A freelance writer with military experience has brought together more than 500 historical, biographical, and general entries about the intelligence-gathering, covert-action agency established in 1947. Drawing from nearly 300 resources (books, articles, Web sites), the author describes events, lives, operations, and terms. Cross-references, black-and-white photos, acronyms and abbreviations, an organization chart, frequently asked questions sent to the CIA Web site, a list of directors and deputy directors, a current bibliography, and an accurate index add to the reference value.
- Current through March 2003, the encyclopedia also covers predecessor organizations such as the World War II-era Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Entry length varies from a few lines for Chief of outpost and Safe house to more than two pages, with the longer entries generally treating individuals such Aldrich Ames and Fidel Castro. Information is duplicated in some entries, such as in Walker, John Anthony, Jr and Walker family spy ring, and in individual entries on the Watergate figures. The work covers terrorism extensively, not only in the entry September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, which is one of the longest in the volume, but also in entries for Osama bin Laden and the Department of Homeland Security, among others.