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Difference Between Interpol and CIA

Interpol vs CIA

Both Interpol (long form International Criminal Police Organization) and CIA (acronym for Central Intelligence Agency) are agencies that are widely recognized around the world.

For instance, Interpol is a worldwide organization that facilitates information, communication, and cooperation among law enforcement agencies around the world, usually in the jurisdiction of its member states. The organization is concerned about the resolution of committed crimes around the world. These crimes are considered as posing a threat to public security and well-being. Its main function is to act as an administrative liaison and coordinate between two states or national law enforcement agencies in pursuit of criminals.
Interpol actions are often done with the public’s knowledge or awareness.

Interpol is under the governing body of the Interpol General Assembly with its staff from its member states. The headquarters of the agency is located in Quai Charles de Gaulle, Lyon, France. It has 187 member states and 18 sub-bureaus around the world. Interpol was initiated in 1914 but formally formed in 1923. It was formed in the course of two International Criminal Police Congresses. The current name was preceded by the name International Criminal Police.

As an organization, it is only smaller compared to the United Nations as an intergovernmental body.

On the other hand, the CIA is a civilian agency under the jurisdiction of the United States government and specifically under its head of state. The agency is under the United States government and the Director of National Intelligence. As the name infers, the CIA is an agency concerned in the investigation and intelligence gathering about parties (foreign or domestic individuals, corporations, or any subject of interest) that involve national security and interests of the United States. Intelligence is often in the form of research and background checks. Information is given to key U.S. officials as well as policy makers.

Aside from intelligence gathering, the CIA is also involved in paramilitary actions and covert operations. It can be identified that CIA operations are done in secrecy or in very discreet methods.
The CIA was created in 1977 due to the National Security Act. It succeeded the Office of Strategic Service. The agency has a great impact on the U.S. and other countries’ foreign policies.
The CIA headquarters are located in Langley, McLean in the State of Virginia. It is often known with the following monikers: Langley or the Agency. Its members and affiliates are often Americans.


1. Both Interpol and the CIA are widely recognized agencies.
2. Interpol and the CIA differ in many things. First, both agencies differ in their nature and function. Interpol is a worldwide agency that eases communication and cooperation between law enforcement agencies of its member states. It is mostly considered as a law enforcement agency. Meanwhile, the CIA is a civilian intelligence agency which includes intelligence gathering, covert operations, and paramilitary actions as its duties. As its name implies, it is mostly concerned with intelligence.
3. Also, the origins of both agencies are different. Interpol was the result of two International Police Congresses to make easier communication and cooperation in catching criminals and resolving crime. On the other hand, the CIA is a successor of the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) that formed during World War II as an intelligence agency.
4. The headquarters of Interpol are located in France. Interpol also traces its origins to 1914 but was only formally formed in 1923. Meanwhile, the CIA was formed in 1947 by virtue of the National Security Act. Its headquarters are in Virginia, U.S.
5. Interpol serves its 187 member states and works in the public. On the other hand, the CIA functions for the U.S. government and its interests, both local and international. Activities of this agency are often classified as top secret.

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