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The FBI, the CIA and the NSA

By Doug Johnson VOA News, 2002

There are three American government agencies – the FBI, the CIA and the NSA which are responsible in different ways for the safety and security of the United States and its people.

The letters FBI represent the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the main investigating agency of the Department of Justice. The FBI investigates more than two-hundred-fifty different kinds of federal crimes such as kidnapping and hijacking. It gathers information about people or groups it believes are dangerous to national security. It helps capture dangerous criminals and spies.

The FBI also provides services to other law enforcement agencies in the United States and in foreign countries. It has the world’s largest collection of fingerprints and one of the world’s best crime laboratories.

The letters CIA represent the Central Intelligence Agency. This agency collects foreign intelligence information to help top government officials make decisions about national security.

The CIA may take part in secret activities if ordered by the President. It is barred by law from collecting information about the activities of American citizens within the United States. It is also restricted in the collection of intelligence directed against American citizens. Such collection is permitted only if there is a reason to believe an American is involved in spying or international terrorism activities.

NSA is the National Security Agency. The NSA also provides intelligence information to American civilian and military leaders. The NSA protects all important secret information that is kept or sent through United States government equipment. It invents new technology through scientific research. It develops secret methods of sending information. It also develops methods of reading secret information used by other governments. And it is a centre of foreign language study and research.

All three of these agencies have different parts to play in protecting the national security of the United States. Agency officials are working to increase cooperation since the terrorist attacks against the United States September, 11. The FBI recently announced that it will increase its anti-terror forces under a major re-organization plan.





For centuries philosophers, psychologists and anthropologists have tried to explain why men behave violently. Some psychologists think that violence or aggressiveness is an instinct which we are all born with. We need violent motivation in order to survive, they say, just as animals do. Aggressiveness is connected with courage, energy and will. Besides this positive side, aggressiveness also has a negative side. If we can’t satisfy our needs safely, we’ll satisfy them in a way that hurts others. According to this theory, society can’t get rid of aggressiveness, but it can provide safer outlets for our violent needs.

Other psychologists think that aggressiveness is something which we learn as children, just as we learn to walk, to talk. The world in which we live is aggressive and violent. According to this theory, if we really wanted to get rid of violence, we could. We must only learn non-violent means of achieving our goals.

Another approach says that aggressiveness is always the result of frustration. Every time we do not get what we want, that is whenever our wishes are frustrated, we become aggressive. According to this theory we must find out lets for our aggressiveness which do not hurt others. Since we will probably always face some kind of frustration, we will always have to live with our need to be violent.

According to this theory there are two separate kinds of aggressiveness with different origins and different social consequences. One kind of aggressiveness is an instinct which we are born with: our need to defend ourselves against an attack. We share this instinct with animals. Without it we could not survive, but we must also learn to use it properly. The second kind of aggressiveness is entirely negative, because it serves no purpose and is only destructive. Some people are dominated by their need to be violent. This form of aggressiveness is not an instinct but is probably the result of a small child’s very negative experience with the world around him. According to the biological and social theory, it is extremely difficult to change a person who has become aggressive in the destructive way.


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