Blue sky memo

The Blue sky memo was a document authored by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The premise of the memo was to describe actions the CIA should undertake if it did not have to operate under legal, financial, and political restrictions (that is to say, if the "sky were blue").

The memorandum was inspired by the USS Cole bombing, and written in the final weeks of the Clinton administration. It was delivered to Richard A. Clarke on December 29, 2000.[1]

According to the 9/11 Commission Report:

No action was taken on these ideas in the few remaining weeks of the Clinton administration. [National Security Adviser Sandy] Berger did not recall seeing or being briefed on the Blue Sky memo. Nor was the memo discussed during the transition with incoming top Bush administration officials. [CIA Director George] Tenet and his deputy told us they pressed these ideas as options after the new administration took office.[2]


  1. ^ Byron York. Clinton and that "Comprehensive" Plan. September 29, 2006
  2. ^ 9/11 Commission Report, Chapter 6. (Wikisource text)
Central Intelligence Agency

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA ) is a civilian foreign intelligence service of the federal government of the United States, tasked with gathering, processing, and analyzing national security information from around the world, primarily through the use of human intelligence (HUMINT). As one of the principal members of the United States Intelligence Community (IC), the CIA reports to the Director of National Intelligence and is primarily focused on providing intelligence for the President and Cabinet of the United States.

Unlike the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which is a domestic security service, the CIA has no law enforcement function and is mainly focused on overseas intelligence gathering, with only limited domestic intelligence collection. Though it is not the only agency of the Federal government of the United States specializing in HUMINT, the CIA serves as the national manager for coordination of HUMINT activities across the U.S. intelligence community. Moreover, the CIA is the only agency authorized by law to carry out and oversee covert action at the behest of the President. It exerts foreign political influence through its tactical divisions, such as the Special Activities Division.Before the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, the CIA Director concurrently served as the head of the Intelligence Community; today, the CIA is organized under the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). Despite transferring some of its powers to the DNI, the CIA has grown in size as a result of the September 11 attacks. In 2013, The Washington Post reported that in fiscal year 2010, the CIA had the largest budget of all IC agencies, exceeding previous estimates.The CIA has increasingly expanded its role, including covert paramilitary operations. One of its largest divisions, the Information Operations Center (IOC), has shifted focus from counter-terrorism to offensive cyber-operations.

List of CIA controversies

The following is a list of controversies involving the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Throughout its history, the CIA has been the subject of a number of controversies, both at home and abroad.

The Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA by Tim Weiner accuses the CIA of covert actions and human rights abuses. Jeffrey T. Richelson of the National Security Archive has been critical of its claims. Intelligence expert David Wise faulted Weiner for portraying Allen Dulles as "a doddering old man" rather than the "shrewd professional spy" he knew and for refusing "to concede that the agency's leaders may have acted from patriotic motives or that the CIA ever did anything right," but concluded: "Legacy of Ashes succeeds as both journalism and history, and it is must reading for anyone interested in the CIA or American intelligence since World War II." The CIA itself has responded to the claims made in Weiner's book, and has described it as "a 600-page op-ed piece masquerading as serious history."

Richard A. Clarke

Richard Alan Clarke (born October 27, 1950) is the former National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection and Counter-terrorism for the United States.

Clarke worked for the State Department during the presidency of Ronald Reagan. In 1992, President George H.W. Bush appointed him to chair the Counter-terrorism Security Group and to a seat on the United States National Security Council. President Bill Clinton retained Clarke and in 1998 promoted him to be the National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism, the chief counter-terrorism adviser on the National Security Council. Under President George W. Bush, Clarke initially continued in the same position, but no longer had cabinet-level access. He later was appointed as the Special Advisor to the President on cybersecurity. Clarke left the Bush administration in 2003.

Clarke came to widespread public attention for his counter-terrorism role in March 2004: he published a memoir about his service in government, Against All Enemies; appeared on the 60 Minutes television news magazine; and testified before the 9/11 Commission. In all three cases, Clarke sharply criticized the Bush administration's attitude toward counter-terrorism before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and its decision afterward to wage war and invade Iraq. Clarke was criticized by some supporters of the Bush decisions.

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