The Central Intelligence Agency, known as the CIA, operates on behalf of the United States government, reports to the Director of National Intelligence and engages in various covert operations when directed by the US President. The Office of Strategic Services, the OSS, was the CIA's predecessor.
The OSS operated primarily during World War II and oversaw espionage activities of the Axis Powers. In 1948, the operations of the CIA grew to include areas of sabotage and all peripheral components of sabotage. Today, the functions within the CIA are focused on gathering information about foreign governments, various companies and corporations. They also track specific individuals who may be enemies of the United States. They are responsible for reporting their findings to US policymakers. Essentially, they are an arm of the government, though conduct their activities at an arm's length.
In 2004, the structure within the security division of the government changed with the creation of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. From that point forward, the CIA reported to the Director of the DNI, who in turn, reports to policymakers. The DNI is part of a filtering process, where information is sifted, assessed and valued. It sorts all information in order to recognize its level of importance.
The central office of the CIA is located several miles to the west of Washington, DC, in Langley, Virginia. At times, it is referred to as Other Government Agencies or OGA. Knowledge concerning the budget for the CIA has been well protected throughout the years. In 2005, it was accidentally stated by a CIA official that the budget was $44 billion.
There are many divisions and subdivisions within the organization. These create a very lengthy list and attached to each are the initials of that particular division, i.e., HUMINT, IMINT, DIA, NRO, NGA, SIGINT and more. This tends to cloak the internal activities of the CIA with a certain degree of confusion.
As time progresses, the CIA is outsourcing its work to private companies, which concerns many inside and outside of government. Another area of great concern surrounds the US Attorney General's unwillingness to prosecute agents for past actions questionably deemed lawful at the time, for instance actions taken under the presidency of George W. Bush. The potential prosecutions have caused rumblings across the entire United States and a certain degree of fear within the CIA. Challenges in today's world are many, and the CIA is not lacking in its share of these challenges.
The bottom line for the CIA is that it serves the needs of its Anglo-American (City of London) masters. This is the reason it seems like a second government and is an impenetrable one. The City of London – the Anglosphere elite – has set up an entire, separately functioning society that parallels the visible one. It is this invisible matrix that the CIA serves and reports to. The idea that the CIA serves the best interests of "America" is naïve in the extreme. Things are not always as they appear.