Statement to Employees Honoring Richard Lehman
General Michael V. Hayden Honoring Richard Lehman
February 27, 2007
On 17 February, our Agency lost one of its great veterans, and our country lost a pioneer in the field of national security. Richard Lehman, who created the forerunner of the PDB and briefed every president from Kennedy to Reagan before his retirement in 1982, passed away in Concord, New Hampshire at the age of 83.
His breakthrough came in June 1961, when President Kennedy requested a concise summary of the day's critical intelligence issues. Dick Lehman quickly put together the President's Intelligence Checklist (PICL, pronounced “pickle”). He called it “a single publication, no sources barred, covering the whole ground, and written as much as possible in the President's language rather than in officialese.”
As much as we view the PDB as a fixture of our business, in 1961 the idea revolutionized how CIA served its primary customer. President Kennedy liked the PICL from the start, commenting on the articles and asking lots of questions. As one of Dick's colleagues recalled, “For current intelligence people, this was heaven on earth! A President who read your material thoughtfully and told you what he liked and did not like!”
A veteran of World War II, Dick joined CIA as a Soviet analyst in 1949 and eventually moved to the Office of Current Intelligence (OCI), where he helped develop the craft of current intelligence. He directed both OCI and the Office of Strategic Research, served as Deputy DCI for National Intelligence, and became Chairman of the National Intelligence Council. In an oral history excerpted in Studies in Intelligence (vol. 43, no. 2, 1999), Dick recounts his career's highlights. I recommend it as an insightful history of our Agency's early support to the White House.
In 1997, Dick Lehman was chosen as one of 50 Trailblazers who helped build CIA. Please join me in honoring the memory of one of our own who left such a rich and enduring legacy for his Agency and country.