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Sun Dec 11, 2016, 04:22 PM

The Difference Between the CIA and FBI In Their Own Words

Rience Preibus has been strongly arguing on the Sunday news that the FBI has concluded that Russia was not trying to get Russiua elected and that the CIA assessment to the contrary should not be believed. However, this argument misconstrues the basic difference between the FBI and the CIA. The FBI is responsible for domestic law enforcement. They (should) enforce the law. In contrast, the CIA is responsible for intelligence gathering. They do not have law enforcement authority.


How does the FBI differ from the Central Intelligence Agency?

The CIA and FBI are both members of the U.S. Intelligence Community. The CIA, however, has no law enforcement function. Rather, it collects and analyzes information that is vital to the formation of U.S. policy, particularly in areas that impact the security of the nation. The CIA collects information only regarding foreign countries and their citizens. Unlike the FBI, it is prohibited from collecting information regarding “U.S. Persons,” a term that includes U.S. citizens, resident aliens, legal immigrants, and U.S. corporations, regardless of where they are located.

What authority do FBI special agents have to make arrests in the United States, its territories, or on foreign soil?

In the U.S. and its territories, FBI special agents may make arrests for any federal offense committed in their presence or when they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be arrested has committed, or is committing, a felony violation of U.S. laws. On foreign soil, FBI special agents generally do not have authority to make arrests except in certain cases where, with the consent of the host country, Congress has granted the FBI extraterritorial jurisdiction.


Myth: The CIA spies on US citizens.

Reality: The Federal Bureau of Investigation has the lead on intelligence matters in the United States, especially those directed against US citizens. However, the CIA and the FBI work together as needed to protect the interests of US national security. The CIA does not collect information concerning the domestic activities of US citizens, but its foreign intelligence collection mission can be conducted anywhere.

Myth: The CIA arrests people who break the law.

Reality: The CIA, unlike the FBI, has no law enforcement authority. The Agency’s mission is foreign intelligence collection and analysis. If you have a law enforcement issue, contact your local police department or the US Department of Justice.

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