Can FBI Investigate CIA?

Having been widely showcased across movies, TV shows and news media, there is a great deal of awareness about government agencies such as the FBI and CIA. Most stories are presented in a positive manner, which has ensured a sense of confidence and pride for these agencies among the masses.

However, it also brings up some conflicting questions about these agencies. For example, many people ask if the FBI can investigate the CIA and vice versa? For answers, it is necessary to delve deeper into the role of these agencies.

Can the FBI investigate a CIA agent?

The straight answer to whether the FBI can investigate the CIA is ‘yes’. There have been cases in the past when the FBI has investigated the CIA. For example, the FBI had suspected the CIA’s role when Chilean President Salvador Allende was assassinated. An investigation was conducted in 1994. Similarly, there were allegations that CIA was using torture techniques during their investigations into 9/11 attacks. This angle was also investigated by the FBI.

Approval needed from the Attorney General

Even though the FBI can potentially investigate the CIA, it is not as straightforward as in other standard cases. To investigate CIA activities or their agents, the FBI will need approval from the Attorney General. The Attorney General functions as the head of the Department of Justice. This organization regulates both the FBI and the CIA. The functioning of both the FBI and CIA are governed by various government agencies including the Congress. There are plenty of checks and balances to ensure that none of the stakeholders are influenced by their personal biases and opinions.

Who is more powerful – the FBI or CIA?

Across movies and TV shows, both the FBI and CIA are showcased as agencies with a lot of power, resources and influence. This is quite true, as these agencies have special privileges. For example, CIA agents do not have to adhere to specific laws such as the Freedom of Information Act. As seen in movies, CIA agents are depicted to have unlimited powers and the freedom to eliminate anyone they want. This sometimes creates the perception that the CIA is more powerful than the FBI.

However, the reality is that the FBI and CIA have distinct roles and jurisdictions. So, it would be like comparing apples to oranges. While both are federal agencies, the FBI primarily focuses on domestic law enforcement. It also handles counterintelligence within the USA. So, if any CIA official is involved in crime or anti-national activities, they could be investigated by the FBI. However, relevant permissions will be needed, as already discussed above.

On the other hand, the CIA is primarily focused on international intelligence gathering. The CIA also conducts covert operations at overseas locations to protect national security. The CIA does not have any major role to play in domestic law enforcement. Its operations are focused outside the country.

While the FBI can investigate the CIA and vice-versa, such cases are quite rare. In reality, both agencies usually work together on several cases. It is their teamwork that has kept the United States safe from the nefarious plans of internal and external enemies.

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