What Does CIA Stand For?

Discover what the CIA stands for, its role in intelligence gathering, covert operations, and counterintelligence efforts. Explore examples, case studies, and statistics.


The CIA, commonly referred to as the Central Intelligence Agency, is a well-known intelligence agency of the United States government. Established in 1947, the CIA has played a significant role in gathering intelligence and conducting covert operations.

What Does CIA Stand For?

The acronym CIA stands for Central Intelligence Agency. The primary mission of the CIA is to collect and analyze information about foreign governments, corporations, and individuals in order to provide national security assessments to policymakers.

Role of the CIA

  • Gathering Intelligence: The CIA is responsible for collecting information on foreign countries and organizations to inform US foreign policy decisions.

  • Covert Operations: The CIA also engages in covert operations, such as paramilitary activities and propaganda campaigns, to advance US interests.

  • Counterintelligence: The CIA works to protect US intelligence sources and operations from foreign interference.

Examples of CIA Operations

One notable CIA operation was the capture of Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda, in 2011. The CIA’s Special Activities Division played a key role in tracking down bin Laden and conducting the raid that resulted in his death.

Case Studies

In the 1950s, the CIA was involved in the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh in a coup known as Operation Ajax. The CIA supported the installation of the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, leading to decades of US-Iran tensions.


The CIA is one of the largest and most well-funded intelligence agencies in the world, with an estimated annual budget of around $15 billion. The CIA employs thousands of staff members, including analysts, operatives, and technical experts.

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