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December 20, 2016
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October 18, 2007
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June 16, 1980
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Staff Meeting Minutes of 16 June 1980 Approved For Release 2007/10/29: CIA-RDP84B00130R000600010230-4 ? TOP SECRET ? 25X1 25X1 McMahon called attention to an 11 June 1980 memo from the SSCI requesting information on the nature and scope of U.S. intelligence relationships with since the early 1950s. He said this 25X1 wherein Mr. Carlucci advised the DDO and OLC to review the Waller report to identify what might be passed to the Committee without compromising sources and methods. Because the SSCI request encompases the entire intelligence community, Mr. Carlucci asked to gather appropriate inputs from 25X1 community elements. (Action: , and CTS) 0 25X1 25X1 request will be difficult to handle. He noted that the SSCI year-long study on this topic is nearing completion. A brief discussion followed General Gorman have quelled the teapot tempest regarding net assessments. Clarke said he believes his talks last week with General Pustay and 25X1 He said a colloquium with Defense representatives will begin today as planned, and the session will focus on comparative general purpose Clarke reported Dick Giza, HPSCI Staffer, has requested a copy of our post-mortem of the Soviet brigade in Cuba. Clarke said he told Giza a copy would be provided at the appropriate time, noting that NFIB principals have not yet reviewed the post-mortem.F I 25X1 Clarke called attention to General Tighe's memo of 30 May requesting DCI assistance, i.e., DCI signature on letters to Senators Bayh and Nunn and Representatives Boland and White, endorsing legislation authorizing the Defense Intelligence School to award the degree of Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence. Student enrollment includes officers from NSA, DIA, CIA, FBI, and military services. This precipitated a brief discussion wherein it was a reed this matter should be carefully coordinated with OTR and OLC. 25X1 25X1 Approved For Release 2007/10/29: CIA-RDP84B00130R000600010230-4 Approved For Release 2007/10/29: CIA-RDP84BOOl30R000600010230-4 ? Clarke noted an item in today's Executive Summary that a Panamanian air force plane crashed this morning in El Salvador. He said the plane was carrying weapons including 22,000 rounds of ammunition destined for Salvadorian leftists. Clarke reported the Soviets are getting ready for a third testing of the Typhoon missile, noting the two previous tests had failed. He said our Mr. Carlucci reported a long but successful session with the IOB last Friday, noting that Tom Farmer queried him on our interest in transnational data flows. Mr. Carlucci asked if we have anyone working this problem, e.g., interlinking of computer systems, banking systems, etc. Davis commented that this matter was a major feature of PRM-35 a year ago; he said the Office of Political Anal sis among others delved deeply into this 25X1 problem. Mr. Carlucci requested to prepare a note for his signature to Farmer on what has been done on is topic. (Action: NFAC) 0 25X1 25X1 said the HPSCI will mark up S. 2284 on 18 June and will introduce 25 1 from the Attorney General. Mr. Carlucci noted also to that the precises he provided which were prepared for the President on specific covert actions can be used in briefing our oversight committees without making them aware that these are the same precises rovided to the President. McMahon concurred that this would be helpful. 25X1 its companion bill re Charters Legislation. He said also we will see today the Republican version of Charters Legislation. Relatedly, Mr. Carlucci said he was disappointed that Attorney General Civiletti intends not to testify on Identities Legislation and, on OLC's advice, he will phone Associate Attorney General Shenefield in an effort to gain active support Wortman reported yesterday's heavy thunderstorm resulted in damage to 125X1 camper parked on the Headquarters compound.F__1 25X1 looked into for possible breach of security. McMahon noted that Loch Johnson, a professor at the University of Georgia and former HPSCI Staffer, authored an article in the recent issue of Foreign Policy--"The CIA: Controlling the Quiet Option"--copy attached. He said the substance of the article raises serious questions re any - --- ---- -- _-- - S ----J L.. AA._ !`-__l..--2 --1.-A 1L-4. 1L. .. L 25X1 2 TOP SECRET Approved For Release 2007/10/29: CIA-RDP84BOOl30R000600010230-4 Approved For Release 2007/10/29: CIA-RDP84B00130R000600010230-4 Approved For Release 2007/10/29: CIA-RDP84B00130R000600010230-4 Approved For Release 2007/10/29: CIA-RDP84B00130R000600010230-4 0 FOREIr':, ':1LICI Summer 1950 The CIA: CONTROLLING THE QUIET OPTION by Loch K. Johnson In the new mood of American assertive- ness, 'the cry is going out from Washington and the nation to unleash America's spymas- ters. With startling abruptness, the inteili- gence pendulum is plunging back through the modest arc of reform achieved painstakingly over the past four years. Its momentum threatens to sweep aside all vestiges of mean- ingful control over the U.S. intelligence agen- cies instituted by Congress and the executive. From the moment intelligence reform be- came a serious possibility in 1975, strong forces resisted it. The abuses and failures doc- umented in detail, that year by Senate and House investigating committees were suffi- ciently serious to overcome these forces, at least long enough to establish permanent in- telligence committees in both the Senate and the House. But the more than 90 other recom- mendations for reform presented by the inves- tigators languished. The single significant ex- ception was a 1978 statute tightening pro- hibitions on the heedless use of wiretaps. Now, the fall of Shah Mohammad Reza Pah- lavi of Iran, the kidnapping of U.S. embassy officials, and the Soviet invasion of Afghani- stan have thrown most intelligence reform ef- forts from neutral into reverse. In May 1980 the omnibus charter pro-_ duced in 1978 by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence concluded its lengthy and complex metamorphosis. Originally a huge. 263-page bill, the legislation rested momen- tarily at a second major stage of 172 pages earlier this year before emerging rapidly and dramatically in a final, spare form of three pages. This end stage was given the name In- telligence Oversight Act of 1980. Ina curios- ity of nature, the frog has become a tadpole. LOCH K. JOHNSON is an associate professor of political science at the University of Georgia, Athens. ? For the most part, the debate on intelligence reform has run counter to the direction of greater legislative control envisaged by Seri ator Frank Church (D.-Idaho) and then Rep- resentative Oris Pike (D.-New York) fou_ long years ago. Indeed, in light of the current I mood, many fear that as the superpowers' slide toward a new cold war, the intelligences agencies will slip back quietly into their famil- I iar ways. Most of what they did in the old+ days was laudatory, often indispensable. sometimes heroic. But with lax external; checks, abuses inevitably arose. Surely Amer-' icans have not forgotten so quickly the undis puted findings of the J 975 congressional i -! quiries: the unlawful mail openings. the+ break-ins, the wiretaps, the interceptions ofl cables and telegrams, the questionable opera- tions abroad, the bungling, the inefficiency,) and the sheer stupidity of so many schemes. This unhappy evidence sums to far less: than the total performance -of the Central l Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau l of Investigation, or any other intelligence l agency. The congressional investigators came away from their inquiry with a high regard: for the overwhelming majority of men andj women in these demanding services. Nonethe- less, these sad events-horrors, in some in- stances-did occur, and they cast a dark shadow across the entire intelligence estab- lishment. They cannot be allowed to happen, again. Yet if the counsel of those who wishI to brush aside the few safeguards now in' place is followed, a recurrence of these night- mares is a distinct risk. This is why the cur-. rent debate on intelligence reform is so impor- tant. The CIA's Bete Noire A central topic in the debate is an amend- ment to the 1974 Foreign Assistance Act, sponsored by former Senator Harold E. Hughes (D.-Iowa) and the late Representative Leo J. Ryan (D.-California). It is known as. the Hughes-Ryan Act. The legislation - re- quires the president himself to approve in writing all important covert actions, namely. Approved For Release 2007/10/29: CIA-RDP84B00130R000600010230-4 Approved For Release 2007/10/29: CIA-RDP84B00130R000600010230-4 ? those designed secretly to influence events in a way favorable to U.S. foreign policy. It also establishes a procedure for informing Con- gress of these decisions. Known by the euphemism special activi- ties in the current administration and often called the quiet option at CIA headquarters., covert action is a step between using diplo mats, on the one hand, and sending in the Marines, on the other. Covert actions repre- sent only a small fraction of the resources expended by the CIA. In the estimate of for- mer CIA Director William Colby, they con- sume around 5 per cent of the agency's budget. a sharp decline from a decade ago. The option remains controversial. however. because much damage can be done even` within this low budget ceiling and because the pressures are strong in high places to ex pand dram atically the use of covert action. Critics of the Hughes-Ryan Act view it as the major obstacle to the expansion of covert actions. Bluntly put, the CIA wants to rip the Hughes-Ryan Act right out of the U.S. code book. The offending language reads: No funds appropriated under the author- ity of this or any other Act may be ex- pended by or on behalf of the [CIA] for operations in foreign countries, other than activities intended solely for obtaining necessary intelligence, unless and until the President finds that each such operation is important to the national security of the United States and reports, in a timely fashion, a description and scope of such operation to the appropriate committees of the Congress... . The primary bete noire of Hughes-Ryan, from the CIA's point of view, is found in the last phrase. Appropriate committees came to mean four in the House and four in the Sen- ate: the committees on appropriations, armed services, intelligence, and foreign affairs. CIA officials felt eight were simply too many. The agency has a ready solution to the Hughes-Ryan problem: repeal the act alto- gether. If this proves impossible, then at least limit the reporting requirement to the House) and Senate intelligence committees. Better still, combine these two committees into a single joint committee on intelligence. The argument for the reduction from eigh~~ to two committees holds great surface appeal. ? Fewer committees might shrink the potential for leaks, and agency briefers would no longer i need to hop from one committee to anotheri But the argument has serious flaws. In the first place, the possibility that sensi- tive material might-be leaked out of commit tee has been greatly exaggerated. Opponents of Hughes-Ryan often claim that 200 or more: individuals must be briefed on covert actions.' In reality the true figure is around 46 mem- bers and 17 staffers, or a total of 63 people. Moreover. since the establishment of the in telligence committees, leaks regarding covert, action have been almost nonexistent. Further-i more, a leak could come just as easily from the l executive branch, where far more people-at times over 100-are aware of impending covert action. The CIA lobbied hard for the reduction to the two reporting committees now included in the Oversight Act. The agency will no doubt discover, though, that other key members, whom it can ill-afford to refuse, will want in- formation directly. Today, more members demand to know these plans-and rightly soI if they are to perform their duties in harmony! with the rest of the government. But to speak of appropriate committees is to overlook the more important provisions of the Hughes-Ryan Act. If anything, that law needs to be strengthened, not diluted or revoked. The act applies only to the CIA. All a president has to do in order to avoid.Con- gress is assign the covert action mission to another agency. The military would be the obvious choice. Another shortcoming of the act concerns the language defining covert action as."opera- tions in foreign countries, other than activi- ties intended solely for obtaining necessary intelligence. This means that what the CIA actually spends much more time doing-col- lecting intelligence covertly-does not have; .to be reported to Congress. The agency must) inform the congressmen only of what it con-~ siders important secret political, economic, paramilitary, and propaganda operations.! Not only is intelligence collection excluded,, but so are'counterintelligence operations, de- spite the fact that both of these activities can hold high risk for the nation. The National Security Council (\'sC) be i came aware of the need to be informed of all. sensitive covert operations. not just covercl, - u-,,4 !;,NUED. Approved For Release 2007/10/29: CIA-RDP84B00130R000600010230-4 Approved For Release 2007/10/29: CIA-RDP84B00130R000600010230-4 ? ? actions. Unfortunately the two intelligence) committees remain hesitant to do what the \SC has done already: establish procedures for the routine reporting of sensitive covert action, counterintelligence operations. and collection proposals., Not everything the CIA does in these areas should be reported: most of these activities are uncontroversial. The appropriate rule of the thumb for Congress should be: What is significant enough to go to the NSC should go to the intelligence com- mittees and, arguably, to the leaders of the other six committees as well. A Tangled Knot Other improvements in the Hughes-Ryan Act would include clarification of the phrases "in a timely fashion" and "unless and until" and the word "important." Normally under Hughes-Ryan the CIA will contact the con- gressional committees within 24 hours- usually immediately following the presi- dent's approval. The wise inclination of the CIA is to test congressional opinion before) proceeding, especially within the intelligence committees where CIA budgets are authorized. Since the passage of Hughes-Ryan, only once has congressional reaction been sufficiently j negative to reverse a presidential decision. In that instance, the committees were informed prior to implementation. But nothing in the Hughes-Ryan- Act guarantees that the CIA; will always provide 24-hour notification. The recent covert action involving the se-' cret transport of Americans out of Iran with; the help of Canadian officials in Tehran was not reported to Congress until over a week after its approval and implementation- The, ill-starred U.S. hostage rescue attempt in Iranl also reportedly relied in part upon CIA sup- port, yet apparently no members of Congress were informed of the operation in advance. Another tangled knot in the Hughes-Ryan Act is the definition of what is important. A tendency reportedly has grown within the CIA to forward only a few broad covert action categories to the president and make in-house decisions on all the supposedly routine ones. Although these routine operations are al- legedly offsprings of earlier presidential find- ings, this permits the agency to by-pass the White House and Congress. Here lies danger for real mischief. To avoid i excessive CIA discretion, Congress ought to specify explicitly what is important. Certainly any covert operation costing much money (perhaps over 5200,000). representing radical departures from previous policy, targeting' terrorist groups, employing false propaganda, funding prominent foreign Ieadersorpolitical parties, or involving paramilitary action seems ~ to deserve presidential approval and a report to Congress. The CIA opposes the statutory establish- ment of precise definitions or rules. preferring ! the flexibility of its own internal guidelines, which, upon request, it is prepared to share with the intelligence committees. The diffi- culty with this arrangement is that CIA di- rectors quietly waive guidelines when they wish, without informing Congress. Rules this easily bent are poor deterrents against abuse. Therefore, several improvements' in the Hughes-Ryan Act are necessary for the. effec- tive oversight of covert operations. The num- ber of individuals, although not the number of committees, briefed on covert operations needs to be reduced: The act needs to apply to all components of government, not just to the CIA; to cover all NSC-approved covert operations, not just covert action: to stipu- late prior notification before planned execu- tion; and to define what is important with more precision to assure that Congress is informed about all high-r~iik operations.; Against these strong prescriptions, how does the Senate Intelligence Oversight Act of 1980 measure up? Built-in Escape Hatches In several respects the diminutive Over- sight Act takes a surprisingly long and cer- tainly lonely step toward the reforms recom- mended originally by Church and Pike. _ First, the Oversight Act requires reporting only to the two intelligence committees, as desired by the CIA. More important, the act also requires by law-not just by resolution, as before-that each intelligence committee "shall promptly call to the attention" of its parent chamber or appropriate committees "any matter relating to intelligence activities" that requires attention. With this provision. the CIA will not have to run from one committee to another eight times over, and, at the same time, all com- ., '14T111-00- Approved For Release 2007/10/29: CIA-RDP84B00130R000600010230-4 Approved For Release 2007/10/29: CIA-RDP84B00l30R000600010230-4 ? ? mittees will have access to intelligence infor-11 mation. Oddly. the net result is to transfer'' the obligations of a CIA briefing from the agency to the intelligence committee. Surely the CIA would prefer to explain directly its own policies to interested congressmen, if only to protect itself. Whether the flow of information permitted by the act will work in practice, only time can tell- Much will depend upon how aggressively the six tradi- tional committees press for information. They may be content to rely simply on their representatives to serve as listening posts on the intelligence committees, or they may de- mand additional avenues of access to the CIA for their leaders. Second, the Oversight Act encompasses all components of the government engaged in intelligence, not just the CIA. Third, the act takes a reasonably strong stand on the key issue of prior notification. It requires that the intelligence committees be kept "fully and currently informed of all intelligence activi- ties ... including any significant anticipated intelligence activity. . . ." The legislation notes, however, that the actual approval of Congress for a covert action is not required, skirting a constitutional confrontation. The act has built-in escape hatches for the president. He may avoid advance notice, according to the preamble, in order to protect "sources and methods," or if he "determines it is essential to limit prior notice to meet extraordinary circumstances affecting vital interests of the United States." But, even in "extraordinary circumstances," the president must report in advance to the chairman and ranking minority members on each intelli- gence. committee, plus four other congress- men: the Speaker and minority leader in the House, and the majority and minority lead- ers in the Senate. And. "in a timely fashion." the president must inform the full committee about the operation and "provide a statement of the reasons for not giving prior notice." The act has additional strengths. Brevity is one. Earlier versions were sufficiently com- plex and lengthy to alienate all but the most dedicated students of intelligence reform in Congress. More substantively, the act stands steadfastly in favor of congressional access to intelligence data in the executive branch. Its. language requires the executive to furnish any , information or material conce.rning intelligence activities.- including illegai intel- ligence activities and significant intelligence! failures. Stating this, even in law, is one thing, of course: actually obtaining docu- ments is quite another, as Church and espe- cially Pike discovered in 1975. Finally, the. legislation abandons some dubious provisionsi included in its earlier stages, such as ambigu- ous references to the War Powers ResolutionI of 1973, which requires the president to con- sult with Congress before entering into hos- tilities, as another means of avoiding prior reporting. If nothing else, the three pages of the Oversight Act provide admirable relief from normal government long-windedness. Un- fortunately, the brevity often reflects evasion of key issues rather than devotion to pithy regulations. First among its apparent weaknesses is and ambiguity over what operations should be! reported. Through silence on that point, the, act endorses the recent CIA failure to report on covert operations if the NSC-hardly an impartial observer-decides that those opera- tions are covered by a category of already approved special activities. A category may- grant sweeping authority, for example, to conduct counterterrorist operations on behalf of U.S. interests in Latin America.This kind of blank check could conceal many sins and, the agency would never have to report back to Congress on the details of the counterterrorist program. Questions such as what groups are truly terrorists, as opposed to legitimate pro- testers. and what methods should be used against them are too important to be left to a few covert action specialists in the CIA and; the NSC. The intelligence committees shouldl insist that the CIA steer clear of categorical requests, except in the most innocuous mstances. Second. like the Hughes-Ryan Act, some portions of the Oversight Act also seem to allow CIA avoidance of reports on risky col- lection and counterintelligence operations. In one section, the president is required to; report on "all intelligence activity," but later he is permitted to remain mute. on operations "intended solely for obtaining necessary in- 'S?NTL1V UED Approved For Release 2007/10/29: CIA-RDP84B00l30R000600010230-4 Approved For Release 2007/10/29: CIA-RDP84B00130R000600010230-4 ? ? telligence," the same exemption included in Hughes-Ryan. What the language requires! in one clause, it gives up in another. Third, the act-and for that matter the entire debate-ignores the central issue of when, if ever, covert action should be used. What is its place in U.S. foreign policy? The Oversight Act fails to set clear standards, other than retaining the Hughes-Ryan re- quirement that the president find the covert action "important to the national security." Congress should set more explicit limits on the executive branch. The word "important" is rarely,, if ever, interpreted in the strict sense understood by Church in 1975. When former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance testi- fied that the covert action option should be employed only if "absolutely essential to they national security." Church agreed and recom- mended this option only when necessary "to deal with grave threats to American security." Preventing Mischief The intelligence committees have drifted far from this demanding and wise criterion. A high priority of the intelligence commit- tees, and the committees on foreign affairs, should be to examine this issue more closely in order to evaluate the continued usefulness of this policy and its compatibility with American principles and ideals. Many other intelligence issues of great im- portance to foreign policy have been shelved on Capitol Hill, such as the rights of Ameri- cans to be free of CIA surveillance abroad or the hiring by the CIA of U.S. Journalists, clergymen, and professors as espionage agents. But while further legislative debate and lawmaking remain important. statutory im= provements alone are insufficient. To achieve a thorough examination of covert operations, members must be willing to study thick briefing books, wade through complicated budget requests, sit through long hearings, visit field stations, and ask tough questions in closed sessions where there are no television cameras to provide an extra incentive. Some members are willing to do this. others are not. Ultimately, this dimension-call it -motivation-is far more significant than changes in the Hughes-Ryan Act. During the debates on intelligence reform -in the past, now, and in the future-par- ticipants give attention to the merits of various legislative proposals; but beneath the staff research, the speeches, the colloquies, the lobbying, and the press conferences flow the strong currents of predisposition. Before seeing any reform proposal. some members will be deeply wedded to the ex- pansion of covert action discretion, regardless of risk. For them, the words of a 1954 report on government operations, the Doolittle Re- port, still ring true: "If the U.S. is to survive, long-standing American concepts of 'fair play' must be reconsidered. We must develop effective espionage and counterespionage serv- ices. We must learn to subvert, sabotage, and destroy our enemies by more clever, more so- phisticated and more effective methods than those used against us." For others, a traditional deference to the president in foreign affairs will weigh against congressional supervision of intelligence ac- tivities. During the debate on the 1973 War Powers Resolution, Senator Jacob Javits (R.- New York) said to Senator Barry Goldwater (R.-Arizona): "So really you are opposed to my bill because you have less faith in the Congress than you have in the president. Isn't that true?" Replied Goldwater. "To be perfectly honest with you. you are right." Who supports what during the delibera- tions over intelligence reform depends fre- quently upon opinions far more deep seated than questions of prior notification or cate- gorical findings. Ultimately, this discussion represents yet another chapter in the great debate over U.S.-Soviet relations and over the proper balance between Congress and the f president in the conduct of foreign policy. Following the Vietnam war and the Watergate scandal, Congress sought to trim -executive powers and restore some semblance of constitutional balance. Now as U.S.-Soviet' relations deteriorate amid threats to American I citizens around the world, legislators wonder aloud if they have gone too far. Torn between a distrust of presidential power, on the one hand, and dangers from abroad, on the other, hand, their response has been ambivalent: unleash the CIA or tighten the reins? So far the answer has been equivocal on several key issues, as wary legislators joined with a distracted White House in an uneasy alliance based on ambiguity. Although im- Qf& j U7,-1 Z, Approved For Release 2007/10/29: CIA-RDP84B00130R000600010230-4 Approved For Release 2007/10/29: CIA-RDP84B00130R000600010230-4 portant, if left to stand alone the Intelligence Oversight Act of 1980 will represent no more than a few fence posts around which the intelligence agencies may pass with little effort. In the past. slack safeguards had an unfortunate result: uncontrolled mischief abroad and erosion of liberties at home. Approved For Release 2007/10/29: CIA-RDP84B00130R000600010230-4