CIA was created out of a need to replace the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) that had provided America with its Foreign Intelligence during the Second World War. It came into existence in 1947 despite opposition from the FBI and the State Department. The National Security Agency (NSA) was created at the same time. That organisation is equivalent to the British Government Communications HeadQuarters (GCHQ). Unlike the FBI, it is exempt from many of the requirements placed on the FBI; it doesn't need to reveal any piece of information about it. It's head count; costs and organisation amongst other things are secret. It is not allowed to operate inside America; the FBI is responsible for all necessary surveillance internally.
All law enforcement and intelligence agencies of the United States are forbidden to use torture for information. To get round this, they transport the suspects to another country where they are tortured. As of September 2005, there have been a lot of stories in the papers about this process. The stories have mainly concerned the use of European airports where CIA phantom planes land for refuelling. Although many people talk of it being a tool used by the Bush Administration. It was developed under the Clinton Administration but expanded greatly after the 9/11 attacks. The Italian Judiciary has recently issued 13 arrest warrants for CIA agents believed to have been implicit in the kidnap/disappearance of Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar. If it was 1 then it has caused the Italian Intelligence Services great inconvenience. They had been watching the suspect hoping that he would lead them to bigger things. That has now fallen apart.
The CIA had previously succeeded in helping the overthrowing of the Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953 and Guatemalan president Jacobo Arbenz Guzms in in 1954. They thought they could do it again with Fidel Castro. They started training exiles to land and attack the country. Unfortunately, a Russian Spy who alerted Castro so he was prepared for the attack compromised them. The exiles had hoped to spark an uprising but all anti-Castro supporters had been rounded up beforehand. President Kennedy decided against getting involved even though there were troops on standby, he thought that getting more involved would mean things would get out of hand. The only direct American support was the airlifting of the exiles to Cuba for the attack.
Al Qaeda has stated that it hopes to gain access to nuclear weapons, which is one of agency's most pressing concerns. With the end of the Cold War, the agency has reduced its efforts on spying efforts on Russia. Instead countries that it is concerned with are China, North Korea, Iran and Syria.
Recruitment is fronted by Jennifer Garner, more widely known for her depiction of CIA agent Sydney Bristow in the television series ALIAS. You need to be a U.S. Citizen, you don't need a degree unlike the FBI but it helps esp. if it is in a language. To sign up, visit their website