Key Events in CIA's History, header

CIA Key Events Timeline 1941 - 1977CIA Key Events Timeline 1984 - 2000

1941 11 July President Franklin D. Roosevelt appoints William J. Donovan as "Coordinator of Information." Donovan was a prominent lawyer who won the Congressional Medal of Honor as an Army colonel in World War I.
1942 13 June President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs a military order establishing the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and naming William J. Donovan as its Director. Donovan remained a civilian until 24 March 1943, when he was appointed brigadier general. He advanced to the rank of major general on 10 November 1944.
1945 1 October President Harry S. Truman's Executive Order 9621 abolishes the OSS and transfers its functions to the State and War Departments.
1946 22 January President Truman signs a Presidential Directive establishing the Central Intelligence Group to operate under the direction of the National Intelligence Authority. Truman names the first Director of Central Intelligence, Rear Admiral Sidney W. Souers, USNR, who was sworn in on the following day.
1947 18 September The National Security Act of 1947 establishes the National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to replace the National Intelligence Authority and the Central Intelligence Group.
1949 20 June The Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949 provides special administrative authorities and responsibilities for the Agency and the Director.
1955 4 August President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a bill authorizing $46 million for construction of a CIA Headquarters Building.
1956 13 January President Eisenhower establishes the President's Board of Consultants on Foreign Intelligence Activities, predecessor to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.
1959 3 November President Eisenhower presides at laying of cornerstone of CIA Headquarters Building in Langley, Virginia.
1961 17 April Invasion of Cuba by CIA-supported Cuban exiles at Bay of Pigs.
20 September First employees move into CIA Headquarters from various offices in Washington, D.C. area.
1962 15-28 October The Cuban Missile Crisis, precipitated by the CIA discovery in Cuba of Soviet-made nuclear missiles capable of reaching most of the United States.
1975 4 January President Gerald R. Ford signs Executive Order 11828 creating the Commission on CIA Activities within the United States. Chaired by Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, the Commission submitted its report on CIA domestic activities to the President on 6 June 1975.
27 January The Senate establishes its Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations With Respect to Intelligence Activities under the chairmanship of Senator Frank Church (D-ID). The Church Committee investigated the nation's intelligence activities for 15 months and was disestablished upon submission of its final report to the public on 26 April 1976.
19 February The House establishes its Select Committee on Intelligence to investigate allegations of "illegal or improper" activities of federal intelligence agencies. Its first chairman, Representative Lucien Nedzi (D-MI), was later replaced by Representative Otis G. Pike (D-NY). On 29 January 1976, two days before the Committee was scheduled to conclude its activities, the House voted to withhold public dissemination of the Committee's final report.
1976 19 May The Senate establishes a permanent Select Committee on Intelligence under the chairmanship of Senator Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI) to carry out oversight of the nation's intelligence organizations.
1977 14 July The House of Representatives establishes a permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, chaired by Representative Edward P. Boland (D-MA). It differs from the SSCI in that it has oversight jurisdiction over the CIA but shares with several other House committees legislative oversight authority over all other intelligence agencies.
1978 24 January President Carter signs Executive Order 12036 which reshapes the intelligence structure and provides explicit guidance on all facets of intelligence activities.
1981 20 October President Reagan reconstitutes the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and names 19 distinguished citizens outside of government to serve on the Board.
4 December President Reagan signs Executive Order 12333, which clarifies ambiguities of previous orders and sets clear goals for the Intelligence Community in accordance with law and regard for the rights of Americans.
1982 23 June President Reagan signs Public Law 97-200, the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, imposing criminal penalties on those who reveal the names of covert intelligence personnel.
1984 15 October President Reagan signs the Central Intelligence Agency Information Act of 1984, which exempts the Agency from the search and review requirements of the Freedom of Information Act with respect to operational and other sensitive files which cannot be released because of operational or security considerations.
1985 1 November Vice President Bush presides at the laying of the cornerstone for the Headquarters Building Expansion.
1987 27 May First annual memorial ceremony commemorates Agency employees who have died in the line of duty.
1991 March The New Headquarters Building, attached to the Original Headquarters Building, is completed and occupied.
1992 18 December Berlin Wall Monument Dedication.
1996 7 June Memorial Garden Dedication.
1997 18 September The Central Intelligence Agency celebrates its 50th Anniversary.
1999 26 April The CIA headquarters compound is dedicated as the George Bush Center for Intelligence as specified in the Intelligence Authorization Act for fiscal year 1999.
2000 4 May Dedication of Sherman Kent School for Analysis—a key part of Strategic Direction initiatives aimed at fostering analytic tradecraft.