CIA building floor

Most Americans are familiar with the terms “FBI” and “CIA,” yet, do we really understand the difference between these two governmental agencies? One major difference exists that can help Americans to distinguish between the two organizations. The CIA – or Central Intelligence Agency – operates outside the United States, gathering intelligence on a number of topics (foreign terrorist activity, for example); while the FBI – the Federal Bureau of Investigation – concentrates more on gathering intelligence inside the United States. The FBI also focuses on federal crimes, such as domestic terrorism.

Although this is one of the major differences – the way that the agencies gather intelligence – this is only one of the differences in the two organizations.

What is the purpose of each agency?

Readers might be surprised to learn that the CIA is a civilian agency. The organization focuses on foreign intelligence, and, at times, the CIA will utilize civilian spies in order to gather this intelligence. The chief purpose of the CIA is “gather, process, and analyze” information from across the globe as it effects our national security.

The FBI is a governmental agency that is under the purview of the United States Department of Justice. The purpose of the FBI is a dual one – it is a federal investigative body as well as an intelligence agency.

What is the motto of each organization?

The motto of the CIA is “Ye shall know the truth and it shall set you free.”

The motto of the FBI is “Fidelity, Bravery, and Integrity.”

When was each agency established?

The FBI was formed on July 26, 1908, while the CIA was not organized until September 18, 1947.

Where is each agency headquartered?

The headquarters of the CIA is located in Langley, VA, and the headquarters of the FBI are located in the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington, DC.

Who are the agency executives and what are the employee demographics?

The CIA is under the direction of Gina Haspel, and the exact number of employees is classified. However, it is estimated that the CIA employees at least 35,000 regular staff and 25,000 agents as of 2016.

The FBI is under the direction of Christopher Wray, as well as an assistant director and and deputy director. The exact workforce of the FBI is also classified, but it is estimated that there are at least 13,000 agents, over 20,000 staff members and approximately 2,000 intelligence analysts employed by the agency.

What is the annual budget for each of these agencies?

The FBI has an estimated budget of $8.8 billion as of FY 2016. The budget of the CIA is classified; however, as of 2016, it is estimated that the agency has a budget of $18 billion.

What are the priorities of each agency?

While most Americans associated the Central Intelligence Agency with some type of law enforcement, the CIA possesses absolutely no law enforcement function. The chief purpose of the CIA is to gather intelligence worldwide, but not typically inside the United States. The CIA is the only governmental agency that allows for covert methods of gathering intelligence.

The FBI is intended to protect the United States from terrorist attacks both foreign and domestic. The FBI is also intended to protect the country from espionage as well as foreign intelligence operations. The FBI is intended to protect the American public from corruption in business operations at all levels. The FBI is specifically tasked with protecting American citizens and businesses from cyberattacks as well as other technological crimes.

What are the origins of each agency?

The CIA was established in 1947 when President Truman signed into law the National Security Act. This law directed the CIA to coordinate the nation’s activities regarding intelligence; it also gave the jobs of correlating, evaluating, and disseminating intelligence affecting the nation’s security. However, the CIA did have a predecessor, the OSS. The OSS was also known as the Office of Strategic Services, and it was created in 1942 during the height of the second World War. However, this agency was shut down after the end of the war.

The FBI was established when then-Attorney General Charles Bonaparte created a force of special agents during the Theodore Roosevelt presidency. This was the first time there was ever a need for an interstate law enforcement agency. It should also be noted that progressivism was becoming quite popular in America at this time. The FBI was initially called the Bureau of Investigation, and its agents were known as Secret Service agents. However, after a few name changes, it eventually became the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Many Americans who enjoy history will recognize the name J. Edgar Hoover and associate the FBI with its iconic director. In fact, Hoover was the director for forty-eight years, and later legislation would ban any director from holding the position for more than ten years.

What is the mission as well as functions of the FBI?

The FBI is described as a “threat-based and intelligence-driven national security organization.” Its mission is described as the following: “to protect and defend the USA against terrorist and foreign intelligence threats, to uphold and enforce the criminal laws of the United States, and to provide leadership and criminal justice services to federal, state, municipal, and international agencies and partners.”

It is important to remember that the FBI is a law enforcement agency. In addition to gathering intelligence regarding possible domestic threats, the FBI investigates the following types of crimes: securities fraud, kidnapping, and tax evasion. The mission of the FBI is more of a reactive nature; in other words, they do not investigate to prevent crime, although if intelligence shows the potential for a threat, the agency will work to prevent that.

The mission of the CIA is to “collect, evaluate, disseminate” any foreign intelligence; the agency is also tasked with providing information regarding said intelligence to both the President and his or her senior officials who make decisions related to national security.

In some situations, under the direction of the president, the CIA may engage in covert operations. However, these covert operations must follow applicable law.

The CIA gathers intelligence related to America’s national security from a number of sources, including foreign governments, corporations, and individuals; the agency then provides pertinent information to the government. The CIA has provided information that is utilized by the United States military in countries such as Iraq or Afghanistan.

What is the organizational structure of each agency?

There are four major directorates of the CIA: the Directorate of Intelligence, the National Clandestine Service, the Directorate of Support, and the Directorate of Science and Technology.

The Directorate of Intelligence analyzes all intelligence and monitors research. The National Clandestine Service is tasked with carrying out covert actions and gathers intelligence in a clandestine manner. The Directorate of Support is nicknamed the “housekeeping” of the CIA. It takes care of a number of administrative functions. The Directorate of Science and Technology not only establishes but applies innovative technology to support the collection of intelligence.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations is a branch of the United States Department of Justice. There is a director of the FBI, but there are five branches of the organization as well: the National Security Branch, the Information and Technology Branch, the Criminal Cyber Response and Services Branch, the Science and Technology Branch, and the Human Resources Branch.

How does one go about joining the CIA?

In order to join the CIA, a recruit must be eighteen years of age or older as well as a high school graduate. If a recruit wishes to become an analyst or an officer overseas, that person must have a college degree (area of certification is not known). If a recruit truly wants to win a position at the CIA, knowing at least one foreign language is helpful.

How does one go about joining the FBI?

A recruit for the FBI should be at least eighteen years of age, and the recruit must have no criminal record. Those wishing to join the FBI should have a four-year degree and must pass a rigorous background check. Recruits may need to pass a physical fitness test as well as a polygraph test. Once a recruit is selected, he or she will undergo training at the FBI Academy at Quantico.