Executive Order 12333, United States Intelligence Activities, § 3.5(b) (2010)
Covert action means an activity or activities of the United States Government to influence political, economic, or military conditions abroad, where it is intended that the role of the United States Government will not be apparent or acknowledged publicly, but does not include:
(1) Activities the primary purpose of which is to acquire intelligence, traditional counterintelligence activities, traditional activities to improve or maintain the operational security of United States Government programs, or administrative activities;
(2) Traditional diplomatic or military activities or routine support to such activities;
(3) Traditional law enforcement activities conducted by United States Government law enforcement agencies or routine support to such activities; or
(4) Activities to provide routine support to the overt activities (other than activities described in paragraph (1), (2), or (3)) of other United States Government agencies abroad.