What is the CIA?

An explainer.


What is the CIA?

An explainer.

What is the CIA?

An explainer.

“Russia.” Many hear this word and think only of the “brusha brusha brusha” part from Grease, but there’s so much more to it than that. For example, here’s a question that is swirling around news outlets across Twitter and beyond: To what extent did Russia interfere in the 2016 election? President-elect Donald Trump recently told Time magazine, “I don’t believe they interfered,” so there is your answer.

Some questions still linger, however. What is “CIA”? Is it pronounced “seeya” or “see eye ayy”? What does it have to do with Russia, and does it have anything to do with Grease? And why do people keep saying it? Is it just to confuse you and make you feel stupid? Why is everyone always trying to make you feel small? Or is the problem more that you let them make you feel small?

Let’s see.

Okay, okay. First of all, when you say “CIA,” what does the “C” stand for?

This is a great place to start. An important thing to note immediately is that although “C” comes third in the alphabet, the letter comes first in “CIA.” (Also worth noting—“A,” which comes first in the alphabet, comes last in “CIA.”) You’re probably familiar with what the letter “C” stands for in a few other acronyms already. For example, in the acronym KFC, the “C” stands for chicken. In NYC, the “C” stands for “city.” In BBC, the “C” stands for corporation. I could go on. In CD the “C” stands for either “compact” or “certificate,” depending on whether you’re talking about compact discs or certificates of deposit. What else? In CFO it stands for “chief.”

Not so with “CIA.” The “C” in “CIA” stands for “central.”

Okay, I’m getting it. And what is central?

It’s kind of like center.

And what is center? Just kidding. What about the “I” and the “A”?

When it comes to the CIA, the “I” and the “A” are just as important as (if not more important than) the “C.” The “I” stands for “intelligence” and the “A” stands for “agency.” It’s a little confusing until you put it all together: Central Intelligence Agency. When you want to say it out loud, you say it like this: SEE EYE AYE. No one really says “Central Intelligence Agency.”

Good to know. So, does the CIA have people in it, and can I be in the CIA?

The CIA does have people in it and, yes, you can be in the CIA. Well. Maybe you can be in the CIA. I’m not going to tell you that you can be in the CIA for sure, but I do know (for a fact) that if you work hard and really set your mind on a goal, you can accomplish a lot. Often people will talk themselves out of achieving things before they even try. I urge you not to fall into this trap. You can do it! I believe in you. These are the criteria ciaagentedu.org says you must meet to become a CIA agent:

Be a citizen of the United States.

Be at least 18 years old.

Possess a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Have strong interpersonal skills.

Have a strong interest in international affairs.

Be able to write clearly and accurately.

Interesting! It looks like I can be one.

You have a strong interest in international affairs?

How strong do you think they mean?

I don’t know. So, what does the CIA have to do with Russia?

I think I have strong enough of an interest in international affairs. I’m not not interested in international affairs. I have a normal amount of interest, and it’s just a job. I don’t think I have to be insane about it.

What does the CIA think Russia’s intention was in releasing the Podesta emails?

What? And why would you assume I didn’t have a strong interest in international affairs? That was a deeply rude question, especially coming so soon after I told you that you could maybe be in the CIA if you worked hard. I believe in you completely, and I feel like you don’t believe in me at all.

When was the CIA formed?


So, is that everything I need to know about the CIA?

Yep, that’s everything!