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Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
where they are stationed, although the CIA has sometimes been criticized for sending out unqualified andpoorly trained personnel. Field officers must be United States citizens.Field officers rarely break into foreign military bases, infiltrate political parties, or otherwise try to collectsensitive information themselves. Instead they usually persuade foreign citizens to provide information.Sometimes foreign citizens volunteer to give secret information to the CIA. In oppressive regimes, theirmotive is sometimes altruistic and even patriotic—they feel they can best serve their country by providingthe CIA with information that will help bring about social and political change or diminish the possibility of war. Such a spy is known as a defector in place.In other situations CIA field officers use money or blackmail to convince foreign citizens to betray theircountry. The CIA field officer’s most difficult job is figuring out who might be willing to spy for the UnitedStates, and then using the right amount of persuasion and coercion to turn the foreign citizen to theAmerican cause. The process of identifying and turning a foreign citizen is delicate because the bestsources of information are often senior government and military officials. Approaching the wrong officialmight lead the foreign government to arrest or even kill the field officer. Even after a subject has beenturned, field officers must constantly assess the accuracy of the information that he or she provides.Because turning a foreign citizen is difficult and the intelligence received is sometimes unreliable, the mostvaluable spy is often not someone who has been turned, but a defector in place. At times, such “humanassets” have supplied vital information that could not have been obtained by technical means. Forexample, from 1953 until his execution by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) sometime in1959 or 1960, Pyotr Semyonovich Popov, a lieutenant colonel in the Soviet army, supplied the CIA withimportant information about USSR missile systems. Popov’s information helped the CIA understand theSoviet military threat before the advent of satellites made it possible to spy on the USSR from space.
B) Electronic Intelligence Gathering
The CIA Science and Technology Directorate uses a wide variety of electronic techniques to gatherintelligence. These include planting bugs (microphones or other listening devices), intercepting radiotransmissions, and using seismic sensors and satellites to monitor military activity around the world. TheCIA relies on the National Security Agency for a large portion of its electronically gathered data, but alsoconducts some electronic intelligence gathering on its own. During the Cold War—the period from 1945 tothe early 1990s, when the United States and the USSR vied for global dominance—the CIA operated itsown “listening stations” in Norway, Iran, Australia, and other places. But since the end of the Cold War, theCIA has reduced its electronic intelligence operations and relied more heavily on the NSA. The CIA Scienceand Technology Directorate still contribute significant research, such as developing techniques to detectand measure dangerous gases from long distances.
C) Information from Other Agencies
The CIA receives and analyzes information from several other elements of the U.S. intelligencecommunity. These elements include the DIA, NSA, the intelligence branches of the Army, Navy, Air Force,and Marines, the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, the Treasury Department andits Secret Service, and the FBI. The CIA also manages some joint programs with other parts of theintelligence community. The CIA and the NSA, for example, work together to provide eavesdroppingequipment to the CIA’s stations around the world. Similarly, the CIA works with the Air Force to coordinatesatellite reconnaissance. The CIA also receives information from the intelligence services of friendlypowers. Britain’s MI6 and Israel’s Mossad are the most notable examples. Although the CIA sometimeshas disputes with MI6 and Mossad over when and how to share intelligence, the generally closecooperation between these agencies reflects the strong ties that link the United States with Britain andIsrael.
D) Analysis and Reporting
CIA analysts have the difficult task of sorting through information from open sources, field officers,electronic intelligence, and intelligence from agencies in the United States and other countries. In many
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