Director of the Central Intelligence Agency

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Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
Seal of the Central Intelligence Agency.svg
Seal of the CIA
Flag of the United States Central Intelligence Agency.svg
Flag of the CIA
Mike Pompeo official Transition portrait.jpg
Mike Pompeo

since January 23, 2017
Central Intelligence Agency
Reports to President
Director of National Intelligence
Seat George Bush Center for Intelligence, Langley, Fairfax County, Virginia, U.S.
Appointer President
with Senate advice and consent
Term length No fixed term
Constituting instrument 50 U.S.C. § 3036
Precursor Director of Central Intelligence
Inaugural holder Porter J. Goss
Formation April 21, 2005
Deputy Deputy Director of the CIA
Salary Executive Schedule, II[1]

The Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (D/CIA) is a statutory office (50 U.S.C. § 3036) which functions as the head of the Central Intelligence Agency, which in turn is a part of the United States Intelligence Community.

The Director reports to the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and is assisted by the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The Director is a civilian or a general/flag officer of the armed forces[2] nominated by the President, with the concurring or nonconcurring recommendation from the DNI,[3] and must be confirmed by a majority vote of the Senate.[4]


Before April 21, 2005, the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) headed both the Intelligence Community and the Central Intelligence Agency. In addition, DCI served as an advisor to the President of the United States on intelligence matters and was the statutory intelligence advisor to the National Security Council (NSC). On April 21, 2005, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) took on the roles as head of the Intelligence Community and principal intelligence advisor to the President and the NSC.

The post of DCI was established in 1946 by President Harry S. Truman; it thus predates the establishment of the Central Intelligence Agency (created by the National Security Act of 1947). After the end of World War II, the Office of Strategic Services was dismantled and its functions were split between the Departments of State and War (now Defense). President Truman soon recognized the inefficiency of this arrangement and created the Central Intelligence Group, which could be considered a smaller precursor to the National Security Council. The following year the National Security Act of 1947 created the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Council, while formally defining the duties of the Director of Central Intelligence. The duties of the DCI had been further defined over the years by tradition, congressional acts, and Executive Orders.

2009–2011: Leon Panetta

On January 5, 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Leon Panetta for the position of the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. After his nomination, journalists, politicians, and media agencies—such as The Economist—raised concerns about his lack of intelligence agency experience.[5] Time magazine commented that "[m]ore than a few eyebrows went up when word broke".[6]

The Economist also speculated that Obama had selected Panetta because he needed a CIA director "untainted" by the Bush Administration's policies on torture and its handling of the Iraq War.[6] David Ignatius said that advisers to Mr. Obama have told him that Panetta was chosen to provide political defense for the CIA:

"Panetta is a Washington heavyweight with the political clout to protect the Agency and help it rebuild after a traumatic eight years under George Bush, when it became a kind of national pincushion."

Ignatius further explains that Panetta does have tangential exposure to intelligence operations as director of the OMB and as the Chief of Staff for President Clinton, where he

"sat in on the daily intelligence briefings as [the] Chief of Staff, and he reviewed the nation's most secret intelligence-collection and covert-action programs in his previous post as director of the Office of Management and Budget."

The former Director of Central Intelligence, R. James Woolsey, Jr., is a supporter of Mr. Panetta, whom he has compared favorably with the Kennedy-era CIA leader John McCone. He described Panetta as "a very able individual with a successful career".[5]

List of Directors of the Central Intelligence Agency

Director Tenure President(s) served under
Position succeeded the Director of Central Intelligence
Porter J. Goss appointed first Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.jpg Porter J. Goss September 24, 2004 – May 26, 2006[7] George W. Bush
Michael Hayden, CIA official portrait.jpg Gen Michael V. Hayden, USAF May 30, 2006 – February 12, 2009
Barack Obama
Leon Panetta official portrait.jpg Leon E. Panetta February 13, 2009 – July 1, 2011
CIA Michael Morell.jpg Michael J. Morell (acting) July 1, 2011 – September 6, 2011
DCIA David Petraeus.jpg David H. Petraeus September 6, 2011 – November 9, 2012
CIA Michael Morell.jpg Michael J. Morell (Acting) November 9, 2012 – March 8, 2013
John Brennan CIA official portrait.jpg John O. Brennan March 8, 2013 – January 20, 2017
Mike Pompeo official Transition portrait.jpg Mike Pompeo January 23, 2017 - present Donald Trump


  1. 5 U.S.C. § 5313
  2. 10 U.S.C. § 528 Officers serving in certain intelligence positions: military status; exclusion from distribution and strength limitations; pay and allowances
  3. 50 U.S.C. § 403-6 Appointment of officials responsible for intelligence-related activities
  4. 50 U.S.C. § 3036 Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
  5. 5.0 5.1 Intelligence and Security with James Woolsey. Uncommon Knowledge. Filmed on January 14, 2009. Retrieved July 6, 2009.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Pickert, Kate (December 2, 2008). "CIA Director: Leon Panetta". Time. Retrieved July 6, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. After April 21, 2005, the Director of the CIA is no longer the Director of Central Intelligence, and thus is referred to as the Director of the CIA only.