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Approved For Release 2007/06/21 : CIA-RDP99-00498R000100050114-3 RADIO TV t trui-i i 4435 WISCONSIN AVENUE, Agronksy at Large STATION WETA TV PBS Network February 18, 1977 10:00 PM CITY Washington, D.C. SUBJECT Interview With George Bush ANNOUNCER: Agronsky at Large. Tonight, a conversation with the former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, George Bush. MARTIN AGRONSKY: Good evening. In this capital city, knowledge is the power. And that's what makes any man who's the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA, the possessor .of an awesome power. In world crises, the Director knows what the President of the United States knows, and he knows it as soon as, or sometimes even before the President does,.because that's his job. George Bush was Director of the CIA for a year until January 20th. He was appointed by President Ford after having represented the U.S. in Communist China. He served Richard Nixon first as U.S. Ambassador, and he was Chairman of the Republican National Committee during Watergate -- served Mr. Nixon loyally ,'into Watergate -- forced Nixon to resign. Mr. Bush, when you took your seat as Director of the CIA, did you find that the world looked like much more dangerous place from there than you had anticipated? GEORGE BUSH: Not immediately, Martin, but as one looks at the totality of the information, I do feel that it was -- it's more dangerous in some ways than I thought when I went there. On the other, I think that there are some real opportunities now to make the world more peaceful. But, yes, I am concerned, and have been concerned about the -- some of the trouble spots in the world. I'm concerned about OFFICES IN: NEW YORK ? LOS ANGELES ? CHICAGO ? DETROIT ? AND OTHER PRINCIPAL CITIES Material supplied by Radio TV Reports, Inc. may be used for file and reference purposes only. It may not be reproduced, sold or publicly demonstrated or exhibited. STAT .; .,x Approved For Release 2007/06/21 CIA-RDP99-00498R000100050114-3 Ez Approved For Release 2007/06/21 : CIA-RDP99-00498R000100050114-3 some of the intentions of the Soviet Union, for example, but not alarmingly so. talk about the Peoples Republic of China and how it fits into AGRONSKY: Well, tell me. When you went down to brief the President -- you spent some hours with him in Plains, Georgia,-- Mr. Carter before, actually, he took office. Did you outline the trouble spots in the world, and if you're not revealing any confidential information, could you lay them out for me? BUSH: Well, I wouldn't want to go into the substance of what we base the now-President on, but I had five sessions with him, three rather long, intensive briefings in which we covered not only the trouble spots and the kind of current intelligence, you tnight call it, that also covered the most sensitive aspects of the business .that the President must know about, it's the sources and methods, part of the business. But obviously, and of course President Carter is now addressing himself to it, the whole of question of the Soviet trip, the question of where we stand vis-a-vis the Soviet Union. is the main thing. And any review of that nature, of course, we the -- to the world. don't think I'm betraying a confidence in saying that these subjects were all touched on in. considerable detail. BUSH: ...we talk about that for [words inaudible], so I AGRONSKY: Now let's return to the Russian situation, the'position of the United States vis-a-vis the Soviet Union in terms of strategic superiority. When you,were the Director you brought in that ;What was the conclusion of Team-B? BUSH: Well, Team-B, again the conclusion per se, is -Team-B, that is.,. outside. experts make an analysis of the of the United States versus the Soviet Union? view, indeed they took a more -- well, their view was that there was of the order of things they looked at --they didn't do a full national intelligence estimate. They looked at Soviet strategic objective.' And'they took a, what you might say was a harde'r' line classified, but.the Team-B took -- and you've seen some smidgens much closer. more superiority with -- Soviet superiority, it not upon us, was So it was in this range of how far advanced the Soviets Approved For Release 2007/06/21 : CIA-RDP99-00498R000100050114-3 experiment and kind of went public with parts of it. And i aon'c are, this Team-B did it's thing. But again, I don't want to go into the details of it. I'm furious with those who took an intelligence Approved For Release 2007/06/21 : CIA-RDP99-00498R000100050114-3 AGRONSKY: Let's get it down to this which has been made public. The retiring Air Force Intelligence Chief, General Reagan, contended the Soviets were ahead. And along came the Joint Chiefs of Staff and said, no, the Soviets are not ahead in terms of strategic superiority over all. Which is right? BUSH: Well, I -- I don't know which is right, but my own personal view is that the Joint Chiefs' position is the position that certainly the one that I would support. AGRONSKY: All right. Now this in effect is what you told the President. BUSH: Well, again, I'm not going to get into what I told the President. The national intelligence estimate over which I presided -- I presided over it being put together -- and it -- it does preserve, Martin, a diversity of opinion. Intelligence is not as objective as one would think, or where can reach objective conclusions. And when you get into what someone else intends to do, there is room for difference of opinion. But I feel comfortable with what I saw in the statement, and I haven't read the full text of what the Joint Chiefs provided, if they provided anything .... AGRONSKY: All right. BUSH: But what I saw publicly is the AGRONSKY: You are not concerned then that the United States -- that the security of this country is in jeopardy vis-a-vis the Soviet Union? BUSH: I think we're strong and must stay strong. And I think that when you heard the outgoing Secretary of Defense talk about equivalence, or talk about where we stood, you read this to the Joint Chiefs, I think that's fairly comforting for now. But there are, as I said publicly when I was Director, worrisome signs. And I have enough confidence in the military and in the State Department and in our new President to think that they know what these signs are, and that they will be careful about those signs and they'll watch them very closely. And the CIA will be providing. the kind of information to make them watch them closely. AGRONSK.Y: All right. Now you have repeatedly used the phrase, "worrisome signs" in terms of what you see down the road developing or evolving in the Soviet Union vis-a-vis the United States. Could you tell me without violating any confidence, what those worrisome signs are? Approved For Release 2007/06/21 : CIA-RDP99-00498R000100050114-3 Approved For Release 2007/06/21 : CIA-RDP99-00498R000100050114-3 BUSH: That's the problem. I'm dealing in an area where I am not able for valid security reasons, and they are valid,in my opinion. I argue with some friends in the press as to whether -- how much classification we should have. But my concept is, I have to leave it that, "worrisome signs" because I don't want to ~o in and violate what is left of my security agreement. I'm simply not going to do that. Suppose I try it this way. BUSH: Well you can try, but you may not get very far. AGRONSKY: All right, I'll try. Specifically, do you think that the development of the Soviet Navy and what you know about ,its plans for the future indicate that they will have naval superiority over the United States? BUSH: Well, I can quote for you an article written by my successor-to-be, Admiral Turner, which talks about the Soviet Navy and trends in the Soviet Navy. And I can't answer whether they'll have superiority because that depends on what our policy not the intelligence -- our policy is going to be in terms of developing our Navy. From what I know of our plans -- and again I don't have access to what the new Administration plans to do, -- I don't see the. that they'will achieve overall superiority, provided we vote, funds that we need to keep a strong Navy. And I'd answer the same thing for conventional forces or aid or whatever... AGRONSKY: Well, considering the funds that are now committed to the development of our Navy,. are you concerned? view of those in the intelligence community being adequately considered BUSH: Well, again I'm not -- I'm not -- no, I am not concerned provided the -- with the Joint Chiefs' view and with the just don't see ourselves getting into a position where we're going the ex=Naval office, he knows the importance of sea power, and I thing.',-.Now-that's a broad, general answer, but I -- the Presideint, to weaken ourselves. Rift that doesn't mean they won't have more of- one kind:: ship or we have to have greater numbers in every category. AGRONSKY: Okay. How about in missiles? BUSH: Well, missiles again. I mean, in some things as the Joint Chiefs pointed out publicly, they're ahead of us, and then in other things we're... Approved For Release 2007/06/21 CIA-RDP99-00498R000100050114-3 Approved For Release 2007/06/21 : CIA-RDP99-00498R000100050114-3 BUSH: Well, I accept the conclusions of the -- of Don Rumsfeld. When he left office he made some public statements about it, and I think that, plus the state -- recent statement of the Chiefs really accurately reflects where we stand. AGRONSKY: So you do not see the United States as being in jeopardy in terms of security vis-a-vis the Soviet Union? BUSH: At this moment? AGRONSKY: With the qualifications that you've named. BUSH: That's right. I accept and endorse the position that was put forward by the Joint Cheifs, my personal position, but I am concerned about things -- I hate to be. mysterious -- that I am not at liberty to discuss on your very penetrating show here, but they must be watched. And it's not an opinion of a Team-B, or an opinion of -- most analysts in the intelligence community feel this way. There are signs that trouble them, and these -- the intelligence community -- I'm confident under the leadership of Admiral Turner, will continue to look at it. AGRONSKY: You're going to drive me up the wall, you keep talking about these worrisome signs-and you won't say what they are. BUSH: Well, that's the part of the problem, Martin, the overall problem that I faced as Director. There's just a lot of things you can't talk about, and that makes you look less than forthcoming. But unfortunately you cannot run a foreign intelligence business in the sunshine, letting all the light in. There are things where we would b d i d i e en e nformation if others knew the extent of our information on a certain topic. So that is part of the bl pro em any Director of Central Intelligence faces -- or former Director, if AGRONSKY: You are in an exceptionally good positio t n o evaluate the kind of man who would be Director from your own experience as Di rector. Do you think that the President was mistaken, Mr. Carter was mistaken, when he nominated Mr. Sorenson to be Director, and f o course the opposition was such that Sorensen withdrew. BUSH: Well, I wouldn't want to say he was mistaken but - , I expect he feels he was if the man was not confirmed. I khow, however, that when I was nominated, there was a great furor. I had been active in politics and some -- I sat through some rather grueling hearings. And a lot of people took a lot of shots at me. But I didn't -- maybe it's my ego, but I didn'.t take it too personally, and I took the heat on it and was confirmed. And the minute I walked into that community, I never felt people were holding bak on me or -- and yet I understand there was plenty of question and plenty of doubt in people's minds. Approved For Release 2007/06/21 : CIA-RDP99-00498R000100050114-3 Approved For Release 2007/06/21 : CIA-RDP99-00498R000100050114-3 So my thesis is that had Mr. Sorensen been confirmed he would have been supported. I don't believe this stuff that no outsider can be supported inside. AGRONSKY: Let me ask you this. Had you been in the positon to vote on Mr. Sorensen's confirmation or to advise the President if he asked you about... BUSH: Now that's too tough a question. You're going to get me into personalities and I don't want to do that. Let's talk about the new nominee -- and I don't know how I would have voted. I would wanted answers to the very questions they were asking. In my talks with Ted Sorensen, I think he should have answered those questions to the satisfaction of the Senate. AGRONSKY: Well... BUSH: If I'd been in the Senate which I wasn't in, I expect I would have said fine. But those questions never really got answered. AGRONSKY: Let me help you there. One of the questions that was raised was that Sorensen had taken position as a coscious objector -- not that he was not willing to serve in the Armed Forces, but he would serve with a weapon on the battlefield in the Armed Forces. He was willing to serve, for example, as a first-aid corpsman, or whatever that might be. 'Do you think a man who was a conscientious objector in principle could have done the job? BUSH`: h a d - - h e - been able to answer the' questtions, which I'm satisfied from talking to him he could have done, that would have been put on that very sensitive subject, and answered them openly, and thus in position on events that might occur in the future, I'm satisfied he would have kept his word and done the. job. He discussed that with people prior to the hearings. So I don't think that would have proved to be a insurmountable stumbling block, but it certainly proved to be a matter of enormous concern. Where he would have to take position and publicly state,what he would do under the kinds of trying hypothesis that you've put... AGRONSKY: Listen, when you're the Director of the CIA, do you ever get into a positon where in effect you have to order the kind of an action which could in someone being killed? BUSH: I think sometimes, when you're dealing in -- with clandestinity and to some degree covert action, which is a mulch smaller part.of our overall operations than people think. But when you're dealing with spying and you're dealing with people Approved For Release 2007/06/21 : CIA-RDP99-00498R000100050114-3 Approved For Release 2007/06/21 : CIA-RDP99-00498R000100050114-3 secretly gathering information, there are those kinds of decisions -- and they're tough decisions. And one of the problems I had -- you know a father of a lot of kids and sensitive to morality, I hope, in public life, is how do you rationalize some of the things. And it's not all that tough, I mean it's not that many decisions, but there are those kinds of decisions I think the people that serve in intelligence have come down on the proper conclusion; that we must do certain things, we're in that kind of a world. And it's better to do it than fighting with guns someplace. AGRONSKY: All right. Mr. Bush, is the CIA still in the assassination business? BUSH: No. It should not be, and is not. And I don't know of any case where the CIA ever assassinated anyone. I know of the plots that came up, President Ford strongly supported legislation against, you know, assassination attempts, and I don't think it's gone very far... AGRONSKY: Well, the CIA was instructed and contemplated killing Castro. It contemplated assassinating Lamumba. BUSH: But didn't do it. AGRONSKY. But didn't do it. So ... BUSH: I think it's had the out of the assassination business, and it is out of the assassination business. AGRONSKY You are telling me it is out of the assassination BUSH: Is and should be AGRONSKY: Is and should be. And you know there was testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee in 1975, an intelligence officer, a member of the CIA, told the Committee that another intelligence officer under the CIA had asked him flat out to murder Mr. Lamumba. You're aware of that. BUSH: I'm aware of some of the testimony, but I'll tell you something. When I went to CIA, I looked ahead, not back. I looked back enough to be sure CIA cooperated with all the investiga- tions, but I'm no expert on what happened in Africaand' whatever it was, in the 50s and 60s. AGRONSKY: Well let's come -- let's come to Chile, which I think is also pretty interesting. On September the 15th, 1970, the former President of United States, Mr. Nixon, instructed one of your predecessors, Mr. Helms to encourage a military coup against the democratic __. Approved For Release 2007/06/21 : CIA-RDP99-00498R000100050114-3 Approved For Release 2007/06/21 : CIA-RDP99-00498R000100050114-3 system of another country, that was Chile. Right? Now if someone said to you -- someone had said to you -- that someone would, say to your successor, who would be Admiral Turner if he's nominated, that you should do that, would you do it. Should your successor do it? BUSH: Adolf Hitler... [Confusion of voices] BUSH: ...and we all had a lot of hindsight. We all could say, "Look, if this guy stays in power he's going to send two million Jews to the gas chamber, four million soldiers from a free world are going to be killed, many peo.ple in the Soviet Union are going to suffer the cruelists aggression in advance. Now, one of the things we want you to do is support the party in power, or the party out of power to get rid of this mad man," I'd do that -- .sure I'd do it. And that is some -- covert action properly conceived, signed off on by the President, under presidential finding on recommendations by the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, NSC Advisor had a place sparingly used albeit in our system. So I used the Hitler analogy to say I would not rule the kind of policitcal action that covert.action implies.. clear-=airswar- if po t:ica=I action could overthrow-ffit-lier who---w -3r= would your listeners answer it if they had -- to me it's a very want to -- I'm supposed to be answer the questions -- but how That's a pretty tough answer. BUSH: It's a pretty straightforward one, and it's;a pretty good analogy, because -- how would you answer it? I don't in power, rather than reach. they havoc he did' i'n- the-- -world can't'conceive of somebody saying we shouldn't do that. as we'could see it, of becoming a Hitler. Would you feel that that Union,''if yo.u like, were to be ruled by a man who had the potential AGRONSKY:s!_ All right. .:. So. lets. look.: clown- the. ro-ad_i .if.`. another=Hitler should come__into.being. And let us say the Soviet Support .BUSH: Politica.l_ -action?-: AGRONSKY Assassination. BUSH: Well, no, I'm talking about political action. a party to get the guy out of power. AGRONSKY: Well, my impression was that you had said that if it were necessary to bring about the assassination... BUSH: No, no, I said -- I'm glad you got into clarifying that. I'm just saying that -- I was talking about Approved For Release 2007/06/21 : CIA-RDP99-00498R000100050114-3 ? Approved For Release 2007/06/21 : CIA-RDP99-00498R000100050114-3 covert action, political action to get rid of somebody. I have said the CIA was not in the assassination business, doesn't belong in the assassination business. Now if you want to conjure up a scenario and make me go back and think of the Hitler plan, I would have trouble giving you too straightforward an answer. But in terms of political action, I have no trouble at all. AGRONSKY: Okay. Let me ask you this. One thing that concerns an awful lot of people, and it derived from what we've learned from Watergate during the time when Mr. Nixon was President and conducting operations along with Mr. Helms who was your predecessor before Mr. Colby. Is that the Director of the CIA took orders unquestionably from the President of the United States. He permitted himself to be involved, for example, in the coverup of Watergate. he permitted himself to be involved in the overthrow of the Allende regime in Chile. How do you set up in the future, a situation in which the Director of the CIA could conceivably be willing to say no to the President of the United States. Could it ever happen? BUSH: Sure. And frankly, without going into detail, I disagreed with the President. Some people said, "Oh, you were from the same party as the President therefore you would have to go out and do what he said." My argument to the Senate was, "Look, I got the confidence of the President if I -- I hope I've got the integrity that if I see something I think-is wrong or something I don't approve of his doing, I'll bring it up. Now, I'm not advocating at having 25 Presidents heads of these different agencies each saying his conscience is with the governed. But I answered the question for the Senate.. I said, `Of course I,'d take it up with the President." And then if I saw something I thought was so morally offensive, I would have one- real opt-ion,_ mayb-e- two. One_ would be to-get the heck out of there, and secondly -- would,, you know resign, and secondly be. cooperating and reporting to the United States Congress,- But I don't think that that's a difficulty at all It's thrown-up all the -time as- o-ne-,-- but the- problem I'm nat-going to pre-judge. your hypothesis, in fact, .I'm not sure I accept the thing you.said about the Chile case. But in the future,.as-in the recent past.,, covert actions-of that nature are staffed out very differen-tly--. And-there- are presidential findings.,.- and those findings- are repo-rted- in timely fashion under the.- law to seven.~ committees_of the United States Congress. So Martin, we are protected in this country against the kind, of thing that you defined in your question. AGRONSKY: I wonder how protected we are. BUSH: Well, I know more about it than you and I'm telling you it works according to the law, and according to the procedures set out by the President in the Executive Order. And-maybe President Approved For Release 2007/06/21 CIA-RDP99-00498R000100050114-3 Approved For Release 2007/06/21 : CIA-RDP99-00498R000100050114-3 Carter and Admiral Turner will find ways to make it better. I'm not saying it can't be better, but you are protected. Because we don't have the ability to have the kind of double tracking that you're talking about in that in retrospect appears to be less than , procedurally thought, or where people were excluded who should be in the decision making. AGRONSKY: So you are saying that the prospect for; abuse by the CIA of its powers and of the intelligence process that existed in the Nixon administration has now been... BUSH: Why just Nixon, what about Bay of Pigs? How about the Bay of Pigs? How about in the Johnson days. I mean I don't like. [Confusion of voices] AGRONSKY: All right. the case of Johnson... or cland.estinity, the answer is no, thank heaven. perfectly willing to take BUSH: Okay. And I'm saying -- I think, Martin, that the procedures are such, and I think the directive by the Director is such, and the Attorney General's guidelines are such, and I think the Executive Order-is such, and then I think the education of the-culture is such that the_rights.ofthe.American people are properly safeguarded against the kinds of abuses you--take-about. But if you mean does that eliminates using covert action, or spying, AGRONSKY .. All rightt_.. Would you. agree` tliat som_e:ti wrong`aetion that is being contemplated be usefel. in: disclosure- discAos.trre? by, the press by the med`%a - of so prevemtf-irrg,, t at act_i:orx r-onr &ei g.,.und.ertake.n?:: r aate:1`' do-n`t thin-1c eadl'r- g ,rsan in his canscieryce _ io-uld";. haN*e. tlia_ rr, -t leak a a-sgsie;f.iedk. in?ormatiort; for the. tr e; s. ifs that _. hw a.t tw a gn sst*iF:brrr .i But= p yotr say. r Fres+ Dress . exgasure r.of' scam thrug th t . r was. c- rf wro ng .n. them. pas t helpstralght?e.nthingg _~ut frr,.t he` :: futur' ae a to sad er-t.afnly. i"t woutd`:. _AGRO1+SKYAll. righty The-r-e i's. legis-I'a i~zn F at '' n rr effect protect the CIA, protects the President from disclosure of comtemplation of some wrong acts... grand jury and asked to reveal his source. If he does not reveal his source he is held to be guilty of a crime. Doesn't that in that affects the national security, he can be called before s 'th-at_if the reporter comes into possession-of i nforatiore BUSH: I don't even know the legislation you're talking about. There-'s all kinds of legislation ... Approved For Release 2007/06/21 : CIA-RDP99-00498R000100050114-3 Approved For Release 2007/06/21 : CIA-RDP99-00498R000100050114-3 -11- [Confusion of voices] BUSH: ...but none in effect that does what you're saying. So -- but Martin, you and I -- I don't know -- I shouldn't say this because I dont' know where you come down on it -- I come down on it that I cannot condone the concept that if a person -- a press person gets ahold of highly classified information, that that gives him the right, in his conscience to publish this without penalty. I simply don't believe that it's proper. And again ... AGRONKSY: return to the Bay of Pigs that the New York Times had that story and didn't use it, and was asked not to use on the grounds of jeopardizing national security, and did not. Looking back I think you would concede that had the New York Times published and that had the Bay of Pigs never taken place, our country would have been a hell of a lot better off. BUSH: My recollection -- I think that's right, given what happened. My recollection at the time was that the American people, in a different time, in a different day, in a different way, in a different climate, they're problem with the Bay of Pigs thing was not that it was conceived, but-that it didn't work back in those days. And so you can't use -- it seems to me one of the great difficulties we've had is using a 1977 highly homed ethics in terms of operation, in terms of political contributions, to judge events in 1961. That's the jest of it. AGRONSKY: All right. Well look, here's something that just happened this week, in 1977. The Wilmington Sunday News Journal reports that the former CIA Director Richard Helms has threatend if he's indicted for perjury because of testimony he made before a Senate committee in 1973 on the role that the CIA played in Chile, that is in the overthrow of the Allende regime, that he will name Secretary of State Kissinger as the man who ordered him to undertake that act. Now from your knowledge as a former CIA Director and you must have looked back that far -- do you think that Helms is -- would be justified in doing that? And was he indeed ordered BUSH: For the first and I hope the last time on%this program, no comment. I'm not going to discuss a matter that's in the courts, and I think that's a proper position to be in, and I just simply can't -- I didn't read the story. Sorry, Martin. No comment. AGRONSKY: You're not going to say anything... BUSH: No, no comment. Both are my friends and both are Approved For Release 2007/06/21 : CIA-RDP99-00498R000100050114-3 Approved For Release 2007/06/21 : CIA-RDP99-00498R000100050114-3 very decent individuals, Dick Helms and Kissinger, and I'm simply not going to get into that kind of thing. And I don't honestly know the facts on it. AGRONSKY: Well, let me... BUSH: If I'd have spent all my time as CIA Director looking into aberations or alleged aberations or events in the past, I could't have done any kind of a job for the present or the future. And I'm egotistical enough to feel that I did do job for the present and the future. AGRONSKY: Are you egotistical enough to believe that the CIA is the provider of good intelligence now? BUSH: I'm egotis -- well Idon't think I even have to be egotistical. I think I am objective enough to think we piovide the best foreign intelligence in the world, we are hampered in. some ways, but -- by fear of risks of disclosure, because fob awhile and a while more we... [Confusion of voices] BUSH: we were. I -- again you're going back to pre-Bush time in terms of the.. Angola intelligence, but I think we have pretty good intelligence today on Angola, some areas much better than others. We don't have, in some places, the sources we have in others. But I think we can tell you roughly how -any Cubans are in Angola, and I'm not sure we can tell you the intent all the time, but I think we have fair intelligence around the world. I._, know .than,- ot.hers.. the, best,but GR(1NSKY we:rr on that very positive note, ;: I='ll ay? thank-you-,,. Mn. Bush. Approved For Release 2007/06/21 : CIA-RDP99-00498R000100050114-3