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Central Intelligence Agency (U.S.)


Last modified: 2019-01-01 by rick wyatt
Keywords: cia | central intelligence agency | departmental | united states |
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[Flag of CIA] image by Zachary Harden, 16 November 2016

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Description of the flag

The field for the CIA flag is the same color as the background of the seal.
Randy Young, 21 February 2001

The CIA is not considered a defense agency because the Director of Central Intelligence doesn't work for the Secretary of Defense, he works for the President. The CIA is an independent agency.
Joe McMillan, 21 February 2001

The central emblem in the flag was authorized by Executive Order 10111 "Establishing a Seal for the Central Intelligence Agency" by President Harry S. Truman on February 17, 1950. Section 2 of the Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949 authorized the President to designate a seal of a design that was forwarded and approved by the (now defunct) Director of Central Intelligence (now is styled as the Director of the CIA, as explained at Director of National Intelligence). In the Executive Order, there is a blazon/description of the emblem:

"SHIELD: Argent, a compass rose of sixteen points gules.

CREST: On a wreath argent and gules an American bald eagle's head erased proper.

Below the shield on a gold color scroll the inscription "United States of America" in red letters, and encircling the shield and crest at the top the inscription "Central Intelligence Agency" in white letters.

All on a circular blue background with a narrow gold edge"
Zachary Harden, 15 November 2016

Having visited CIA Headquarters once before when they had an open house, I can say with certainty that I never saw a CIA flag there with those proportions. All that I saw, including the one in the Director's office, were 3x5 or 2x3 variants. Likewise with all of the American flags. While that doesn't mean that the agency's official flag proportions aren't 10x19, all of them in use within the agency's premises were of other proportions.
Randy Young, 15 November 2016


[Flag of CIA] image by Randy Young, 11 May 2005

The Director of Central Intelligence is the person who heads the American intelligence community, reporting directly to the President. He is appointed by the President and confirmed by Congress. The DCI also has the added duty of head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The DCI's flag features the DCI seal on a dark blue background, similar to the flags of the CIA and NRO. The seal features the words "DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE" across the top and "INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY" across the bottom. In the center of the seal is an American bald eagle, facing the staff, perched on palm leaves or olive branches. On the eagle's chest is displayed a shield on which is depicted the outline of a globe surrounded by 13 gold stars, with a larger white star at the center of the globe. I believe this flag can also be used to represent the intelligence community as a whole, but I am not positive of that.
Randy Young, 14 December 2001

Prior to a couple weeks ago, the DCI was the head of the United States' intelligence community, while also the head of the Central Intelligence Agency. However, under new legislation signed earlier this year, Ambassador Negroponte was confirmed by the US Senate and sworn in as the country's first Director of National Intelligence (DNI), superseding the DCI. As such, the position of DCI no longer exists, and the former DCI, Porter Goss, is now known as simply the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Randy Young, 11 May 2005

This office was succeeded by the Director of National Intelligence.