The Rise and Fall of the CIA

Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones

in The Oxford Handbook of National Security Intelligence

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780195375886
Published online September 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

The Rise and Fall of the CIA

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Politics
  • International Relations


Show Summary Details


The Central Intelligence System was founded in 1947. Its rise was the result of the adoption of a doctrine on central intelligence. Once established, the agency achieved ascendancy in the intelligence community, acquired reputation for its successful covert operations, and developed an effective U.S. analytical capability. The agency became one of the most reputed institutions in the government circle and became the icon of American culture. However, the rise of the CIA was not devoid of failures. In the early twenty-first century, the CIA lost its former high standing. This fall of the CIA may be traced to a number of setbacks and difficulties such as: the Bay of Pigs disaster that failed to liberate Cuba from communism; the disclosures about its assassination policy, manipulation of intelligence, and malpractices; and the failure to predict the 9/11 attack and the creation of weapons of mass destruction. This article discusses the rise and fall of the CIA from its founding in 1947 to its golden years in the 1950s and to its troubled years in the 1960s. The article also discusses some of the revelations on the CIA which shocked the American nation. It also discusses the victory of the CIA during the Cold War and the reforms undertaken by the agency following the Aldrich Ames incident and following the many criticisms hurtled against the agency. The article concludes with the declining ascendancy of the CIA. The decline of the CIA rested in the agency's loss of standing. It had relinquished its ascendancy over and its independence within the intelligence community. While its capabilities remained, it is a fallen agency in the sense that its analyses now fell on unsympathetic ears.

Keywords: Central Intelligence System; central intelligence; intelligence community; CIA; Cold War; reforms

Article.  7380 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; International Relations

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.