis could be anything from a translated document aimed at providing insights, warning, and opportunity to the president and policymakers, whose responsibility is to protect and advance the interests of the US. The CIA is the leading agency responsible for the provision of global intelligence reports in all manner of issues ranging from political, social, technological, economic, and military settings (Wagner, 2007). They are involved in forging strong partnerships between numerous intelligence collection centers and the analysis centers and enhances the correlation and evaluation of the information allied to national security and the provision of proper distribution of the aforesaid intelligence.
An example of this mission in operation is the 2003 war in Iraq, where the CIA officials arrived early in 2002 and prepared a battlespace for the subsequent invasion of the US military forces (Mello, 2000). Another example is the capture, interrogation, and analysis of intelligence information from Sheik Mohammad that led to the discovery of Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Abbottabad.
The third mission of the CIA is to execute covert ops upon the orders of the head of state to prevent threats and to accomplish the US policy objectives (Wagner, 2007). This kind of operation is carried out in circumstances where openly operating against the adversary would be considered disadvantageous. Such operations are usually unlawful in the targeted nation and regularly considered to violate the laws of the sponsor nation. Covert actions may comprise disruption, assassination, supporting coups, or subversions.
The president indirectly communicates his wish for a sensitive operation with the government officials in a boardroom and it is the mandate of the CIA officials, who have internalized the idea, to carry out that wish. An example of this mission in action is the saga involving the Iranian Contra Affair where President Reagan’s administration was advancing the proceeds of firearm sales to Iran towards the Contra rebels in Nicaragua to aid in ousting the left-wing Sandinistas (Wagner, 2007).
Mello, T. B. (2000). The Central Intelligence Agency. Chelsea House Publishers.
Wagner, H. L., & Mello, T. B. (2007). The Central Intelligence Agency. Infobase Publishing.