James Bennet Kessinger, 62, a retired analyst with the Central Intelligence Agency and a resident of the Washington area since 1939, died of a liver ailment Sunday at the Veterans Administration Medical Center here. He live in Kensington.

Mr. Kessinger joined the CIA in 1948. He held a managerial position in the analytical directorate, retiring in 1973. For the past five years, he had worked for the Hugh T. Peck Real Estate Co. in Wheaton.

He was born in Opelousas, La., and attended Southwestern Louisiana Institute on a boxing scholarship. After moving to Washington, he worked as a Capitol policeman and attended George Washington University on a work-study program.

During World War II, he served in the Office of Naval Intelligence, remaining here until joining the CIA.

Mr. Kessinger was a member of St. Paul's Methodist Church in Kensington, where he was chairman of Christian Social Concerns and president of the Men's Club. He was chairman of Bethesda Help and active in Extended Hands in the community.

Survivors include his wife, the former Aileen Phipps, of Kensington; four sons, James R., of Silver Spring, Richard B., of Ashton, Md., Karl L., of Crofton, Md., and John A., of Wheaton; three brothers, C. Glenn, of Opelousas, Charles D., of New Orleans, and Donovan J., of Baton Rouge; three sisters, Lottie Mocovis and Addie Childs, of of Opelousas, and Madge Johnson of Baton Rouge, and six grandchildren.