Director of Central Intelligence | WIKIPEDIA | MAY 18, 2017

The Office of United States Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) was the head of the American Central Intelligence Agency from 1946 to 2005, acting as the principal intelligence advisor to the President of the United States and the United States National Security Council, as well as the coordinator of intelligence activities among and between the various U.S. intelligence agencies (collectively known as the Intelligence Community from 1981 onwards).

The office existed from January 1946 to April 21, 2005, and was replaced on that day by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) as head of the Intelligence Community and the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (D/CIA) as head of the CIA.


Directors of Central Intelligence, 1946-2005 | CIA | MAY 18, 2017

A Long Look Back

For nearly six decades, the director of central intelligence (DCI) headed the world’s most important intelligence agency and oversaw the largest, most sophisticated, and most productive set of intelligence services ever known. From 1946 to 2005, 19 DCIs served through 10 changes in president; scores of major and minor wars, civil wars, military incursions, and other armed conflicts; two energy crises; a global recession; the specter of nuclear holocaust and the pursuit of arms control; the raising of the Berlin Wall and the fall of the Iron Curtain; the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; and the arrival of international terrorism on the shores of America and the war against it overseas. During that time, the DCIs participated in or oversaw several vital contributions that intelligence made to US national security: strategic warning, clandestine collection, independent analysis, overhead reconnaissance, support to war-fighters and peacekeepers, arms control verification, encouragement of democracy, and counter-terrorism.

The responsibilities of the DCI grew logarithmically after January 1946, when President Harry Truman whimsically presented the first DCI, Sidney Souers, with a black hat, black cloak, and wooden dagger and declared him the “Director of Centralized Snooping.”[1] At that time, the DCI had no CIA to run, no independent budget or personnel to manage, no authority to collect foreign secrets, and no power to bring about a consensus among agencies. Maybe that is why Souers, when asked not long after his appointment, “What do you want to do?” replied, “I want to go home.”[2]

Then came the National Security Act of 1947, which set forth a description of the DCI’s job:

There is a Director of Central Intelligence who shall . . . serve as head of the United States intelligence community . . . act as the principal adviser to the President for intelligence matters related to the national security; and . . . serve as head of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Two years later, the Central Intelligence Agency Act laid down the DCI’s and the Agency’s administrative rubrics. Over the next several decades, the DCI would directly manage thousands of employees


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RADM Sidney W. Souers, USN January 23, 1946 – June 10, 1946[1]Harry S. Truman

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Hoyt S. Vandenberg, USAF June 10, 1946 – May 1, 1947[2] Harry S. Truman

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RADM Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter, USN May 1, 1947 – October 7, 1950[3] Harry S. Truman

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Walter B. Smith, USA October 7, 1950 – February 9, 1953[4] Dwight D. Eisenhower

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Allen W. Dulles February 9, 1953 – February 26, 1953[5] Dwight D. Eisenhower

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Allen W. Dulles February 26, 1953 – November 29, 1961[5] John F. Kennedy

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John A. McCone November 29, 1961 – April 28, 1965[6] Lyndon B. Johnson

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VADM William F. Raborn, USN* April 28, 1965 – June 30, 1966[7] Lyndon B. Johnson

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Richard M. Helms June 30, 1966 – February 2, 1973[8] Richard Nixon

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James R. Schlesinger February 2, 1973 – July 2, 1973[9] Richard Nixon

Lt. Gen. Vernon A. Walters, US Army July 2, 1973 – September 4, 1973[9][10] Richard Nixon

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William E. Colby September 4, 1973 – January 30, 1976[11] Gerald Ford

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George H. W. Bush January 30, 1976 – January 20, 1977[12] Gerald Ford

E. Henry Knoche January 20, 1977 – March 9, 1977[12][13]Jimmy Carter

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ADM Stansfield Turner, USN March 9, 1977 – January 20, 1981[14] Jimmy Carter

William J. Casey January 28, 1981 – January 29, 1987[15] Ronald Reagan

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Robert M. Gates December 18, 1986 – May 26, 1987[16] Ronald Reagan

William H. Webster May 26, 1987 – August 31, 1991[17] George H. W. Bush

Richard J. Kerr September 1, 1991 – November 6, 1991[17][18] George H. W. Bush

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Robert M. Gates November 6, 1991 – January 20, 1993[16] George H. W. Bush

William Oliver Studeman January 21, 1993 – February 5, 1993[19] Bill Clinton

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R. James Woolsey February 5, 1993 – January 10, 1995[20] Bill Clinton

William Oliver Studeman January 11, 1995 – May 9, 1995[19] Bill Clinton

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John M. Deutch May 10, 1995 – December 15, 1996[21] Bill Clinton

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George J. Tenet[1] December 16, 1996 – July 11, 1997[22] Bill Clinton

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George J. Tenet July 11, 1997 – July 11, 2004[22]George W. Bush

John E. McLaughlin July 12, 2004 – September 24, 2004[23] George W. Bush

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Porter J. Goss September 24, 2004 – April 21, 2005[24] George W. Bush

“Director of Central Intelligence” position replaced by Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and Director of National Intelligence.

*Retired from Navy prior to being named DCI.