Ray Steiner Cline (born 1918)

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At 1973 U.S. Intelligence Board, 4th from left

Ray Steiner Cline (June 4, 1918 – March 16, 1996) was an official at the United States Central Intelligence Agency best known for being the chief CIA analyst during the Cuban Missile Crisis.


Ray S. Cline was born in Anderson Township, Clark County, Illinois in 1918 and raised in Terre Haute, Indiana, graduating from Wiley High School in 1935. He earned a scholarship to study at Harvard University where he received two bachelor's degrees and a Ph.D..[1]

Cline was the father-in-law of [Stefan Alan Halper (born 1944)].


U.S. Government

In the midst of World War II, Cline joined the Office of Strategic Services. He became Chief of Current Intelligence in 1944. He later traveled to China where he worked with other legendary OSS officers such as John K. Singlaub, Richard Helms, E. Howard Hunt, Paul Helliwell, Robert Emmett Johnson, and Lucien Conein. In 1946, he was assigned to the Operations Division of the General Staff of the United States Department of War, tasked with writing the history of the Operations Division.

Cline joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1949. He was initially responsible for intelligence on Korea, but he failed to predict North Korea's 1950 invasion of South Korea, which began the Korean War. From 1951-1953, he served in Great Britain under the supervision of Brigadier General E. C. Betts. From 1953 to 1957, he was the CIA desk officer charged with monitoring the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China; in this capacity, he correctly predicted the Sino-Soviet split. In 1958 he became Chief of the CIA station in Taiwan, with his official title being chief of the United States Naval Auxiliary Communications Center.[1]

In 1962, Cline moved to Washington, D.C. as head of the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence, the agency's analytical branch. He replaced Robert Amory Jr who had held this Office in 1953-1962. Cline played a crucial role in the Cuban Missile Crisis when, under Cline's leadership, the Directorate of Intelligence concluded that the Soviet Union had shipped nuclear warheads to Cuba; Cline was among those who informed President John F. Kennedy of this development.[1]

Cline played a role in the formation of the World League for Freedom and Democracy in 1966.

Cline remained head of the Directorate of Intelligence until 1966, when, disillusioned with President Lyndon B. Johnson, he determined to leave the CIA. His old friend Richard Helms intervened to have Cline posted as Special Coordinator and Adviser to the United States Ambassador to Germany in Bonn.

In 1969, Cline returned to the United States when President Richard Nixon nominated him as Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research and he subsequently held this office from October 26, 1969 until November 24, 1973. In this capacity, he oversaw U.S. intelligence in the build-up to the Yom Kippur War.[3]


Cline left government service in 1973, becoming an executive director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies at Georgetown University. While at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, he became a prolific author on American intelligence and foreign policy. He also became an ardent defender of the CIA in testimony before the United States Congress and in the media.[1]

Cline was head of the U.S. Global Strategy Council.[4]

Books by Ray S. Cline

  • World War Two, War Department (1951)

  • World Power Assessment (1975)

  • CIA: Reality v Myth (1981)

  • Central Intelligence Agency Under Reagan, Bush and Casey (1982)

  • Terrorism: The Soviet Connection (1985)

  • Secrets, Spies and Scholars: The CIA from Roosevelt to Reagan (1986)

  • Western Europe in Soviet Global Strategy (1987)

  • Central Intelligence Agency: A Photographic History (1989)

  • Chiang Ching-Kuo Remembered: The Man and His Political Legacy (1993)

  • The Power of Nations in the 1990s: A Strategic Assessment (1995)