Proposals for Intelligence Reorganization, 1949-2004
CRS Report for Congress
Proposals for Intelligence Reorganization,
Updated September 24, 2004
Richard A. Best, Jr.
Specialist in National Defense
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
Proposals for Intelligence Reorganization, 1949-2004
Proposals for the reorganization of the United States Intelligence Community
have repeatedly emerged from commissions and committees created by either the
executive or legislative branches. The heretofore limited authority of Directors of
Central Intelligence and the great influence of the Departments of State and Defense
have inhibited the emergence of major reorganization plans from within the
Intelligence Community itself.
Proposals to reorganize the Intelligence Community emerged in the period
immediately following passage of the National Security Act of 1947 (P.L. 80-253)
that established the position of Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) and the Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA). Recommendations have ranged from adjustments in the
DCI’s budgetary responsibilities to the actual dissolution of the CIA and returning
its functions to other departments. The goals underlying such proposals have
reflected trends in American foreign policy and the international environment as well
as domestic concerns about governmental accountability.
In the face of a hostile Soviet Union, early intelligence reorganization proposals
were more concerned with questions of efficiency. In the Cold War context of the
1950s, a number of recommendations sought aggressively to enhance U.S. covert
action and counterintelligence capabilities. The chairman of one committee charged
with investigating the nation’s intelligence capabilities, Army General James H.
Doolittle, argued that sacrificing America’s sense of “fair play” was wholly justified
in the struggle to prevent Soviet world domination.
Following the failed invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs, the unsuccessful
results of intervention in Vietnam, and the Watergate scandal, investigations by
congressional committees focused on the propriety of a wide range of heretofore
accepted intelligence activities that included assassinations and some domestic
surveillance of U.S. citizens. Some forcefully questioned the viability of secret
intelligence agencies within a democratic society. These investigations resulted in
much closer congressional oversight and a more exacting legal framework for
intelligence activities. At the same time, the growth in technical intelligence
capabilities led to an enhanced — but by no means predominant — leadership role
for the DCI in determining community-wide budgets and priorities.
With the end of the Cold War, emerging security concerns, including
transnational terrorism, narcotics trafficking, and proliferation of weapons of mass
destruction, faced the United States. Some statutory changes were made in the mid-
2001 attacks and the Iraq War, some observers urge reconsidering the intelligence
organization. The 9/11 Commission has specifically recommended the establishment
of a National Intelligence Director to manage the national intelligence program.
Current intelligence organization issues can be usefully addressed with an awareness
of arguments pro and con that were raised by earlier investigators; this
recommendation has been incorporated in a number of bills, including S. 2845. This
report will be updated as circumstances warrant.
In troduction ......................................................1
Intelligence Reform Proposals Made by Commissions and Major
The Truman Administration, 1945-1953............................3
The First Hoover Commission, 1949...............................4
Intelligence Survey Group (Dulles-Jackson-Correa Report), 1949........6
Summary of the Truman Administration Intelligence Investigations......7
The Eisenhower Administration, 1953-1961.........................8
Second Hoover Commission, 1955................................8
The Doolittle Report, 1954......................................9
Bruce-Lovett Report, 1956.....................................10
Summary of the Eisenhower Administration Intelligence Investigations..11
The Kennedy Administration, 1961-1963..........................12
The Taylor Commission........................................12
The Kirkpatrick Report........................................14
Summary of the Kennedy Administration Intelligence Investigations....15
The Johnson Administration, 1963-1969...........................15
The Nixon Administration, 1969-1974............................15
The Schlesinger Report, 1971...................................15
Summary of the Nixon Administration Intelligence Investigation.......16
The Era of Public Investigations, 1974-1981........................17
Murphy Commission (Commission on the Organization of the
Government for the Conduct of Foreign Policy), 1975............17
Rockefeller Commission (Commission on CIA Activities within
the United States), 1975....................................19
Church Committee (Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental
Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities), 1976.........21
Pike Committee (House Select Committee on Intelligence), 1976.......23
Clifford and Cline Proposals, 1976...............................25
Proposed Charter Legislation, 1978-1980..........................26
The Executive Branch Response, 1976-1981.......................26
The Turner Proposal, 1985.....................................28
Iran-Contra Investigation, 1987..................................28
Commission on the Roles and Capabilities of the U.S. Intelligence
Community (Aspin/Brown Commission), 1995-1996.............31st
IC21: Intelligence Community in the 21 Century, 1996..............32
The Response to Aspin/Brown and IC21: The Intelligence
Authorization Act for FY1997...............................33
Joint Inquiry on the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001;
Additional Views of Senator Shelby, 2002.....................37
National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States
(The 9/11 Commission), 2004...............................39
Major portions of this report previously appeared as a separate section of the
1996 Staff Study published by the House Permanent Select Committee on
Intelligence, IC21: Intelligence Community in the 21st Century. That report was
prepared by Richard A. Best, Jr. and Herbert Andrew Boerstling.
Proposals for Intelligence Reorganization,
The National Security Act of 1947 (P.L. 80-253) established the statutory
framework for the managerial structure of the United States Intelligence Community,
including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the position of Director of
Central Intelligence (DCI). A fundamental intent of this legislation was to
coordinate, and to a certain extent centralize, the nascent intelligence efforts of the
United States as an emergent superpower in the face of a hostile Soviet Union. In
addition, the act provided the CIA with the ability to assume an operational role by
charging it with:
Perform[ing] such other functions and duties related to intelligence affecting the1
national security as the National Security Council may from time to time direct.
In 1947, the foundation of the present-day Intelligence Community consisted
only of the relatively small intelligence components in the Armed Services, the
Departments of State and the Treasury, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),
and the fledgling CIA. Since 1947, however, the Intelligence Community “has
greatly expanded in size and acquired a much broader range of responsibilities in the2
collection, analysis, and dissemination of foreign intelligence.”
The U.S. Intelligence Community is defined in the National Security Act as
amended. It currently includes the following:
!Central Intelligence Agency;
!National Security Agency;
!Defense Intelligence Agency;
!National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency;
!National Reconnaissance Office;
!Intelligence elements of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps,
the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of the Treasury,
the Department of Energy, and the Coast Guard;
!Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Department of State;
1 Section 102(d)(5), National Security Act of 1947, P.L. 80-253; hereafter cited as National
Security Act of 1947.
2 CRS Report 89-414 F, Intelligence Community Leadership: Development and Debate
Since 1947, by Alfred B. Prados, June 27, 1989, p. 1; hereafter cited as Prados, 89-414 F.
(Out of print report; available upon request from the author.)
!Elements of the Department of Homeland Security concerned with
analyses of foreign intelligence information; and
Beginning in January 1948, numerous independent commissions, individual
experts, and legislative initiatives have examined the growth and evolving mission
of the Intelligence Community. Proposals by these groups have sought to address
perceived shortcomings in the Intelligence Community’s structure, management,
role, and mission. These proposals have ranged in scope from basic organizational
restructuring to the dissolution of the CIA.
In 1948 and 1949, two executive branch commissions examined the intelligence
and operational missions of the CIA, and identified fundamental administrative and
organizational loopholes in P.L. 80-253. By the 1950s, however, the physical growth
and evolving mission of the Intelligence Community led subsequent commissions to
broaden the scope of their proposals to include the enhancement of the DCI’s
community-wide authority, and the establishment of executive and legislative branch
intelligence oversight committees. Unlike the intelligence investigations of the
1970s and 1980s, these early studies were primarily concerned with questions of
efficiency and effectiveness rather than with issues of legality and propriety.
Following the Vietnam War and “Watergate,” investigatory bodies became
increasingly critical of the national intelligence effort. Beginning in the mid-1970s,
the impetus shifted to the legislative branch where investigatory committees led by
Senator Frank Church and Representative Otis G. Pike issued a broad range of
proposals, including the separation of the DCI and CIA Director positions, dividing
the CIA’s analytical and operational responsibilities into two separate agencies, and
the establishment of congressional oversight committees. In 1976 and 1977,
respectively, recommendations by the these committees led to the establishment of
the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) and the House Permanent Select
Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI). These committees were heavily involved in the
investigations into the Iran-Contra affair of the mid-1980s.
With the end of the Cold War, and in the wake of the Aldrich Ames espionage
case, both the executive and legislative branches undertook studies to determine the
future roles, capabilities, management, and structure of the Intelligence Community.
These studies include such issues as the need to maintain the CIA as a separate entity,
the extent and competence of U.S. counterintelligence (CI) efforts, and the
managerial structure of intelligence components in the armed services and the
Department of Defense (DOD). A comprehensive examination of the DCI’s roles,
responsibilities, authorities, and status was also undertaken. In an era of budgetary
constraints and shifting policy concerns, these studies also examined personnel
issues, allocation of resources, duplication of services, expanded use of open source
Intelligence (OSCINT), and the need for maintaining a covert action (CA) capability.
The results of this effort were reflected in organizational adjustments made by the
Intelligence Authorization Act for FY1997 (P.L. 104-293), but some observers have
subsequently concluded that this legislation did not go far enough and that, in the
3 50 USC 401a(4)
light of the events of September 11, 2001 and the Iraq War, intelligence organization
questions need to be reevaluated.
The history of these investigations has witnessed the gradual transformation of
intelligence from a White House asset to one that is shared between the executive and
legislative branches. Congress not only has access to intelligence judgments but to
most information that intelligence agencies acquire as well as to the details of
intelligence activities. Congress has accepted some responsibility as a participant in
the planning and conduct of covert actions. In significant measure, this process has
been encouraged by these external intelligence investigations.
This report provides a chronological overview and examination of the major
executive and legislative branch intelligence investigations made from January 1949
to date. Major proposals are listed in chronological order with a brief discussion of
their respective results. Proposals specifically relating to congressional oversight of
the Intelligence Community are not included in this report.
Intelligence Reform Proposals Made by
Commissions and Major Legislative Initiatives
The Truman Administration, 1945-1953
Following the Second World War, the United States emerged as a global
political, military, and economic leader. In the face of Soviet aggressiveness, the
U.S. sought to enhance its national defense capabilities to curb the international
spread of communism and to provide security for the nation itself.
The National Security Act (P.L. 80-253), signed July 26, 1947, established the
statutory framework for the managerial structure of the United States Intelligence
Community, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the position of
Director of Central Intelligence (DCI). The act also created a semi-unified military
command structure under a Secretary of Defense, and a National Security Council
(NSC) to advise the President “with respect to the integration of domestic, foreign,
and military policies relating to the national security.”4 The fundamental intent of
this legislation was to coordinate U.S. national defense efforts, including intelligence
activities, in the face of a Soviet Union intent upon expanding and leading a system
of communist states.
In response to the rapid growth and changing role of the Federal government
following the Second World War, several studies were conducted to examine the5
structure and efficiency of the executive branch, including the intelligence agencies.
Between 1948 and 1949, two important investigations of the national intelligence
4 Section 101(a), National Security Act of 1947.
5 For a comprehensive examination of similar Commissions see CRS Report RL31446,
Reorganizing the Executive Branch in the Twentieth Century: Landmark Commissions, by
Ronald C. Moe, June 10, 2002.
effort were conducted. The first, the Task Force on National Security Organization
of the First Hoover Commission, was established by a unanimous vote in Congress.
The second, known as the Dulles-Jackson-Correa Report, was initiated by the NSC
at the request of President Harry S. Truman.
The First Hoover Commission, 1949
The Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the government
was established pursuant to P.L. 80-162 of July 27, 1947.6 Under the chairmanship
of former President Herbert Hoover, the twelve member bipartisan commission
conducted a comprehensive review of the federal bureaucracy, including the
intelligence agencies. The commission’s Task Force on National Security
Organization was headed by Ferdinand Eberstadt, a strong advocate of a centralized
intelligence capability who had been instrumental in drafting the National Security
Act of 1947.7
Hearings conducted by the task force began in June 1948. On January 13, 1949,
the Hoover Commission submitted the task force’s 121 page unclassified report to
Congress.8 Known as the Eberstadt Report, it found the “National Security
Organization, established by the National Security Act of 1947, [to be] soundly
constructed, but not yet working well.”9 The report identified fundamental
organizational and qualitative shortcomings in the national intelligence effort and the
newly created CIA.
A principal concern of the task force was the adversarial relationship and lack
of coordination between the CIA, the military, and the State Department. It
suggested that this resulted in unnecessary duplication and the issuance of
departmental intelligence estimates that “have often been subjective and biased.”10
In large measure, the military and State Department were blamed for their failure to
consult and share pertinent information with the CIA. The task force recommended
“that positive efforts be made to foster relations of mutual confidence between the
[CIA] and the several departments and agencies that it serves.”11
6 The report was reprinted as The Hoover Commission Report on Organization of the
Executive Branch of the Government (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1970).
7 For background on Eberstadt, see Jeffrey M. Dorwart, Eberstadt and Forrestal: A National
Security Partnership, 1909-1949 (College Station, TX: Texas A & M University Press,
8 The Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government, Task Force
Report on National Security Organization, Appendix G, January 1949; hereafter cited as the
9 Eberstadt Report, p. 3.
10 Eberstadt Report, p. 76.
11 Eberstadt Report, p. 16, paragraph d.
In short, the report stressed that the CIA “must be the central organization of the
national intelligence system.”12 To facilitate community coordination in the
production of national estimates, a founding intent of CIA, the task force
recommended the creation within CIA “at the top echelon an evaluation board or
section composed of competent and experienced personnel who would have no
administrative responsibilities and whose duties would be confined solely to
intelligence evaluation.”13 To foster professionalism and continuity of service, the
report also favored a civilian DCI with a long term in office.14
In the arena of covert operations and clandestine intelligence, the Eberstadt
Report supported the integration of all clandestine operations into one office within
CIA, under NSC supervision. To alleviate concerns expressed by the military who
viewed this proposal as encroaching upon their prerogatives, the report stated that
clandestine operations should be the responsibility of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS)
in time of war.15
In examining the daily workings of the CIA, the task force found the agency’s
internal structure and personnel system “not now properly organized.”16 This led to
recommendations for the adoption of clearer lines of departmental responsibilities,
and the establishment of proper personnel selection and training systems.17 In
response to legislative concerns regarding intelligence budgets, the report supported
establishing a legal framework for budgetary procedures and authorities, and in
maintaining the secrecy of the CIA budget in order to provide the “administrative
flexibility and anonymity that are essential to satisfactory intelligence.”18 The report
also addressed, and rejected, the possibility of placing the FBI’s counterintelligence
responsibilities in the CIA.19
Of particular concern was the level of professionalism in military intelligence,
and the glaring inadequacies of medical and scientific intelligence, including
biological and chemical warfare, electronics, aerodynamics, guided missiles, atomic
weapons, and nuclear energy.20 The report declared that the failure to appraise
scientific advances in hostile countries (i.e., the Soviet Union) might have more
immediate and catastrophic consequences than failure in any other field of
12 Arthur B. Darling, The Central Intelligence Agency: An Instrument of Government to
1950 (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1990), p. 293. This is a
reprint of an official CIA history prepared in the early 1950's.
13 Eberstadt Report, p. 16.
14 Darling, introduction to Chapter VIII.
15 Darling, introduction to chapter VIII.
16 Eberstadt Report, p. 76.
17 Darling, pp. 295-298.
18 Darling, p. 297.
19 Darling, p. 289.
20 Eberstadt Report, p. 77; Darling, p. 296.
intelligence. Accordingly, the report stressed that the U.S. should establish a central
authority “to collect, collate, and evaluate scientific and medical intelligence.”21
Intelligence Survey Group
(Dulles-Jackson-Correa Report), 1949
On January 8, 1948, the National Security Council established the Intelligence
Survey Group (ISG) to “evaluate the CIA’s effort and its relationship with other
agencies.”22 Commissioned at the request of President Truman, the group was
composed of Allen W. Dulles, who had served in the Office of Strategic Services
(OSS) during the Second World War and would become DCI in 1953, William
Jackson, a future Deputy DCI, and Matthias Correa, a former assistant to Secretary
of Defense James V. Forrestal when the latter had served as Secretary of the Navy
during the war. Under the chairmanship of Dulles, the ISG presented its findings,
known as the Dulles-Jackson-Correa Report, to the National Security Council on
January 1, 1949.
The 193-page report, partially declassified in 1976, contained fifty-six
recommendations, many highly critical of the CIA and DCI.23 In particular, the
report revealed problems in the agency’s execution of both its intelligence and
operational missions. It also criticized the quality of national intelligence estimates
by highlighting the CIA’s — and, by implication, the DCI’s — “failure to take charge
of the production of coordinated national estimates.”24 The report went on to argue
that the CIA’s current trend in secret intelligence activities should be reversed in
favor of its mandated role as coordinator of intelligence.25
The Dulles Report was particularly concerned about the personnel situation at
CIA, including internal security, the high turnover of employees, and the excessive
number of military personnel assigned to the agency.26 To add “continuity of
service” and the “greatest assurance of independence of action,” the report argued
that the DCI should be a civilian and that military appointees be required to resign27
21 Eberstadt Report, p, 20.
22 Mark M. Lowenthal, U.S. Intelligence: Evolution and Anatomy (Westport, CT: Praeger,
23 “The Central Intelligence Agency and National Organization for Intelligence: A Report
to the National Security Council,” January 1, 1949. Hereafter cited as the Dulles-Jackson-
Correa Report; the declassified report remains highly sanitized. A version was reprinted in
William M. Leary, ed., The Central Intelligence Agency: History and Documents
(University, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1984).
24 Lowenthal, p. 20; Dulles-Jackson-Correa Report, p. 5, 11.
25 Dulles-Jackson-Correa Report, p. 39.
26 DCI Hillenkoetter disputed these findings by producing evidence that CIA’s employee
turnover was no different than in other government agencies and that only two percent of
CIA personnel were active duty military. Darling, p. 327.
27 Dulles-Jackson-Correa Report, p. 138.
As with the Eberstadt Report, the Dulles Report also expressed concern about
the inadequacies in scientific intelligence and the professionalism of the service
intelligence organizations, and urged that the CIA provide greater coordination.28
This led to a recommendation for increased coordination between the DCI and the
Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the arena of
counterespionage. In turn, the report recommended that the Director of FBI be
elevated to membership in the Intelligence Advisory Committee (IAC), whose
function was to help the DCI coordinate intelligence and set intelligence
The principal thrust of the report was a proposed large-scale reorganization of
the CIA to end overlapping and duplication of functions. Similar to the Eberstadt
Report, the Dulles study suggested incorporating covert operations and clandestine
intelligence into one office within CIA. In particular, the report recommended that
the Office of Special Operations (OSO), responsible for the clandestine collection of
intelligence, and the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC), responsible for covert
actions, be integrated into a single division within CIA.30
Accordingly, the report recommended replacing existing offices with four new
divisions for coordination, estimates, research and reports, and operations. The heads
of the new offices would be included in the immediate staff of the DCI so that he
would have “intimate contact with the day-to-day operations of his agency and be
able to give policy guidance to them.”31 These recommendations would become the
blueprint for the future organization and operation of the present-day CIA.
Summary of the Truman Administration
The Task Force on National Security Organization was almost immediately
eclipsed by the Dulles-Jackson-Correa Report, that found a sympathetic ear in the
White House. On July 7, 1949, the NSC adopted a modified version of the Dulles
Report, and directed DCI Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter to begin implementing its
recommendations, including the establishment of a single operations division at CIA.
In 1953, the OSO and OPC were merged within the CIA to form the Directorate of
Plans (DP). (DP was designated the Directorate of Operations (DO) in 1973.)
Although the Eberstadt Report was not as widely read among policymakers as
the Dulles study, it did play a principal role in reorganization efforts initiated by DCI
Walter Bedell Smith in 1950. The two reports, and the lessons learned from fall of
China to the Communists and the unexpected North Korean invasion of South Korea
in June 1950, prompted Smith to create an intelligence evaluation board called the
Board of National Estimates (BNE). Designed to review and produce National
28 Dulles-Jackson-Correa Report, pp. 3-4, 149.
29 Dulles-Jackson-Correa Report, p. 58. Although the DCI served as chairman of the IAC,
he was not given budgetary or administrative authority over the other intelligence agencies.
30 Dulles-Jackson-Correa Report, pp. 129, 134.
31 Dulles-Jackson-Correa Report, p. 11.
Intelligence Estimates (NIEs), the BNE was assisted by an Office of National
Estimates (ONE) that drew upon the resources of the entire community.32
The Eisenhower Administration, 1953-1961
The Eisenhower Administration witnessed the Soviet Union solidify its hold
over Eastern Europe, crushing the Hungarian revolution, and the rise of Communist
insurgencies in Southeast Asia and Africa. This was a period in which extensive
covert psychological, political, and paramilitary operations were initiated in the
context of the threat posed by Soviet-led Communist expansion. However, between
1948, when a covert action program was first authorized through NSC Directive
Between 1954 and 1956, this prompted three investigations into U.S.
intelligence activities, including the CIA. The first, the Task Force on Intelligence
Activities of the Second Hoover Commission on Organization of the Executive
Branch of the Government, was sponsored by Congress. The second, the Doolittle
Report, was commissioned at the request of President Dwight D. Eisenhower in
response to the Second Hoover Commission. The third, the Bruce-Lovett Report
was initiated by the President’s Board of Consultants on Foreign Intelligence
Activities (PBCFIA), and reported to President Eisenhower.
Second Hoover Commission, 1955
The Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government,
also chaired by former President Hoover, was created pursuant to P.L. 83-108 of July
10, 1953. Known as the Second Hoover Commission, it contained a Task Force on
Intelligence Activities under the chairmanship of General Mark W. Clark. In May
1955, the task force submitted both classified and unclassified reports. The classified
version was sent directly to President Eisenhower, and has not been declassified
according to available information. The unclassified version was sent to Congress.
The unclassified report’s seventy-six pages contained nine recommendations
and briefly described the evolution of the Intelligence Community and its then-
current functioning. The report initiated the official use of the term “Intelligence33
Community.” Until that time, the U.S. had sought to apply increasing coordination
to departmental intelligence efforts, without the concept of a “community” of
departments and agencies.
The task force began by expressing the need to reform the CIA’s internal
organization, including the recommendation that the DCI concentrate on intelligence
issues facing the entire community by leaving the day-to-day administration of the
32 The work of the BNE is described in Donald P. Steury, ed., Sherman Kent and the Board
of National Estimates: Collected Essays (Washington: Center for the Study of Intelligence,
33 Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government, A Report to the
Congress, Intelligence Activities, June 1955, p. 13, hereafter cited as Clark Task Force
CIA to an executive officer or chief of staff.34 It foresaw the need for better oversight
of intelligence activities and proposed a small, permanent, bipartisan commission,
including Members of Congress and other “public-spirited citizens,” to provide
independent oversight of intelligence activities that were normally kept secret from
other parts of the government.35 The full commission’s report elaborated on this by
recommending the establishment of both a congressional oversight committee and
a presidential advisory panel.
The task force also expressed concern about counterintelligence and
recommended systematic rechecking of all personnel every five years “to make sure
that the passage of time has not altered the trustworthiness of any employee, and to
make certain that none has succumbed to some weakness of intoxicants or sexual
In addition, the task force recommended that the CIA replace the State
Department in the “procurement of foreign publications and for collection of
scientific intelligence.”37 Finally, there were a number of “housekeeping”
recommendations such as the need to construct an adequate CIA headquarters, to
improve linguistic training, and to raise the salary of the DCI to $20,000 annually.38
The Doolittle Report, 1954
In response to the establishment of the Second Hoover Commission’s Task
Force on Intelligence Activities, President Eisenhower sought and secured an
agreement for a separate report to be presented to him personally on the CIA’s
Directorate of Plans, that now had responsibility for both clandestine intelligence
collection and covert operations. Accordingly, in July 1954, Eisenhower
commissioned Lieutenant General James Doolittle (USAF) to report on the CIA’s
covert activities and to “make any recommendations calculated to improve the
conduct of these operations.”39
On September 30, 1954, Doolittle submitted his 69-page classified report
directly to Eisenhower. Declassified in 1976, the Doolittle Report contained forty-
two recommendations. The report began by summarizing contemporary American
Cold War attitudes following the Korean War:
34 Clark Task Force Report, pp. 70-71. For a more detailed account of the evolution of the
DCI’s roles and responsibilities, see Herbert Andrew Boerstling, “The Establishment of a
Director of National Intelligence,” unpublished Master of Arts Policy Paper, Boston
University, August 1995.
35 Clark Task Force Report, p. 71.
36 Clark Task Force Report, p. 74.
37 Clark Task Force Report, p. 74.
38 Clark Task Force Report, pp. 72-76.
39 The Report on the Covert Activities of the Central Intelligence Agency, September 30,
It is now clear that we are facing an implacable enemy whose avowed objective
is world domination by whatever means and at whatever cost. There are no rules
in such a game...If the United States is to survive, long-standing American
concepts of “fair play” must be reconsidered. We must develop effective
espionage and counterespionage services and must learn to subvert, sabotage and
destroy our enemies by more clever, more sophisticated and more effective
methods than those used against us. It may become necessary that the American
people be made acquainted with, understand and support this fundamentally40
The report went on to recommend that “every possible scientific and technical
approach to the intelligence problem” be explored since the closed society of the
Eastern Bloc made human espionage “prohibitive” in terms of “dollars and human
In examining the CIA, Doolittle found it to be properly placed in the
organization of the government. Furthermore, the report found the laws relating to
the CIA’s functions were sufficient for the agency to meet its operational needs, i.e.42
penetration of the Soviet Bloc. The report went on to issue several
recommendations calling for more efficient internal administration, including
recruitment and training procedures, background checks of personnel, and the need
to “correct the natural tendency to over classify documents originating in the43
agency.” It also called for increased cooperation between the clandestine and
analytical sides of the agency, and recommended that the “Inspector General ...
operate on an Agency-wide basis with authority and responsibility to investigate and
report on all activities of the Agency.”44 Finally, the report mentioned the need to
provide CIA with accommodations tailored to its specific needs, and to exercise
better control (accountability) of expenditures in covert projects.
Shortly after submitting the written report, General Doolittle voiced his concern
to President Eisenhower over the potential difficulties that could arise from the fact
that the DCI, Allen Dulles, and the Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, were
brothers and might implement policies without adequate consultation with other
Bruce-Lovett Report, 1956
In 1956, PBCFIA’s chairman, James Killian, president of the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, directed David Bruce, a widely experienced diplomat, and
Robert Lovett, a prominent attorney, to prepare a report for President Eisenhower on
40 Doolittle Report, pp. 6-7.
41 Doolittle Report, pp. 7-8.
42 Doolittle Report, p. 10.
43 Doolittle Report, p. 14.
44 Doolittle Report, p. 17.
45 John Ranelagh, The Agency: the Rise and Decline of the CIA (New York: Simon and
Schuster, 1987), p. 278.
the CIA’s covert action programs as implemented by NSC Directive 10/2. The report
itself has not been located by either the CIA’s Center for the Study of Intelligence or
by private researchers. Presumably, it remains classified. However, Peter Grose,
biographer of Allen Dulles, was able to use notes of the report prepared years earlier
by historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.46
According to Grose’s account of the Schlesinger notes, the report criticized the
CIA for being too heavily involved in Third-World intrigues while neglecting the
collection of hard intelligence on the Soviet Union. Reportedly, Bruce and Lovett
went on to express concern about the lack of coordination and accountability of the
government’s psychological and political warfare program. Stating that “no charge
is made for failure,” the report claimed that “No one, other than those in CIA
immediately concerned with their day-to-day operation, has any detailed knowledge
of what is going on.”47 These operations, asserted Bruce and Lovett, were in the
hands of a “horde of CIA representatives (largely under State or Defense
cover),...bright, highly graded young men who must be doing something all the time
to justify their reason for being.”48
As had Doolittle, Bruce and Lovett criticized the close relationship between
Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and his brother DCI Allen W. Dulles. Due to
the unique position of each brother, the report apparently expressed concern that they
could unduly influence U.S. foreign policy according to their own perceptions.49
The report concluded by suggesting that the U.S. reassess its approach to covert
action programs, and that a permanent authoritative position be created to assess the
viability and impact of covert action programs.50
Summary of the Eisenhower Administration
As a result of the Second Hoover Commission’s Report and General Doolittle’s
findings, two new NSC Directives, 5412/1 and 5412/2, were issued pertaining to
covert activities in March and November 1955, respectively. Together, these
directives instituted control procedures for covert action and clandestine activities.
They remained in effect until 1970, providing basic policy guidelines for the CIA’s
covert action operations.
46 Peter Grose, Gentleman Spy: The Life of Allen Dulles, (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1994),
pp. 445-448; also the CIA’s Center for the Study of Intelligence Newsletter, Spring 1995,
Issue No. 3, pp. 3-4. In writing this book, Grose reported using notes Arthur M. Schlesinger,
Jr. discovered in the Robert Kennedy Papers before they were deposited at the John F.
Kennedy Library; p. 598, n. 33 and n. 34. Reportedly, the JFK Presidential Library has
unsuccessfully searched the RFK papers for the report.
47 Grose, p. 446; from excerpts of the Schlesinger notes.
48 Grose, p. 446; this observation is also taken from excerpts of the Schlesinger notes.
49 Grose, p. 447.
50 Grose, pp. 447-448; from excerpts of the Schlesinger notes.
In 1956, in response to the Clark Task Force, and to preempt closer
congressional scrutiny of intelligence gathering, President Eisenhower created the
President’s Board of Consultants on Foreign Intelligence Activities (PBCFIA) to
conduct independent evaluations of the U.S. intelligence program. PBCFIA became
the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) in 1961. Permanent
intelligence oversight committees were not established in Congress until the mid-
When the Bruce-Lovett Report was first issued in the autumn of 1956, its
immediate impact was muted due to the contemporaneous Suez Canal crisis and the
Soviet invasion of Hungary. However, it did establish a precedent for future
PBCFIA investigations into intelligence activities.
The Kennedy Administration, 1961-1963
In the 1950s, the Eisenhower Administration had supported covert CIA
initiatives in Iran (1953) and Guatemala (1954) to overthrow governments unfriendly
to the United States. These operations were planned to provide the United States
with a reasonable degree of plausible deniability. During the last Eisenhower years,
revolution in Cuba resulted in a Communist government under Fidel Castro. In the
context of the Cold War, a communist Cuba appeared to justify covert U.S. action
to secure a change in that nation’s government. In April 1961 an ill-fated U.S.
backed invasion of Cuba led to a new chapter in the history of the Intelligence
On April 17, 1961, some 1,400 Cuban exiles of the Cuban Expeditionary Force
(CEF), trained and supported by the CIA, landed at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba with the
hope of overthrowing the communist regime of Fidel Castro. Known as Operation
Zapata, the invasion was a complete disaster. Over the first two days, Castro
succeeded in defeating the invasion force and exposing direct U.S. involvement.
The fiasco led to two official examinations of U.S. involvement and conduct in
Operation Zapata. The first, the Taylor Commission, was initiated by President John
F. Kennedy in an attempt to ascertain the overall cause of the operation’s failure. The
second, the Kirkpatrick Report, was an internal CIA investigation to determine what
had been done wrong.
The Taylor Commission
On April 22, President Kennedy asked General Maxwell Taylor, former Army
Chief of Staff, to chair a high-level body composed of Attorney General Robert
Kennedy, former Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Arleigh Burke, and DCI Allen
Dulles to ascertain the reasons for the invasion’s failure. Known as the Taylor
Commission, the study group’s 53-page classified report was submitted to President
Kennedy on June 13, 1961.
Declassified in 1977, the report examined the conception, development, and
implementation of Operation Zapata. The commission’s final report focused on
administrative rather than operational matters, and evenly leveled criticism at the
White House, the CIA, the State Department, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.51
The report found that the CIA, at White House direction, had organized and
trained Cuban exiles to enter Cuba, foment anti-Castro sentiment, and ultimately
overthrow the Cuban government. Originally intended by the Eisenhower
Administration as a guerrilla operation, Zapata was supposed to operate within the
parameters of NSC Directive 5412/2, that called in part for plausible U.S. deniability.
However, in the Kennedy Administration, the operation grew in size and scope to
include a full-scale military invasion involving “sheep-dipped” B-26 bombers, supply
ships and landing craft.52 The report found that “the magnitude of Zapata could not
be prepared and conducted in such a way that all U.S. support of it and connection
with it could be plausibly disclaimed.”53
In large measure, the report blamed the operation’s planners at the CIA’s
Directorate of Plans for not keeping the President fully informed as to the exact
nature of the operation. However, the report also criticized the State Department,
JCS, and the White House for acquiescing in the Zapata Plan, that “gave the
impression to others of approving it” and for reviewing “successive changes of the
plan piecemeal and only within a limited context, a procedure that was inadequate
for a proper examination of all the military ramifications.”54
The Taylor Commission found the operation to be ill-conceived with little
chance for ultimate success. Once underway, however, the report cited President
Kennedy’s decision to limit overt U.S. air support as a factor in the CEF’s defeat.55
This decision was apparently reached in order to protect the covert character of the
operation. The report criticized this decision by stating that when an operation had
been approved, “restrictions designed to protect its covert character should have been
accepted only if they did not impair the chance of success.”56
The failure in communication, breakdown in coordination, and lack of overall
planning led the Taylor Commission to conclude that:
The Executive Branch of government was not organizationally prepared to cope
with this kind of paramilitary operation. There was no single authority short of
the President capable of coordinating the actions of CIA, State, Defense and
USIA [U.S. Information Agency]. Top level direction was given through ad hoc
51 Grose, p. 532.
52 “Sheep-dipped” is a colloquial intelligence term used for administrative arrangements
designed to ensure that the origin of a person or object is non-traceable.
53 The report was published as Operation Zapata: The “Ultrasensitive” Report and
Testimony of the Board of Inquiry on the Bay of Pigs (Frederick, MD: University
publications of America, Inc., 1981), p. 40; hereafter cited as the Taylor Report.
54 Taylor Report, p. 43.
55 Taylor Report, p. 38.
56 Taylor Report, p. 40.
meetings of senior officials without consideration of operational plans in writing57
and with no arrangement for recording conclusions reached.
The lessons of Operation Zapata led the report to recommend six courses of
action in the fields of planning, coordination, effectiveness, and responsibility in
overall Cold War strategy. The report recommended the creation of a Strategic
Resources Group (SRG) composed of representatives of under-secretarial rank from
the CIA and the Departments of State and Defense. With direct access to the
President, the SRG would act as a mechanism for the planning and coordination of
overall Cold War strategy, including paramilitary operations. The report
recommended including the opinions of the JCS in the planning and implementation
of such paramilitary operations. In the context of the Cold War, the report also
recommended a review of restraints placed upon the United States in order to make
the most effective use of the nation’s assets, without concern for international
popularity. The report concluded by reaffirming America’s commitment to forcing58
Castro from power.
The Kirkpatrick Report
Concurrent with the Taylor Commission, DCI Dulles instructed the CIA’s
Inspector General, Lyman B. Kirkpatrick, Jr., to conduct an internal investigation to
determine what the CIA had done wrong in the Cuban operation. Completed in five
months, the report was viewed by the few within CIA who read it as professionally
shabby.59 Whereas the Taylor Report had more of the detached perspective of a
management-consultant, the Kirkpatrick Report was viewed as a personal attack
against the CIA and DCI Dulles.
The 170-page report remains classified. However, in 1972, Kirkpatrick
published an article in the Naval War College Review that apparently reflected the
findings of his report.60 In particular, Kirkpatrick criticized the Zapata planners at the
Directorate of Plans for not having fully consulted the CIA’s Cuban analysts before
the invasion. The article also criticized the operation’s internal security, that
Kirkpatrick claimed was virtually nonexistent. Calling the operation frenzied,
Kirkpatrick accused the CIA of “playing it by ear” and misleading the President by
failing to inform him that “success had become dubious.”61 In Kirkpatrick’s view,
the CIA bore most of the blame, and the Kennedy Administration could be forgiven
for having trusted the advice of the operation’s planners at the Agency.
57 Taylor Report, p. 39.
58 Taylor Report, pp. 44-53.
59 Ranelagh, p. 380.
60 Lyman B. Kirkpatrick, Jr., “Paramilitary Case Study - Bay of Pigs,” Naval War College
Review, (November-December 1972). By the same author, see The U.S. Intelligence
Community: Foreign Policy and Domestic Activities (New York: Hill and Wang, 1973).
61 Evan Thomas, The Very Best Men, Four Who Dared: The Early Years of the CIA, (New
York: Simon & Schuster, 1995), p. 268. Thomas was given special permission to review
the report for use in his book even though it remains classified.
Summary of the Kennedy Administration
On May 4, 1961, following the Bay of Pigs, President Kennedy reconstituted the
PBCFIA as the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB). Although
little is known of the Kirkpatrick Report’s impact, the Taylor Report influenced
Kennedy’s desire to improve the overall management of the intelligence process. In
1962, this prompted the President to instruct the new DCI, John McCone, to
concentrate on his community-wide coordination role:
As [DCI], while you will continue to have overall responsibility for the Agency,
I shall expect you to delegate to your principal deputy, as you may deem
necessary, so much of the detailed operation of the Agency as may be required62
to permit you to carry out your primary task as [DCI].
The Johnson Administration, 1963-1969
No major investigations of the Intelligence Community were conducted under
President Lyndon B. Johnson. In large measure, this was due to America’s growing
preoccupation with the Vietnam conflict and the strain that this placed on the
community’s resources. The only major investigation during the Johnson
Administration was the Warren Commission on the assassination of President
Kennedy. Former DCI Allen Dulles served on the commission.
The Nixon Administration, 1969-1974
During the Vietnam War, the Intelligence Community devoted enormous
attention in both manpower and resources towards achieving U.S. policy objectives
in Southeast Asia. As the U.S. effort in Vietnam and Laos wound down, and
attention turned towards strategic weapons concerns with the Soviet Union, some
members of the Nixon Administration believed that the community was performing
less than adequately. In 1970, President Richard M. Nixon and National Security
Advisor Henry A. Kissinger undertook a review of the Intelligence Community’s
The Schlesinger Report, 1971
In December 1970, President Nixon commissioned the Office of Management
and Budget (OMB) to examine the Intelligence Community’s organization and
recommend improvements, short of legislation. In March 1971, the report, “A
Review of the Intelligence Community,” was submitted by Deputy OMB Director
James R. Schlesinger, a future DCI.
Known as the Schlesinger Report, the study’s forty-seven pages noted the
community’s “impressive rise in...size and cost” with the “apparent inability to
achieve a commensurate improvement in the scope and overall quality of intelligence
62 Memorandum for the Director of Central Intelligence, January 16, 1962; quoted in Prados,
products.”63 The report sought to uncover the causes of this problem and identify
areas in which constructive change could take place.
In examining the Intelligence Community, Schlesinger criticized
“unproductively duplicative” collection systems and the failure in forward planning
to coordinate the allocation of resources.64 In part, the report cited the failure of
policymakers to specify their product needs to the intelligence producers.65 However,
the report identified the primary cause of these problems as the lack of a strong,
central Intelligence Community leadership that could “consider the relationship
between cost and substantive output from a national perspective.”66 Schlesinger
found that this had engendered a fragmented, departmental intelligence effort.
To correct these problems, Schlesinger considered the creation of a Director of
National Intelligence (DNI), enhancing the DCI’s authority, and establishing a
Coordinator of National Intelligence (CNI) who would act as the White House-level
overseer of the Intelligence Community to provide more direct representation of
presidential interest in intelligence issues.67 In the end, the report recommended “a
strong DCI who could bring intelligence costs under control and intelligence
production to an adequate level of quality and responsiveness.”68
Summary of the Nixon Administration
The Schlesinger Report led to a limited reorganization of the Intelligence
Community under a Presidential directive dated November 5, 1971. In part, the
directive called for:
An enhanced leadership role for the [DCI] in planning, reviewing, and evaluating
all intelligence programs and activities, and in the production of national69
Consequently, two boards were established to assist the DCI in preparing a
consolidated intelligence budget and to supervise community-wide intelligence
production. The first, was the ill-fated Intelligence Resources Advisory Committee
(IRAC), that replaced the National Intelligence Resources Board (NIRB) established
63 A Review of the Intelligence Community, March 10, 1971, p. 1; hereafter cited as the
64 Schlesinger Report, pp. 8-9.
65 Schlesinger Report, p. 9.
66 Schlesinger Report, p. 13.
67 Schlesinger Report, pp. 25-33.
68 U.S. Congress, Senate, 94th Congress, 2nd session, Select Committee to Study
Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities Intelligence, Final Report,
69 “Reorganization of the U.S. Intelligence Community,” Weekly Compilation of Presidential
Documents, November 4, 1971, pp. 1467-1491, 1482.
in 1968 under DCI Richard Helms. The IRAC was designed to advise the DCI on
the preparation of a consolidated budget for the community’s intelligence programs.
However, IRAC was not afforded the statutory authority necessary to bring the
intelligence budget firmly under DCI control. The second, and the only long lasting
result of the Nixon directive, was the establishment of the Intelligence Community
Staff (ICS) in 1972. Created by DCI Helms, the ICS was meant to assist the DCI in
guiding the community’s collection and production of intelligence. However, the ICS
did not provide the DCI with the statutory basis necessary for an expanded
community-wide role.70 In 1992, DCI Robert Gates replaced the ICS with the
Community Management Staff (CMS).
The Era of Public Investigations, 1974-1981
In the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s, there had been widespread public
agreement on the need for an effective national security structure to confront Soviet-
led Communist expansion. However, by the late 1960s, the war in Vietnam had
begun to erode public consensus and support for U.S. foreign policy. The
controversy surrounding the Watergate Investigations after 1972, and subsequent
revelations of questionable CIA activities involving domestic surveillance, provided
a backdrop for increasing scrutiny of government policies, particularly in such fields
as national security and intelligence.
Between 1975 and 1976, this led the Ford Administration and Congress to
conduct three separate investigations that examined the propriety of intelligence
operations, assessed the adequacy of intelligence organizations and functions, and
recommended corrective measures. A fourth panel, convened earlier to look more
broadly at foreign policy, also submitted recommendations for intelligence reform.
Murphy Commission (Commission on the Organization of the
Government for the Conduct of Foreign Policy), 1975
The Commission on the Organization of the Government for the Conduct of
Foreign Policy, created pursuant to the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for
FY1973 (P.L. 92-352) of July 13, 1972, was headed by former Deputy Secretary of
State Robert D. Murphy. It looked at national security formulation and
implementation processes rather than the government as a whole. As such, the
Murphy Commission was more focused than either of the two Hoover Commissions
and devoted greater attention to intelligence issues. Although it made reference to
the need to correct “occasional failures to observe those standards of conduct that
should distinguish the behavior of agencies of the U.S. Government,”71 the
commission’s approach was marked by an emphasis of the value of intelligence to
national security policymaking and was, on the whole, supportive of the Intelligence
70 Prados, 89-414F, p. 46.
71 U.S., Commission on the Organization of the Government for the Conduct of Foreign
Policy, Report, June 1975, p. 92.
Many of the Murphy Commission’s recommendations addressed problems that
have continued to concern successive intelligence managers. The commission noted
the fundamental difficulty that DCIs have line authority over the CIA but “only
limited influence” over other intelligence agencies.72 Unlike other observers, the
Murphy Commission did not believe that this situation should be changed
fundamentally: “[It] is neither possible nor desirable to give the DCI line authority
over that very large fraction of the intelligence community that lies outside the CIA.”
At the same time, it recommended that the DCI have an office in close proximity to
the White House and be accorded regular and direct contact with the President. The
commission envisioned a DCI delegating considerable authority for managing the
CIA to a deputy while he devoted more time to community-wide responsibilities.
The commission also recommended that the DCI’s title be changed to Director of
The commission provided for other oversight mechanisms, viz., a strengthened
PFIAB and more extensive review (prior to their initiation and on a continuing basis
thereafter) of covert actions by a high-level interagency committee. It argued that
although Congress should be notified of covert actions, the President should not sign
such notifications since it is harmful to associate “the head of State so formally with
such activities.74“ It was further recommended that intelligence requirements and
capabilities be established at the NSC-level to remedy a situation in which “the work
of the intelligence community becomes largely responsive to its own perceptions of
what is important, and irrelevant information is collected, sometimes drowning out
the important.75“ It also recommended that this process be formalized in an officially
approved five-year plan. A consolidated foreign intelligence budget should also be
prepared, approved by an inter-agency committee and OMB and submitted to
Although the importance of economic intelligence was recognized, the
commission did not see a need for intelligence agencies to seek to expand in this
area; rather, it suggested that the analytical capabilities of the Departments of State,
Treasury, Commerce, Agriculture, and the Council of Economic Advisers should be
The commission noted the replacement of the Board of National Estimates by
some eleven National Intelligence Officers (NIOs) who were to draw upon analysts
in various agencies to draft National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs). This practice was
criticized because it laid excessive burdens on chosen analysts and because NIEs had
in recent years been largely ignored by senior officials (presumably Secretary of State
Kissinger) who made their own assessments of future developments based on
competing sources of information and analysis. Thus, the commission recommended
a small staff of analysts from various agencies assigned to work with NIOs in
72 Commission on Organization of the Government, p. 98
73 Commission on Organization of the Government, pp. 98-99.
74 Commission on Organization of the Government, pp. 100-101.
75 Commission on Organization of the Government, p. 101.
drafting NIEs and ensure that differences of view were clearly presented for the
Rockefeller Commission (Commission on CIA Activities
within the United States), 1975
Prior to the mid-1960s, the organization and activities of the Intelligence
Community were primarily the concern of specialists in national security and
governmental organization. The Murphy Commission, although working during a
subsequent and more politically turbulent period, had approached intelligence
reorganization from this perspective as well. The political terrain had, however, been
shifting dramatically and the Intelligence Community would not escape searching
criticism. During the era of the Vietnam War and Watergate, disputes over national
security policy focused attention on intelligence activities. In 1975, media accounts
of alleged intelligence abuses, some stretching back over decades led to a series of
highly publicized congressional hearings.
Revelations of assassination plots and other alleged abuses spurred three
separate investigations and sets of recommendations. The first was undertaken
within the Executive Branch and was headed by Vice President Nelson A.
Rockefeller. Other investigations were conducted by select committees in both
houses of Congress. The Senate effort was led by Senator Frank Church and the
House committee was chaired by Representative Otis Pike. These investigations led
to the creation of the two permanent intelligence committees and much closer
oversight by the Congress. In addition, they also produced a number of
recommendations for reorganization and realignment within the Intelligence
Established by Executive Order 11828 on January 4, 1975, the Commission on
CIA Activities within the United States was chaired by Vice President Rockefeller
and included seven others appointed by President Ford (including then-former
Governor Ronald Reagan). The commission’s mandate was to investigate whether
the CIA had violated provisions of the National Security Act of 1947, precluding the
CIA from exercising internal security functions.
The Rockefeller Commission’s 30 recommendations76 included a number of
proposals designed to delimit CIA’s authority to collect foreign intelligence within
the United States (from “willing sources”) and proscribe collection of information
about the domestic activities of U.S. citizens, to strengthen PFIAB, to establish a
congressional joint intelligence committee, and to establish guidelines for
cooperation with the Justice Department regarding the prosecution of criminal
violations by CIA employees. There was another recommendation to consider the
question of whether the CIA budget should be made public, if not in full at least in
76 Report to the President by the Commission on CIA Activities Within the United States,
The commission recommended that consideration should be given to appointing
DCIs from outside the career service of the CIA and that no DCI serve longer than
10 years. Two deputies should be appointed; one to serve as an administrative officer
to free the DCI from day-to-day management duties; the other a military officer to
foster relations with the military and provide technical expertise on military
The CIA position of Inspector General should be upgraded and his
responsibilities expanded along with those of the General Counsel. Guidelines
should be developed to advise agency personnel as to what activities are permitted
and what are forbidden by law and executive orders.
The President should instruct the DCI that domestic mail openings should not
be undertaken except in time of war and that mail cover operations (examining and
copying of envelopes only) are to be undertaken only on a limited basis “clearly
involving matters of national security.”
The commission was specifically concerned with CIA infiltration of domestic
organizations and submitted a number of recommendations in this area. Presidents
should refrain from directing the CIA to perform what are essentially internal security
tasks and the CIA should resist any effort to involve itself in improper activities. The
CIA “should guard against allowing any component ... to become so self-contained
and isolated from top leadership that regular supervision and review are lost.” Files
of previous improper investigations should be destroyed. The agency should not
infiltrate American organizations without a written determination by the DCI that
there is a threat to agency operations, facilities, or personnel that cannot be met by
law enforcement agencies. Other recommendations were directed at CIA
investigations of its personnel or former personnel, including provisions relating to
physical surveillance, wire or oral communications, and access to income tax
As a result of efforts by some White House staff during the Nixon
Administration to use CIA resources improperly, a number of recommendations dealt
with the need to establish appropriate channels between the agency and the Executive
Office of the President.
Reacting to evidence that drugs had been tested on unsuspecting persons, the
commission recommended that the practice should not be renewed. Also, equipment
for monitoring communications should not be tested on unsuspecting persons within
the United States. An independent agency should be established to oversee civilian
uses of aerial photography to avoid any concerns over the improper domestic use of
a CIA-developed system.
Concerned with distinguishing the separate responsibilities of the CIA and the
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the commission urged that the DCI and the
Director of the FBI prepare and submit to the National Security Council a detailed
agreement setting forth the jurisdictions of each agency and providing for effective
liaison between them.
The commission also recommended that all intelligence agencies review their
holdings of classified information and declassify as much as possible.
Church Committee (Senate Select Committee to Study
Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence
Established in the wake of sensational revelations about assassination plots
organized by the CIA, the Church Committee had a much wider mandate than the
Rockefeller Commission, extending beyond the CIA to all intelligence agencies.77
It too, however, concentrated on illegalities and improprieties rather than
organizational or managerial questions per se. After extensive and highly publicized
hearings, the committee made some 183 recommendations in its final report, issued
April 26, 1976.78
The principal recommendation was that omnibus legislation be enacted to set
forth the basic purposes of national intelligence activities and defining the
relationship between intelligence activities and the Congress. Criticizing vagueness
in the National Security Act of 1947, the committee urged charters for the several
intelligence agencies to set forth general organizational structures and procedures,
and delineate roles and responsibilities. There should also be specific and clearly
defined prohibitions or limitations on intelligence activities. The effort to pass such
legislation would consume considerable attention over a number of years, following
the completion of the work of the Church Committee.
A number of recommendations reflected the committee’s views on the
appropriate role of the National Security Council in directing and monitoring the
work of the intelligence agencies. The apparent goal was to encourage a more formal
process, with accountability assigned to cabinet-level officials. The committee
concluded that covert actions should be conducted only upon presidential
authorization with notification to appropriate congressional committees.
Attention was given to the role of the DCI within the entire Intelligence
Community. The committee recommended that the DCI be recognized by statute as
the President’s principal foreign intelligence advisor and that he should be
responsible for establishing national intelligence requirements, preparing the national
intelligence budget, and for providing guidance for intelligence operations.
The DCI should have specific responsibility for choosing among the programs
of the different collection and production agencies and departments and to insure
against waste and unnecessary duplication. The DCI should also have responsibility
77 An informed account of the Church Committee’s work is Loch K. Johnson, A Season of
Inquiry: Congress and Intelligence, 2nd. ed. (Chicago: Dorsey Press, 1988).
78 U.S. Congress, Senate, 94th Congress, 2nd session, Select Committee to Study
Governmental Operations with respect to Intelligence Activities, Foreign and Military
Intelligence, Final Report, Book I, S.Rept. 94-755, April 26, 1976; hereafter cited as the
Church Committee Report.
for issuing fiscal guidance for the allocation of all national intelligence resources.
The authority of the DCI to reprogram funds within the intelligence budget should
be defined by statute.79
Monies for the national intelligence budget would be appropriated to the DCI
rather than to the directors of the various agencies. The committee also
recommended that the DCI be authorized to establish an intelligence community staff
to assist him in carrying out his managerial responsibilities. The staff should be
drawn “from the best available talent within and outside the intelligence
community.”80 Further, the position of Deputy DCI for the Intelligence Community
should be established by statute (in addition to the existing DDCI who would have
responsibility primarily for the CIA itself). It also urged consideration of separating
the DCI from direct responsibility over the CIA.
The DCI, it was urged, should serve at the pleasure of the President, but for no
more than ten years.
The committee also looked at intelligence analysis. It recommended a more
flexible and less hierarchical personnel system with more established analysts being
brought in at middle and upper grades. Senior positions should be established on the
basis of analytical ability rather than administrative responsibilities. Analysts should
be encouraged to accept temporary assignments at other agencies or on the NSC staff
to give them an appreciation for policymakers’ use of intelligence information. A
system should be in place to ensure that analysts are more promptly informed about
U.S. policies and programs affecting their areas of responsibility.
In addressing covert actions, the committee recommended barring political
assassinations, efforts to subvert democratic governments, and support for police and
other internal security forces engaged in systematic violations of human rights.
The committee addressed the questions of separating CIA’s analysis and
production functions from clandestine collection and covert action functions. It listed
the pros and cons of this approach, but ultimately recommended only that the
intelligence committees should give it consideration.
Reflecting concerns about abuses of the rights of U.S. citizens, the committee
made a series of recommendations regarding CIA involvement with the academic
community, members of religious organizations, journalists, recipients of government
grants, and the covert use of books and publishing houses. A particular concern was
limiting any influence on domestic politics of materials published by the CIA
overseas. Attention was also given to proprietary organizations CIA creates to
conduct operations abroad; the committee believed them necessary, but advocated
stricter regulation and congressional oversight.
79 Church Committee Report, pp. 434-435.
80 Church Committee Report, p. 435.
The committee recommended enhanced positions for CIA’s Inspector General
(IG) and General Counsel (GC), urging that the latter be made a presidential
appointee requiring Senate confirmation.
In looking at intelligence agencies other than the CIA, the committee
recommended that the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) be made part of the
civilian Office of the Secretary of Defense and that a small J-2 staff provide
intelligence support to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It was urged that the directors of
both DIA and the National Security Agency (NSA) should be appointed by the
President and confirmed by the Senate. The committee believe that either the
director or deputy director of DIA and of NSA should be civilians. Turning to the
State Department, the committee urged the Administration to issue instructions to
implement legislation that authorized ambassadors to be provided information about
activities conducted by intelligence agencies in their assigned countries. It also stated
that State Department efforts to collect foreign political and economic information
overtly should be improved.
Funding for intelligence activities has been included in Defense Department
authorization and appropriations legislation since the end of World War II. The
Church Commission advocated making public, at least, total amounts and suggested
consideration be given as to whether more detailed information should also be
released. The General Accounting Office (GAO) should be empowered to conduct
audits at the request of congressional oversight committees.
Tests by intelligence agencies on human subjects of drugs or devices that could
cause physical or mental harm should not occur except under stringent conditions.
The committee made a number of recommendations regarding procedures for
granting security clearances and for handling classified information. It also
recommended consideration of new legislative initiatives to deal with other existing
problems. Finally, the Committee recommended the creation of a registry of all
classified executive orders, including NSC directives, with access provided to
congressional oversight committees.
Pike Committee (House Select Committee
on Intelligence), 1976
The House Select Committee on Intelligence, chaired by Representative Otis G.
Pike, also conducted a wide-ranging survey of intelligence activities. In the conduct
of its hearings, the Pike Committee was far more adversarial to the intelligence
agencies than the Senate Committee. Publication of its final report was not
authorized by the House, although a version was published in a New York tabloid.
The Pike Committee’s recommendations, however, were published on February 11,81
81 U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, 94th Congress, 2nd session, Select Committee
on Intelligence, Recommendations of the Final Report of the House Select Committee on
Intelligence, H.Rept. 94-833, February 11, 1976.
oversight, with one dealing, anomalously, with the status of the Assistant to the
President for National Security Affairs.
The Pike Committee recommended that covert actions not include, except in
time of war, any activities involving direct or indirect attempts to assassinate any
individual. The prohibition was extended to all paramilitary operations. A National
Security Council subcommittee would review all proposals for covert actions and
copies of each subcommittee member’s comments would be provided to
congressional committees. The committee further recommended that congressional
oversight committees be notified of presidential approval of covert actions within 48
hours. According to the proposal, all covert actions would have to be terminated no
later than 12 months from the date of approval or reconsidered.
The committee recommended that specific legislation be enacted to establish
NSA and define its role in monitoring communications of Americans and placed
under civilian control.
The Pike Committee further recommended that all “intelligence related items”
be included as intelligence expenditures in the President’s budget and that the total
sum budgeted for intelligence be disclosed.
The committee recommended that transfers of funds be prohibited between
agencies or departments involved in intelligence activities. Reprogramming of funds
within agencies would be dependent upon the specific approval of congressional
oversight and appropriations committees. The same procedures would be required
for expenditures from reserve or contingency funds.
The Pike Committee also looked at the role of the DCI. Like many others who
have studied the question, it recommended that the DCI should be separate from
managing any agency and should focus on coordinating and overseeing the entire
intelligence effort with a view towards eliminating duplication of effort and
promoting competition in analysis. It advocated that he should be a member of the
National Security Council. Under this proposal the DCI would have a separate staff
and would prepare national intelligence estimates and daily briefings for the
President. He would receive budget proposals from agencies involved in intelligence
activities. (The recommendations did not indicate the extent of his authority to
approve or disapprove these recommendations.) The DCI would be charged with
coordinating intelligence agencies under his jurisdiction, eliminating duplication, and
evaluating performance and efficiency.
The committee recommended that the GAO conduct a full and complete
management and financial audit of all intelligence agencies and that the CIA internal
audit staff be given complete access to CIA financial records.
The committee recommended that a permanent foreign operations subcommittee
of the NSC, composed of cabinet-rank officials, be established. This subcommittee
would have jurisdiction over all authorized activities of intelligence agencies (except
those solely related to intelligence gathering) and review all covert actions,
clandestine activities, and hazardous collecting activities.
It was recommended that DIA be abolished and its functions divided between
the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the CIA. The intelligence components of
the military services would be prohibited from undertaking covert actions within the
U.S. or clandestine activities against U.S. citizens abroad.
Relations between intelligence and law enforcement organizations were to be
limited. Intelligence agencies would be barred from providing funds to religious or
educational institutions or to those media with general circulation in the United
The committee recommended that specific legislation be considered to deal with
the classification and regular declassification of information.
It was also recommended that an Inspector General for Intelligence be
nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate with authority to investigate
potential misconduct of any intelligence agency or personnel. He would make annual
reports to the Congress.
The committee also made recommendations regarding the organization and
operations of the FBI and its role in investigating domestic groups.
In an additional recommendation, Representative Les Aspin, a member of the
committee, urged that the CIA be divided into two separate agencies, one for analysis
and the other for clandestine collection and covert operations. A similar
recommendation was made by Representative Ron Dellums, who also served on the
Clifford and Cline Proposals, 1976
In 1976 hearings by the Senate Committee on Government Operations, Clark
Clifford (who had served as President Johnson’s final Secretary of Defense and, in
an earlier position in the Truman Administration, had been involved in legislation
creating the CIA) proposed the creation of a post of Director General of Intelligence
to serve as the President’s chief adviser on intelligence matters and as principal point
of contact with the congressional intelligence committees. There would be a separate
director of the CIA whose duties would be restricted to day-to-day operations.82
In the same year, Ray Cline, a former Deputy Director of the CIA, made a
number of recommendations.83 He recommended that the DCI exert broad
supervisory powers over the entire intelligence community and the CIA be divided
into two agencies, one to undertake analytical work and the other for clandestine
services. He also proposed that the DCI be given cabinet rank, a practice that would
find support in both the Reagan and Clinton administrations.
82 U.S. Congress, Senate, 94th Congress, 2nd session, Committee on Government
Operations, Oversight of U.S. Government Intelligence Functions, Hearings, Jan. 21-Feb.
83 In his book Secrets, Spies, and Scholars (Washington: Acropolis Books, 1976).
Proposed Charter Legislation, 1978-1980
Subsequent to the establishment of permanent intelligence oversight committees
in the Senate in 1976 and the House of Representatives in 1977, attention in
Congress shifted to consideration of charter legislation for intelligence agencies.84
It was envisioned that the charter legislation would include many of the
recommendations made earlier by the Church and Pike Committees. Introduced by
Senator Walter Huddleston and Representative Edward Boland, the draft National
Intelligence Reorganization and Reform Act of 1978 (S. 2525/H.R. 11245, 95th
Congress) would have provided statutory charters to all intelligence agencies and
created a Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to serve as head of the entire
Intelligence Community. Day-to-day leadership of CIA could be delegated to a
deputy at presidential discretion. The draft legislation contained numerous reporting
requirements (regarding covert actions in particular) to Congress and an extensive list
of banned or restricted activities. The draft legislation of more that 170 pages was
strongly criticized from all sides in hearings; some arguing that it would legitimize
covert actions inconsistent with American ideals and others suggesting that its
complex restrictions would unduly hamper the protection of vital American interests.
The bills were never reported out of either intelligence committee, although the
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (P.L. 95-511) provided a statutory base
for electronic surveillance within the United States.
Charter legislation was also introduced in the 96th Congress. It contained many
of the provisions introduced in the earlier version, but also loosened freedom of
information regulations for intelligence agencies and the requirements of the Hughes-
Ryan amendments of 1974 requiring that some eight committees be notified of covert
actions. This legislation (S. 2284, 96th Congress) came under even heavier criticism
from all sides than its predecessor. It was not reported by the Senate Intelligence
Committee, but other stand-alone legislation did pass and a shorter bill reducing the
number of committees receiving notification of covert actions — and “significant
anticipated intelligence activities” — was introduced and eventually became law in
October 1980 as part of the FY1981 Intelligence Authorization Act (P.L. 96-450).
The Executive Branch Response, 1976-1981
Concurrent with, and subsequent to, these legislative initiatives, the Executive
Branch, in part to head off further congressional action, implemented some of the
more limited recommendations contained in their respective proposals. Presidents
Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan each issued detailed Executive
Orders (E.O.) setting guidelines for the organization and management of the U.S.
84 The effort to pass intelligence charter legislation is described in John M. Oseth,
Regulating U.S. Intelligence Operations: A Study in Definition of the National Interest
(Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 1985); also, Frank J. Smist, Jr., Congress
Oversees the United States Intelligence Community, Second Edition, 1947-1994 (Knoxville,
TN: University of Tennessee Press, 1994).
Issued by President Ford on February 18, 1976, prior to the release of the
Church and Pike Committee findings, Executive Order 11905 undertook to
implement some of the more limited recommendations of the Rockefeller and
Murphy Commissions. In particular, E.O. 11905 identified the DCI as the
President’s primary intelligence advisor and the principal spokesman for the
Intelligence Community and gave him responsibilities for developing the National
Foreign Intelligence Program (NFIP). It also delineated responsibilities of each
intelligence agency, provided two NSC-level committees for internal review of
intelligence operations, and established a separate three-member Intelligence
Oversight Board to review the legality and propriety of intelligence activities. It
placed restrictions on the physical and electronic surveillance of American citizens
by intelligence agencies.85
On January 24, 1978, President Carter issued Executive Order 12036, that
superseded E.O. 11905.86 Carter’s Executive Order sought to define more clearly the
DCI’s community-wide authority in areas relating to the “budget, tasking,
intelligence review, coordination and dissemination, and foreign liaison.”87 In
particular, it formally recognized the establishment of the National Foreign
Intelligence Program budget and the short-lived National Intelligence Tasking Center
(NTIC), that was supposed to assist the DCI in “translating intelligence requirements
and priorities into collection objectives.”88 E.O. 11905 also restricted medical
experimentation and prohibited political assassinations.
President Reagan continued the trend towards enhancing the DCI’s community-
wide budgetary, tasking, and managerial authority. On December 4, 1981, he issued
Executive Order 12333, detailing the roles, responsibilities, missions, and activities
of the Intelligence Community. It supplanted the previous orders issued by
Presidents Ford and Carter. E.O. 12333 remains the governing executive branch
mandate concerning the managerial structure of the Intelligence Community.
E.O. 12333 designates the DCI “as the primary intelligence advisor to the
President and NSC on national foreign intelligence.”89 In this capacity, the DCI’s
duties include the implementation of special activities (covert actions), liaison to the
nation’s foreign intelligence and counterintelligence components, and the overall
protection of the community’s sources, methods, and analytical procedures.90 It grants
85 Executive Order 11905, February 18, 1976, United States Foreign Intelligence Activities,
as summarized in Alfred B. Prados, Intelligence Reform: Recent History and Proposals,
CRS Report 88-562 F, August 18, 1988, p. 18; hereafter cited as Prados, 88-562 F. (Out of
print report; available upon request from the author.)
86 Executive Order 12036, January 24, 1978, United States Intelligence Activities; hereafter
cited as Executive Order 12036.
87 Lowenthal, p. 107.
88 Bruce W. Watson, Susan M. Watson, and Gerald W. Hopple, United States Intelligence:
An Encyclopedia (New York: Garland Publishing, 1990), p. 231.
89 Section 1.5(a), Executive Order 12333, December 4, 1981, United States Intelligence
90 Executive Order 12333, Section 1.5 (d,e,h).
the DCI “full responsibility for [the] production and dissemination of national foreign
intelligence,” including the authority to task non-CIA intelligence agencies, and the
ability to decide on community tasking conflicts.91 The order also sought to grant the
DCI more explicit authority over the development, implementation, and evaluation
To a certain extent, E.O. 12333 represented a relaxation of the restrictions
placed upon the community by Carter. Although it maintained the prohibition on
assassination, the focus was on “authorizations” rather than “restrictions.”
“Propriety” was removed as a criterion for approving operations. Arguably, the
Reagan Administration established a presumption in favor of government needs over
individual rights.93 However, in the absence of legislation, the DCI continued to lack
statutory authority over all aspects of the Intelligence Community, including
The Turner Proposal, 1985
In 1985, Admiral Stansfield Turner, DCI in the Carter Administration,
expressed his views on the need for intelligence reform94. In part, Turner
recommended reducing the emphasis on covert action and implementing a charter for
the Intelligence Community. The most important recommendation involved the
future of the DCI of which Turner maintained:
The two jobs, head of the CIA and head of the Intelligence Community, conflict.
One person cannot do justice to both and fulfill the DCI’s responsibilities to the
President, the Congress, and the public as well.95
Turner went on to propose the separation of the two jobs of DCI and head of the
CIA with the creation of a Director of National Intelligence, separate and superior to
the CIA. Turner also recommended placing less emphasis on the use of covert action
than the Reagan Administration.
Iran-Contra Investigation, 1987
During highly publicized investigations of the Reagan Administration’s covert
support to Iran and the Nicaraguan Resistance, the role of the Intelligence
Community, the CIA, and DCI Casey were foci of attention. Much of the
involvement of National Security Council staff was undertaken precisely because
legislation had been enacted severely limiting the role of intelligence agencies in
Central America and because efforts to free the hostages through cooperation with
91 Executive Order 12333, Section 1.5(k,h).
92 Lowenthal, p. 107.
93 See Oseth, Regulating U.S. Intelligence Operations, especially p. 155.
94 In his book Secrecy and Democracy: The CIA in Transition (Boston: Houghton Mifflin,
95 Secrecy and Democracy, p. 273.
Iranian officials had been strongly opposed by CIA officials. The executive branch’s
review, chaired by former Senator John Tower, expressed concern that precise
procedures be established for restricted consideration of covert actions and that NSC
policy officials had been too closely involved in the preparation of intelligence
estimates.96 The investigation of the affair by two congressional select committees
resulted in a number of recommendations for changes in laws and regulations
governing intelligence activities.
Specifically the majority report of the two congressional select committees that
investigated the affair made a number of recommendations regarding presidential
findings concerning the need to initiative covert actions. Findings should be made
prior to the initiation of a covert action, they should be in writing, and they should
be made known to appropriate Members of Congress in no event later than forty-
eight hours after approval. Further, the majority of the committees urged that
findings be far more specific than some had been in the Reagan Administration.
Statutory inspector general and general counsels, confirmed by the Senate, for the
CIA were also recommended.97 Minority members of the two committees made
several recommendations regarding congressional oversight, urging that on extremely
sensitive matters that notifications of covert actions be made to only four Members
of Congress instead of the existing requirement for eight to be notified.98
These recommendations were subsequently considered by the two intelligence
committees. A number of provisions was enacted dealing with covert action findings
in the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY1991 (P.L. 102-88).
A major legislative initiative, reflecting the changed situation of the post-Cold
War world, began in February 1992, when Senator David Boren, the Chairman of the
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Representative Dave McCurdy, the
Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, announced
separate plans for an omnibus restructuring of the U.S. Intelligence Community, to
serve as an intelligence counterpart to the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense
Reorganization Act of 1986. The two versions of the initiative (S. 2198 and H.R.
4165, 102nd Congress) differed in several respects, but the overall thrust of the two
bills was similar. Both proposals called for the following:
96 U.S., President’s Special Review Board, Report, 1987, pp. V-5 — V-6.
97 U.S. Congress, 100th Congress, 1st session, Senate Select Committee on Secret Military
Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition and U.S. House of Representatives Select
Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran, Report of the Congressional
Committees Investigating the Iran-Contra Affair with Supplemental, Minority, and
Additional Views, S.Rept. 100-216/H.Rept. 100-433, November 17, 1987, pp. 423-427;
hereafter cited as the Iran-Contra Report.
98 Iran-Contra Report, pp. 583-586.
!Creating a Director of National Intelligence (DNI) with authority to
program and reprogram intelligence funds throughout the
Intelligence Community, including the Defense Department, and to
direct their expenditure; and to task intelligence agencies and
transfer personnel temporarily from one agency to another to support
!Creating two Deputy Directors of National Intelligence (DDNIs);
one of whom would be responsible for analysis and estimates, the
other for Intelligence Community affairs;
!Creating a separate Director of the CIA, subordinate to the new DNI,
to manage the agency’s collection and covert action capabilities on
a day-to-day basis;
!Consolidating analytical and estimative efforts of the Intelligence
Community (including analysts from CIA, and some from DIA, the
Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) at the State Department,
and other agencies) into a separate office under one of the Deputy
DNIs (this aspect of the proposal would effectively separate CIA’s
analytical elements from its collection and covert action offices);
!Creating a National Imagery Agency within the Department of
Defense (DOD) to collect, exploit, and analyze imagery (these tasks
had been spread among several entities; the House version would
divide these efforts into two new separate agencies); and
!Authorizing the Director of DIA to task defense intelligence
agencies (DIA, NSA, the new Imagery Agency) with collection
requirements; and to shift functions, funding, and personnel from
one DOD intelligence agency to another.
This major restructuring effort would have provided statutory mandates for
agencies where operational authority was created by executive branch directives.
Both statutes and executive branch directives provided the DCI authority to task
intelligence agencies outside the CIA and to approve budgets and reprogramming
efforts; in practice, however, this authority had never been fully exercised. This
legislation would have provided a statutory basis for the DCI (or DNI) to direct
collection and analytical efforts throughout the Intelligence Community.
The Boren-McCurdy legislation was not adopted, although provisions were
added to the FY1994 Intelligence Authorization Act (P.L. 102-496) that provided
basic charters for intelligence agencies within the National Security Act and set forth
in law the DCI’s coordinative responsibilities vis-à-vis intelligence agencies other
than the CIA. Observers credited strong opposition from the Defense Department
and concerns of the Armed Services Committees with inhibiting passage of the
Commission on the Roles and Capabilities of the U.S.
Intelligence Community (Aspin/Brown Commission), 1995-
Established pursuant to the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY1995 (P.L.
103-359) of September 27, 1994, the Commission on the Roles and Capabilities of
the U.S. Intelligence Community was formed to assess the future direction, priorities,
and structure of the Intelligence Community in the post-Cold War environment.
Originally under the chairmanship of Les Aspin, after his sudden death the
commission was headed by former Secretary of Defense Harold Brown. Nine
members were appointed by the president and eight nominated by the congressional
The Report of the Aspin/Brown Commission99 made a number of
recommendations regarding the organization of the Intelligence Community.
Structural changes in the NSC staff were proposed to enhance the guidance provided
to intelligence agencies. Global crime — terrorism, international drug trafficking,
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and international organized crime —
was given special attention with recommendations for an NSC Committee on Global
Crime. The Commission also recommended designating the Attorney General to
coordinate the “nation’s law enforcement response to global crime,”and clarifying
the authority of intelligence agencies to collect information concerning foreign
persons abroad for law enforcement purposes. It urged that the sharing of relevant
information between the law enforcement and intelligence communities be expanded,100
and their activities overseas be better coordinated.
The Commission noted that it considered many options for dealing with
limitations in the DCI’s ability to coordinate the activities of all intelligence agencies.
The Aspin/Brown Commission recommended the establishment of two new deputies
to the DCI — one for the Intelligence Community and one for day-to-day
management of the CIA. Both would be Senate-confirmed positions and the latter
for a fixed six-year term. The DCI would concur in the appointment of the heads of
“national” intelligence elements within DOD and would evaluate their performance
in their positions as part of their ratings by the Secretary of Defense. “In addition,
the DCI would be given new tools to carry out his responsibilities with respect to the
intelligence budget and new authority over the intelligence personnel systems.”
The Aspin/Brown Commission recommended the realignment of intelligence
budgeting procedures with “discipline” (i.e. sigint, imagery, humint, etc.) managers
having responsibilities for managing similar efforts in all intelligence agencies. “The
DCI should be provided a sufficient staff capability to enable him to assess tradeoffs
between programs or program elements and should establish a uniform, community-
99 Report of the Commission on the Roles and Capabilities of the United States Intelligence
Community, Preparing for the 21st Century: An Appraisal of U.S. Intelligence (Washington:
Government Printing Office, 1996).
100 Ibid., p. xix.
wide resource data base to serve as the principal information tool for resource
management across the Intelligence Community.”101
Responding to a longstanding criticism of intelligence budget processes, the
Commission recommended that the total amounts appropriated for intelligence
activities be disclosed — a recommendation that was implemented by the Clinton
Administration for Fiscal Years 1997 and 1998. Subsequently, however, figures
were not made public.
In regard to congressional oversight, the Aspin/Brown Commission
recommended that appointments to intelligence committees not be made for limited
numbers of years but treated like appointments to other congressional committees.
IC21: Intelligence Community in the 21st Century, 1996
In addition to the Aspin/Brown Commission, in 1995-1996 the House
Intelligence Committee undertook its own extensive review of intelligence issues.
Many of the conclusions of the resultant IC21 Staff Study were consistent with those
of the Commission.102 The “overarching concept” was a need for a more “corporate”
intelligence community, i.e. a collection of agencies that recognize that they are parts
of “a larger coherent process aiming at a single goal: the delivery of timely
intelligence to policy makers at various levels.” Accordingly, “central management
should be strengthened, core competencies (collection, analysis, operations) should
be reinforced and infrastructure should be consolidated wherever possible.”103
Specific IC21 recommendations provided for a radically restructured community
!the DCI should have a stronger voice in the appointment of the
directors of NFIP defense agencies;
!the DCI should have greater programmatic control of intelligence
budgets and intelligence personnel;
!a Committee on Foreign Intelligence should be established within
the National Security Council;
!two DDCIs should be established; one to direct the CIA and
managing analysis and production throughout the Community and
the other responsible for IC-wide budgeting, requirements and
collection management and tasking, infrastructure management and
101 Ibid., p. xxi.
102 U.S. Congress, 104th Congress, House of Representatives, Permanent Select Committee
on Intelligence, Staff Study, IC21: Intelligence Community in the 21st Century, April 9,
103 Ibid., p. 9.
!establishment of a Community Management Staff with IC-wide
authority over, and coordination of, requirements, resources and
!there should be a uniformed officer serving as Director of Military
Intelligence with authority to manage/coordinate defense intelligence
programs (JMIP and TIARA);
!the Clandestine Service, responsible for all humint, should be
separated from the CIA, reporting directly to the DCI;
!a Technical Collection Agency should be established to create an IC-
wide management organization responsible for directing all
collection tasking by all agencies and ensuring a coherent, multi-
discipline approach to all collection issues;
!there should be common standards and protocols for technical
collection systems, from collection through processing, exploitation
!a Technology Development Office should be established to perform
community research and development functions; and
!congressional oversight should be strengthened by the establishment
of a joint intelligence committee; alternatively the House
intelligence committee should be made a standing committee
without tenure limits.
The Response to Aspin/Brown and IC21:
The Intelligence Authorization Act for FY1997
Congressional Response. The recommendations of the Aspin/Brown
Commission and the IC21 Study led to extensive congressional consideration of
intelligence organization issues. The House Intelligence Committee considered
separate legislation on intelligence organization (H.R. 3237, 104th Congress); the
Senate included extensive organizational provisions as part of the intelligence
authorization bill for FY1997 (S. 1718, 104th Congress). In addition, the Defense
Authorization Act for FY1997 (P.L. 104-201) included provisions establishing the
National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA)104 that combined elements from
intelligence agencies as well as the Defense Mapping Agency which had not been
part of the Intelligence Community.105
104 In 2003 NIMA was renamed the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA).
105 For the creation of NIMA, see Anne Daugherty Miles, “The Creation of the National
Imagery and Mapping Agency: Congress’s Role as Overseer,” Occasional Paper Number
Nine, Joint Military Intelligence College, April 2001.
The conference version of the FY1997 intelligence authorization legislation,
eventually enacted as P.L. 104-293, included as its Title VIII, the “Intelligence
Renewal and Reform Act of 1996.” The act established within the NSC two
committees, one on foreign intelligence and another on transnational threats. The
former was to identify intelligence priorities and establish policies. The latter was
to identify transnational threats and develop strategies to enable the U.S. to respond
and to “develop policies and procedures to ensure the effective sharing of
information about transnational threats among Federal departments and agencies,
including law enforcement agencies and the elements of the intelligence community.
Two deputy DCI positions were established, one for Deputy DCI and the other
for a Deputy DCI for Community Management, both Senate-confirmed positions.
While the Deputy DCI would have responsibilities coterminous with those of the
DCI, the Deputy DCI for Community Management would focus on the coordination
of all intelligence agencies. Congress did not attempt to establish a position for a
head of the CIA separate from that of the DCI.
In addition to the two deputy DCIs, the legislation provided for three assistant
DCIs — for Collection, for Analysis and Production of Intelligence, and for
Administration. The statute calls for all three assistant DCI positions to be filled by,
and with, the advice and consent of the Senate. The statute is clear that the positions
were envisioned as being designed to enhance intelligence capabilities and
coordination of the efforts of all intelligence agencies. In addition, the legislation
required that the DCI concur in the appointment of three major defense intelligence
agencies — NSA, the NRO, and NIMA (later renamed the National Geospatial-
Intelligence Agency). If the DCI failed to concur, the nominations could still be
forwarded to the President, but the DCI’s non-concurrence had to be noted. The act
required that the DCI be consulted in the appointment of the DIA director, the
Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research, and the director of the
Office of Nonproliferation and National Security of the Energy Department107. The
FBI director is required to give the DCI timely notice of an intention to fill the
position of assistant director of the FBI’s National Security Division.
The act gave the DCI authority to develop and present to the President an annual
budget for the National Foreign Intelligence Program and to participate in the
development by the Secretary of Defense of the Joint Military Intelligence Program
(JMIP) and the Tactical Intelligence and Related Activities Program (TIARA).
Moreover, the DCI gained authority to “approve collection requirements, determine
collection priorities, and resolve conflicts in collection priorities levied on national
106 Codified at 50 USC 402(i)(4)(F); transnational threats were defined as “any transnational
activity (including international terrorism, narcotics trafficking, the proliferation of weapons
of mass destruction and the delivery systems for such weapons, and organized crime) that
threatens the national security of the United States.” 50 USC 402(i)(5)(A).
107 Subsequently modified in 2001 by P.L. 107-108 to substitute the Director of the Office
of Intelligence and the Director of the Office of Counterintelligence of the Department of
Energy. More recently, legislation signed in 2003 added the Assistant Secretary for
Intelligence and Analysis of the Department of the Treasury (P.L. 108-381).
collection assets, except as otherwise agreed with the Secretary of Defense pursuant
to the direction of the President.”108
Presidential Statement. President Clinton signed the legislation on October
the creation of two new NSC committees. “Such efforts to dictate the President’s
policy process unduly intrude upon Executive prerogatives and responsibilities. I
would note that under my Executive authority, I have already asked the NSC to
examine these issues.” Furthermore, he criticized provisions requiring the DCI to
concur or be consulted before the appointment of certain intelligence officials. This
requirement, he argued, “is constitutionally questionable in two areas: regarding
limitations on the President’s ability to receive the advice of cabinet officers; and
regarding circumscription of the President’s appointment authority.”
The statement also noted the “strong opposition” by DCI John Deutch to
provisions establishing three new assistant DCIs, each requiring Senate confirmation.
President Clinton added: “I share his concerns that these provisions will add another
layer of positions requiring Senate confirmation without a corresponding gain in the
DCI’s authority or ability to manage the Intelligence Community. I understand that
the DCI intends to seek repeal or significant modification of these provisions in theth109
Implementation. George Tenet, nominated to succeed John Deutch,
responded to a question from Senator Robert Kerrey during his Senate confirmation
hearing in May 1997, that “I may have some changes in the law in my own mind, if
I’m confirmed, that allows us to meet your objectives. And I want to come work
with you on it.” Tenet also indicated that he believed that the DCI’s statutory
responsibilities for coordinating the work of all intelligence agencies was adequate.110
In May 1998, the Senate Intelligence Committee held a hearing on the
nomination of Joan A. Dempsey as the first Deputy DCI for Community
Management. In opening remarks, Chairman Shelby noted discussions with the
executive branch regarding the positions established by P.L. 104-293:
we have reached an accommodation with the Director of Central Intelligence on
these positions, and we expect that the President to put forward a nominee for the
position of Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Administration, or
ADCI, soon. We have agreed to allow the DCI to fill the positions of ADCI for
Collection and ADCI for Analysis and Production without exercising the
108 50 USC 403-3(c)(1)(3).
109 Statement on Signing the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997, October
110 U.S. Congress, 105th Congress, 1st session, Senate, Select Committee on Intelligence,
Nomination of George J. Tenet to be Director of Central Intelligence, S. Hearing 105-314,
May 6, 1997, pp. 64, 89.
Senate’s right for advice and consent for up to one year while we assess the new111
Dempsey in her testimony succinctly set forth the fundamental problem of
It’s somewhat amusing to me — and I’ve spent most of my career in the
Department of Defense ... and when I was in DOD there was always this fear that
a very powerful DCI with a full-time emphasis on intelligence and managing the
community would fail to support the DOD the way it needed to be supported
with intelligence. Since I’ve come over to the Central Intelligence Agency side
of the intelligence community, I’ve found the same fear, but this time directed
at what DOD is going to do to subvert the role of the DCI.
She noted, however, the establishment of coordinative mechanisms such as the
Defense Resources Board and the Intelligence Program Review Group and “constant
accommodations made by Secretaries of Defense and DCIs to work together to find
solutions to problems.” In general, she argued, “the relations have been good.”112
The following February, the Senate Intelligence Committee met to consider the
nomination of James Simon as Assistant DCI for Administration. At the hearing, the
Vice Chairman, Senator Robert Kerrey, noted that the DCI had taken the interim
steps of appointing Acting Assistant Directors for collection and for analysis. He
added: “I expect Presidential nominations for these positions will be forthcoming
soon.”113 He noted, however, that “Once the 1997 Authorization Act was passed, the
Community resisted mightily the appointment of Assistant Directors of Central
Intelligence for collection and analysis.”114
Simon testified that he would be responsible for “the creation of a process to
ensure that the needs of all customers — strategic and tactical, intelligence and
battlefield surveillance, traditional and novel — are articulated, validated, and made
manifest in our programs.”115 Simon noted in passing the importance of a highly
capable staff to perform coordination missions; he referred to the former Intelligence
Community Staff as having had “a certain percentage of people there who, frankly,
had retired in place or were considered to be brain dead and wanted a quiet place
where they could make it to retirement without being bothered. A greater proportion
111 U.S. Congress, 105th Congress, 2d session, Senate, Select Committee on Intelligence,
Hearing, Nomination of Joan A. Dempsey to be Deputy Director of Intelligence for
Community Management, Senate Hearing 105-1056, May 21-22, 1998, p. 1.
112 Ibid., p. 40.
113 U.S. Congress, 106th Congress, 1st session, Senate, Select Committee on Intelligence,
Hearing, Nomination of James M. Simon, Jr., to be Assistant Director of Central
Intelligence for Administration, Senate Hearing 106-394, February 4, 1999, p. 3.
114 Ibid., p. 4.
115 Ibid., p. 41.
were those that their agencies either didn’t want or that they felt were not progressing
acceptably within their own agency. . . . “116
Both Dempsey and Simon were confirmed by the Senate and served for several
years in their respective positions. In July 2003 Dempsey, having left the DDCI
position, was appointed Executive Director of the President’s Foreign Intelligence
Advisory Board; Simon retired in 2003. Only in July 2004 was Larry Kindsvater
confirmed by the Senate as DDCI for Community Management; nominations for
assistant DCI positions have not been submitted. The statutory provisions remain in
Despite the effort that went into the FY1997 legislation, the efforts intended to
enhance the DCI’s community-wide role have not been fully implemented.117 The
FY1997 Act established four new Senate-confirmed positions having responsibilities
that extend across all intelligence agencies. Since enactment, the Senate has received
nominations for only two individuals to these positions (both were duly confirmed
and sworn in) but both left office in 2003 and replacements have not yet been
nominated. Some observers also believe that the DCI’s authorities in the preparation
of budgets for all intelligence agencies have not been fully exercised.118 Observers
suggest that there is little likelihood that serious efforts will be made, however, to
seek repeal of the provisions at a time when intelligence agencies are under scrutiny
for their abilities to “connect the dots” on international threats.
Joint Inquiry on the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001;
Additional Views of Senator Shelby, 2002
In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center
and the Pentagon, the two congressional intelligence committees agreed to conduct
a Joint Inquiry into the activities of the Intelligence Community in connection with
the attacks. The Joint Inquiry undertook an extensive investigation and conducted
a number of public and closed hearings. The two Committees’ recommendations
were published in December 2002 some of which addressed issues of Intelligence
Community organization. The unclassified version of the Inquiry’s report was
published in mid-2003.
Principally, the two committees urged that the National Security Act be
amended to create a statutory Director of National Intelligence, separate from the
116 Ibid., p. 43.
117 A somewhat pessimistic academic assessment of the effects of the IC21 study can be
found in Abraham H. Miller and Brian Alexander, “Structural Quiescence in the Failure of
IC21 and Intelligence Reform,” International Journal of Intelligence and
Counterintelligence, Summer 2001. Management of ISR programs is discussed in CRS
Report RL32508, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Programs:
Congressional Oversight Issues.
118 See U.S. Congress, 107th Congress, 2d session, Senate Committee on Intelligence and
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Joint Inquiry into Intelligence
Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001, S.Rept.
head of the CIA. This DNI would have the “full range of management, budgetary
and personnel responsibilities needed to make the entire U.S. Intelligence
Community operate as a coherent whole.” These would include “establishment and
enforcement” of collection, analysis, and dissemination priorities; authority to move
personnel between Intelligence Community elements; and “primary management and
oversight of the execution of Intelligence Community budgets.”
The committees also recommended that Congress consider legislation, similar
to the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986 which reorganized the Defense Department,
to instill a sense of jointness throughout the Intelligence Community, including joint
education, joint career specialties, and more “joint tours” in other agencies that would
be designated as “career-enhancing.”
The then-Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Richard
Shelby, submitted additional views that also advocated organizational changes in the
Intelligence Community.119 Shelby argued that “The fragmented nature of the DCI’s
authority has exacerbated the centrifugal tendencies of bureaucratic politics and has
helped ensure that the IC responds too slowly and too disjointedly to shifting
threats.”Accordingly, the “office of the DCI should be given more management and
budgetary authority over IC organs and be separated from the job of the CIA
Further, Shelby argued that the basic structure of the National Security Act
needs to be re-examined to separate “central” analytical functions from “resource-
hungry collection responsibilities that make agencies into self-interested bureaucratic
‘players.’” Shelby acknowledged that, “Creating a true DCI would entail removing
dozens of billions of dollars of annual budgets from the Defense Department, and
depriving it of ‘ownership’ over ‘its’ ‘combat support organizations.’ In
contemporary Washington bureaucratic politics, this would be a daunting challenge;
DOD and its congressional allies would make such centralization an uphill battle, to
say the least.”121 Shelby also recalls the Goldwater-Nichols precedent in urging that
the Intelligence Community be restructured, but cautions that the Intelligence
Community should not be reformed solely to meet the terrorist threat: “we need an
Intelligence Community agile enough to evolve as threats evolve, on a continuing
basis. Hard-wiring the IC in order to fight terrorists, I should emphasize, is precisely
the wrong answer, because such an approach would surely leave us unprepared for
the next major threat, whatever it turns out to be.”122
119 “September 11 and the Imperative of Reform in the U.S. Intelligence Community,”
Additional Views of Senator Richard C. Shelby, Vice Chairman, Senate Select Committee
on Intelligence, December 10, 2002.
120 Ibid., p. 3.
121 Ibid., p. 16.
122 Ibid., p. 18 (italics in original).
National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon
the United States (The 9/11 Commission), 2004
Established by the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY2003 (P.L. 107-306),
the 9/11 Commission, chaired by former New Jersey Governor Thomas H. Kean,
undertook a lengthy investigation of the “facts and circumstances relating to the
terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.” Although the Commission’s mandate
extended beyond intelligence and law enforcement issues, a number of principal
recommendations, made public on July 22, 2004 address the organization of the
Intelligence Community. The Commission argues that with current authorities the
responsible for community performance but lacks the three authorities critical for
any agency head or chief executive officer: (1) control over purse strings, (2) the
ability to hire or fire senior managers, and (3) the ability to set standards for the123
information infrastructure and personnel.
The 9/11 Commission recommends the establishment of a National
Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), responsible for both joint operational planning and
joint intelligence, and the position of a Director of National Intelligence. In addition
to overseeing various intelligence centers, the DNI would manage the National
Foreign Intelligence Program and oversee the agencies that contribute to it. The
Community Management Staff would report to the DNI. The DNI would manage the
agencies with the help of three deputies, each of whom would also hold a key
position in one of the component agencies. A deputy for foreign intelligence would
be the now-separate head of the CIA, a deputy for defense intelligence would be the
Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, and the deputy for homeland intelligence
would be either an FBI or Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official. The
DNI would not have responsibilities for intelligence programs affecting only Defense
Department consumers. The report does not describe how the person serving
simultaneously as the DNI’s assistant for defense intelligence and as an Under
Secretary of Defense would resolve any differing guidance from the DNI and the
Secretary of Defense. The 9/11 Commission also recommends a separate intelligence
appropriation act the total of which would be made public.124
123 U.S., National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, The 9/11
Commission Report, July 2004, p. 410.
124 For further background on the 9/11 Commission proposals, see CRS Report RL32506,
The Position of Director of National Intelligence: Issues for Congress.
The efforts of committees, commissions and individuals to encourage
restructuring of the U.S. Intelligence Community have led to numerous changes
through internal agency direction, presidential directives and executive orders, and
new statutes. The general trend has been towards more thorough oversight both by
the executive branch and by congressional committees. The position of the DCI has
been considerably strengthened and DCIs have been given greater staff and authority
to exert influence on all parts of the Community. They have not, however, been
given “line” authority over agencies other than the CIA, and the influence of the
Defense Department remains pervasive. Some have argued that, in the light of the
Intelligence Community’s inability to provide warning of the September 2001 attacks
on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and inaccurate intelligence estimates
about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, the need for reorganizing the Intelligence
Community has become self-evident. Others argue that many of the reforms that
have been proposed could make matters worse. The issue appears to be moving
higher on the congressional agenda. Specific legislation to reorganize the nation’s
intelligence effort, including S. 2845, is currently under consideration and the 9/11
Commission’s recommendations are receiving widespread interest.