On Friday, the Obama administration turned a bright spotlight onto the Russian government’s attempts to influence America’s presidential election. The White House announced that the president had ordered the intelligence community to perform a “full review” of election-related hacking, kicking off a sweeping investigation that officials say should be complete before President Obama’s second term ends in less than six weeks. That evening, administration officials leaked the results of a secret CIA investigation into Russia’s motives for launching election-related cyberattacks to The Washington Post. The CIA had concluded that Russia “intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency.”
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is a civilian foreign intelligence service of the United States federal government, 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 U.S. Intelligence Community (IC), the CIA reports to the Director of National Intelligence and is primarily focused on providing intelligence for the President and Cabinet.
Unlike the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which is a domestic security service, CIA has no law enforcement function and is mainly focused on overseas intelligence gathering, with only limited domestic collection. Though it is not the only U.S. government agency specializing in HUMINT, CIA serves as the national manager for coordination and deconfliction of HUMINT activities across the entire intelligence community. Moreover, CIA is the only agency authorized by law to carry out and oversee covert action on behalf of the President, unless the President determines that another agency is better suited for carrying out such action. It can, for example, exert foreign political influence through its tactical divisions, such as the Special Activities Division. (Wikipedia)