Talk:Central Intelligence Agency

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Former good article Central Intelligence Agency was one of the Social sciences and society good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
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High traffic

On May 6 2007, Central Intelligence Agency was linked from Digg, a high-traffic website. (Traffic)

Number of employees[edit]

To me it seems stupid to have the number of employees Classified as I think the public has the right to know and I see no reason why it has to be classified. I can see why the annual budget is classified, as I don't think the people don't need to know that, but come on what would it hurt to reveal how many employees you have? Sk8terguy27Talk 23:15, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

  • This isn't a forum to discuss why. Niteshift36 (talk) 00:46, 10 November 2012 (UTC)

Not only . When someone is working against U.S. CIA simply gets Viell (more than durchschnitlich) a pitch. Thus, the door which, gründsätzlich, should be worn automatically is suddenly not good enough closed, they unbeckante person they see all over aschend whether probably did not happen's, etc. Or, they come to an excessive happiness. So, how to Barack Obama suddenly become a President! (talk) 10:19, 14 June 2014 (UTC)

Translation needed for last comments, which appear to have no reason to be in this section. David J Johnson (talk) 21:22, 14 June 2014 (UTC)

Lead needs to Briefly Explain Controversy[edit]

As per WP:LEAD:

The lead should establish significance, include mention of consequential or significant criticism or controversies

Can somebody involved with the article please explain what the rationale is for not including this? KingHiggins (talk) 18:21, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

There does not appear to be any reason judging by the response, I will go ahead and put forward an edit. KingHiggins (talk) 12:49, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
Go on, just be careful not to start a edit war lol
dhiv talk 04:16, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
Done, I could not find an official CIA response to some of the allegation but that could be useful aswell. KingHiggins (talk) 17:37, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
Good work! I'll add the enhanced interrogation techniques as well dhiv talk 04:13, 8 March 2014 (UTC)

Seperate section on ASSASSINATION attempts[edit]

Does anyone else think that the article needs a separate topic focusing solely on the Assassination attempts(failed and successful) made by the CIA? My concerns are as follows:

  • The article does not mention CIA's role in the assassination of Che Guevara
  • The article's mention of multiple assassination attempts on the life of Fidel Castro makes it sound like it's no big deal. The issue has been severely downplayed
  • CIA efforts to overthrow Fidel Castro's regime needs a separate sub section as well
  • Claims to CIA involvement in the assassination of Juvénal Habyarimana and Cyprien Ntaryamira. Role in the Rwandan Genocide
  • Alleged plot to kill Hugo Chavez[1]
  • Also worthy of inclusion in an encyclopedia are the wikileaks related CIA documents

Depending on the consensus, i'll start working on a sub section. Thank you
dhiv talk 05:43, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Why not make a seperate article? KingHiggins (talk) 18:30, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Encyclopedia of the Central Intelligence Agency[edit]

I've created a new article about the Encyclopedia of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Suggestions for additional secondary sources would be appreciated, at Talk:Encyclopedia of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Thank you for your time,

Cirt (talk) 22:11, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

Good going! Do you have a copy of the book? Can you check if the book covers assassination attempts and coups staged by the CIA because i'm researching on the topic. Very hard to find reliable sources on the subject. Thanks in advance :)
dhiv talk 11:30, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

Torture report[edit]

Is the 'torture report' (see news articles ad nauseum) the Panetta Review or does it exist elsewhere on Wikipedia? I can't believe an article hasn't been created yet. Gareth E Kegg (talk) 22:15, 8 December 2014 (UTC)

I've started a clumsily named article on the report. Gareth E Kegg (talk) 00:51, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
Surely you could invoke COMMONNAME to name the article "CIA torture report?" The CIA is not a living person, after all.....Vanamonde93 (talk) 04:52, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, I've moved it. Waiting for official report name. Gareth E Kegg (talk) 11:38, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

Improving coverage of CIA Activities[edit]

I'm pretty flabbergasted that this article has a "B" quality rating, signifying that, whoever reviewed it, believes that it has flawed, but fairly comprehensive coverage of the subject. I visited this article hoping for that, but the article's coverage of what the CIA has actually done is just paper thin. Not to mention, do encyclopedias really focus co much on organization structure over what an organization has actually accomplished? Which isn't to say that I expect this article to cover any single incident in the depth that an article dedicated to that incident would as articles on an entire organization needs to be concise, and because that would violate wiki article size policies. I did see the almost unmentioned articles on regional CIA activities. The one I glanced at was in even worse shape.

In my view, this article is a barely salvageable mess. Going from top down, the first obvious change would be to move the sections on the bureaucratic organization of the agency into a sub-article. It looks like further sub-articles might be on CIA Personnel, and another on it's budget. The history of CIA activities is a little thorny. Some readers will probably want a chronological breakdown. Some may want it by regions, and some may want it by country. As there already are a few regional articles, I guess as a stopgap, it would be best to have the chronographical presentation in the main cia article, and to try to improve the regional articles.

I suppose in the near future I'll start creating sub-articles, such as the ones on the bureaucratic organization, budget, and personnel, and, when they've gained a little traction, I'll start pruning this article. But I plan to start improving the history of the CIA's actions immediately.TeeTylerToe (talk) 17:07, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

Rather than wholesale criticism of the article, without any consensus, could I respectfully suggest that you improve your editing history and concentrate on producing a User page - so that the community may know a little more about you? Regards, David J Johnson (talk) 19:41, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
An ad hominem attack? Stay classy pal. As for the article, the only reason I can see for someone arguing that it's coverage per article quality guidelines is comprehensive would be as a joke. You're welcome to try though. I'm holding a book that covers just 60 years of the history of the CIA, and it comes to 702 pages. The article's history covering '53 to '66 comes to 4 short paragraphs. I'm sorry if I believe that that could be improved upon.TeeTylerToe (talk) 22:05, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

Dispute about the regional pages?[edit]

There seem to be disputes about regional pages, such as: CIA activities in the Near East, North Africa, South and Southwest Asia

It seems like this should be discussed. Right now, for instance, that specific article redirects to this article. One suggestion is that the page could be a jump page linking to the various country specific articles, and, in cases where a country may not have a dedicated country specific article, maybe information could be added to the regional page. This page, and the country specific pages though do seem to link to the regional pages which now redirect to this page.TeeTylerToe (talk) 12:07, 5 April 2015 (UTC)


Tee Tyler Toe and anybody else who has been active on this page; I've been watching this page for a bit, and the single largest problem at the moment strikes me as being the sheer size of the article. it has 20,000 words, for goodness sake. I think we need to find a way to transfer material to subsidiary articles (because there's not much bad material in there). For instance, "Organization of the CIA" could certainly be a good subsidiary article, and perhaps "Covert actions by the CIA" (or something like that with a better title). Vanamonde93 (talk) 15:18, 5 April 2015 (UTC)

If the purpose section was better, I'd say keep it, but since it needs work, I'd say it can go. Organizational structure, Training, Budget, Employees... basically everything other than history seems out of place. Maybe have one section on something like "current functions and structure" that summarizes it's current activities, structure, budget, employees, training, etc. Then move stuff like, listing each subsection of each section of each directorate into a different article. The 'abuses of cia authority' section should be moved somewhere and expanded to abuses from '47-current. Maybe that could be folded into controversies. There's some policy about controversy section, I forget what it is, but the article should follow whatever it is. I'd say there are parts of the history section that are longer than they could be, for instance there may be some overlap in the watergate coverage with the watergate article. So, some of the details about things less directly related to the CIA could be trimmed down with some kind of mention, followed by a link to the watergate article. Generally I think the thrust of the different sections in history should be maintained if there's any pruning there. Just the 'further reading' section is fairly large, and could almost have it's own article. The dozens of references to legacy of ashes in the references section make the page larger. There were a few different ways of making references, we could replace the one I chose with the one where the page number appears next to the footnote, that would save space in the references section, but I think it's sort of odd. The see also section seems pretty random. Article length is not a new problem for this page. At one point on wikipedia there was some kind of opt-in automated survey for pages iirc, maybe that could be used to tailor the article to the kind of information people are looking forTeeTylerToe (talk) 15:54, 5 April 2015 (UTC)
I don't think that the article can be kept down to just the history, although obviously that is important. The history section is currently massive, as is the controversies, and both of them have a lot of extraneous info and poor writing. It wouldn't hurt to make a "criticism of the CIA" article, either. The organization and purpose sections might be really bad, and in need of pruning, but we can hardly nix those; the article does have to be comprehensive. Obviously, we need to keep WP:DUE in mind, and the criticism and history needs appropriate weight, but we can manage that with an article one third the size. I might make a cut/transfer sometime; not immediately, I'm rather busy. Vanamonde93 (talk) 18:04, 5 April 2015 (UTC)
That's not what I was suggesting. "Maybe have one section on something like "current functions and structure" that summarizes it's current activities, structure, budget, employees, training, etc." the non history sections seem like they have a lot of dead weight. The organization of the CIA is an interesting topic, books could probably be written about it's current organization, and the history of it's organization, but I don't see that in the organization section of the current article. The CIA is an enormous topic. There could be a wiki article about the history of organizational reviews done about the CIA... I was looking for articles that had gone through review (featured, or good) to base this on, one article that could be a good template could be the Cold War article. But, as it is, I don't think the history section would be improved by breaking it down chronologically, by, for instance, decade, or rough periods as the cold war article does. Breaking it down from president to president could make sense, or from DCI to DCI, although there have been too many DCIs, but a lot of the things span different presidents. Books could be written about the CIA under any president. There could be articles, cia under carter... Anyway, yes, the non-history sections are anemic, and yes the history section could be improved. I haven't incorporated the CIA abuses section into the sections that I've added, for instance. But I think the first place to start are, for instance, the lists of sub sections of sections of directorates. As I said.TeeTylerToe (talk) 18:32, 5 April 2015 (UTC)
I think we're broadly on the same page, actually. I suggested breaking it off into a new article keeping due weight in mind; but if its shitty content, it can be cut. I'm thinking that a good length for the organization section would be about 500-1000 words. So we can cut it down to there for starters. Thoughts? Vanamonde93 (talk) 20:34, 5 April 2015 (UTC)
I don't have a good sense of scale for byte size, or number of characters, or number of words, but that actually sounds a little on the small side to me. That said, I'd be surprised if the current organization section would be that large after extraneous information was removed from it. It also looks like the CIA is amidst some pretty significant organizational changes right now, moving from fixed regional divisions to "centers" using the counter-terrorist center "centers" organization as a model. For one, apparently, it breaks down the walls between analysis and action, and for another, it seems like it's based on ad hoc being created until they dissolve. iirc a few weeks ago the article was around 150,000 bytes, which is about the size of some large featured articles, but people seem to see it as a little too large. Now it's around 205,000 bytes. I wouldn't be surprised if, with some trimming, it can be brought down to a size smaller than it was a few weeks ago. I think there's a lot of stuff that can be cut from the sections that aren't history, and, in the history section, there are some parts, mostly ones that are roughly 4 large paragraphs long or longer that could probably be cut, and my only issue shortening those longer sections in history is not to change the general thrust of the section while shortening it. And, when shortening sections, I think that it's important, for the most part, that, say something more on the anecdotal end is taken out of a section to make it shorter, ideally that anecdote could be moved to whatever the appropriate article would be. So, for instance, there's an anecdote in the clinton section about how the chinese embassy was hit, and the author of ashes said that that, and other instances, like the chemical plant bombing, made the clinton administration more careful about bombing, particularly in their hunt for bin laden. Well, if the anecdotes about the Chinese embassy, and the chemical factory are moved to the right article, say, an article about the CIA under clinton, or I guess to different articles, then I'd be fine cutting those from this article. But I'd be less happy if it was cut with it not being in other articles, particularly if, in the other articles, the connection wasn't made that negative results from prior bombings made clinton reluctant to bomb. Shortening it in this article is fine, but I'd like to see it in other articles.TeeTylerToe (talk) 22:40, 5 April 2015 (UTC)
Well, I don't want to delete info either. Breaking it down by administration seems rather a lot. I'd much prefer to break it down by region, because sources are often focused on regional issues, and there are already regional CIA-activities articles, although they are bad, without exception. Excess info can simply be transferred there. Also, you may want to read WP:TLDR ;) Vanamonde93 (talk) 23:31, 5 April 2015 (UTC)
WRT size; one byte is a character, average 8 bytes to the word; so a thousand words is a little less than 10kb. WP:TOOBIG suggests splitting articles at 100,000b; this is twice that, so eminently split worthy. Vanamonde93 (talk) 23:36, 5 April 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Okay, I've cleaned out a lot of stuff from "Organization," for starters. If anybody disagrees with specific removals, I'm happy to discuss it. Some stuff was unnecessary; other stuff just out of place. It can be readded to the appropriate place, the info itself is there in the history. Vanamonde93 (talk) 16:27, 10 April 2015 (UTC)

It should be at about 113kb of prose right now, I wouldn't call it a desperate emergency. The wiki policy on content removal is pretty strict, basically it seems to say that you have to move everything that's relevant to a different article. The article certainly could use some help, but I don't think size is the most important issue right now. I'd like to see a new article created covering reports and committees generally to try to fix or improve the CIA, as well as abuse investigations.TeeTylerToe (talk) 17:11, 10 April 2015 (UTC)
Well, yes and no. It needs to be removed if its sourced and non-redundant; if its unsourced, or just repeating stuff, we can throw it out with no issues. Vanamonde93 (talk) 20:44, 10 April 2015 (UTC)
The article is far too long to read comfortably (122kb prose), so it is a serious issue WP:SIZERULE. The History and Controversies sections are particularly long. Each of their subsections should probably be condensed to a single paragraph where possible, especially for subsections which have their own main article - with a hope to bring the article down to ~75kb (A huge subject like World War II manages to be 78kb). Also, the style of writing is often either somewhat florid, clumsy, or grammatically complex.
Alternatively, there seems to be plenty of information to create separate History and Controversies articles. (Hohum @) 10:05, 11 April 2015 (UTC)
I've been mulling over this, wondering what the best possible shakeup would be. We could create a "History of the CIA" article; alternatively, we could use the existing "CIA activities in [insert region here]" articles. The prose is rather poor, and could do with a lot of tightening up. Thoughts? Vanamonde93 (talk) 16:31, 11 April 2015 (UTC)
There should certainly be an article about the history of the cia. The section on the president's order to eliminate the leader of the Congo should be longer than 5 short sentences, for instance. The section on the CIA support for the resistance to the soviet occupation of afghanistan should be longer than 2 sentences. My point is that the history section, while parts are long and could probably be shortened, is already at the summary of summaries stage. So 6 sections on the organization, or the 2 sentences on the soviet invasion of afghanistan, or the 2 sentences on afghanistan vs what year the CIA created it's first training center, or a section based on the quote of Robert Baer about employee polygraphing. There's a dedicated article on extraordinary rendition, so maybe we could turn that section into a summary.TeeTylerToe (talk) 18:37, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

Any suggestions on what to do with the purpose section?[edit]

Right now, the first part of it is repeated in the history section, so the only part I would think might be relevant is the priorities list, but even that has probably changed by now. I think the whole section could be redundant.TeeTylerToe (talk) 17:05, 10 April 2015 (UTC)

I've changed the title of this section just for aesthetic reasons. I think the "purpose" part of the history be dropped; it's better for the weighting that way. "Purpose" is a valid section, after all. Vanamonde93 (talk) 20:40, 10 April 2015 (UTC)