PROPOSED LEGISLATION TO ESTABLISH A JOINT COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE

Created: 1/6/1956

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INTELLIGENCE AGENCY. OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR

Janaury6

FOR:

SUBJECT:

REFERENCE:

The Executive Secretary of the National Security Council

Proposed Legislation tooint Committee on Foreign Intell"

Memorandum for the Director of Central Intelligence from the &ecutive Secretary of the Sational Security Council on the subject dated October

This memorandum Is submitted In compliance with the request in reference memorandum that the Director of Central Intelligence submit to tbe National Security Council fora report containing (a) an analysis of the proposed legislation tooint Committee on Foreign Intelligence, and (b) recommendations as to an Administration position.

I.

Analysis of Proposed Legislation..

A large number of resolutions were Introduced in the Senate and the House during the last session of congress, all of which proposed the establishmentoint Congressional Committee on Foreign Intelligence. Certain of these bills referredoint Committee "on Centralut the purposes and functions remain substantially the same.

Two basic resolutions were Introduced In the Senate. One of these) was introduced on5 by Senator Smith of New Jersey. This bill (Annexas referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations, tho Chairman of which, Senator George, requested the views of the Central Intelligenct Agency. Those views were submitted to Senator George in a

approved for reieasi

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from the Director dated5enator oaith had Introduced this bill In keepingeneral practice he has followed for introducing legislation to carry out the various recemendations of the Hoover Commission, and the Senator indicated to the Director that he had not coaaltted hiaself aa to the subject aatter of the proposed legislation.

A further bill was S. Con.hich was introduced on January5 by Senator Mansfield. This resolution was introduced not only for Senator Mansfieldbut on behalf ofther Senators as well,embers of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and its Chairman, Senator George, and members of Senate Armed Services and Appropriations Committees as well. Two other oenators added their names to this resolution after its initial introduction by Senator Mansfield, bringing the total of co-signers of the Mansfield Resolution How'" far allre really committed to the support of the Bill Is not known.

Resolutions of this type must be Introduced on anbasis In the House anduch resolutions were introduced during the last session.

Although the various resolutions differ as to details, such as the number and composition of membership, they all basically call for the establishmentJoint Committee on Foreign (or Central)he principle function of which would be to make continuing studies of the foreign intelligence activities of the Government. Under all of them, the Central Intelligence Agency is required to keep the Committee fully and currently informed with respect to its acitvities, and all matters in the Senate or House relating primarily to the Agency or its activities are to be referred to the Joint Committee. All of the resolutions authorize the Joint Committee to hold hoarlngs, subpoem witnesses and documonts,nd all of them empower the Committee to appoint sucht may determine to be necessary In order to carry out Its functions.

A list of Senate and House resolutionsointtogether with names of sponsors and date ofis attached hereto as Annex *t.

II.

The Present Congressional Review Mechanism.

m^inCto tne crwatlonthe Central Intelligence Agency7 Congress has devised various methods forits relations with the Agency and for securing the

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information necessary to provide the basis for necessary authorizations and appropriations. These methods alsoeans of keeping the appropriate Committees quite completely informed as to the activities of CIA and its general effectiveness and efficiency. During the initial period of the Agency's existence the Congress was Inclined tc leave It alone. As the work of the CIA Increased in scope and magnitude, however, and attracted increased attention both at home and abroaa, Congressional Interest Increased. Hearings before the House Appropriations Committee, for example, were general in nature during the early years of the Agency's existence, but became more extensive and more detailed, particularly in the 9tth Congress. The House scrutiny of the CIA budget has never involved pressures to reveal Information which the Director wished to withhold, and so far there have beer, no security "breaches attributable to any Congressional hearing on CIA matters. Although the Senate Appropriations Committee did not conduct as extensive or detailed hearings as the House Committee on the CIA budget, It has also reviewed the work of the Agency in

recent sessions.

A similar pattern has developed with respect to theuthorizing committees, which have been the CommitteesArmed Services of the House and the Senate. Duringh Congress, the Senate Armed Services Committee formalized Its interest in tho CIA through the following "Armed Services Committee Standing Orders"!

Withinays after the adoption of these standing orders there shall be appointed by theto serve for the duration of the Congress, the following subcommittees, each subcommittee toof not less than two members at least one of whom shall be from the minority party. The duties of each subcommittee shall be as indicatedember of the professional staff of the committee shall be assigned by the chairman to assist each subcommittee, such staff assignments to be In addition to the staff member's other duties.

"(b) Subcommittee on Central Intelligence Agency: Hold such meeting and briefings as are necessary to maintain familiarity with the operation off the National Security Acts amended and the Central Intelligence Agency Actnd the policies and programs being carried out pursuant to those authorities, or being planned.

hannel for liaison between the Central Intelligence Agency and the Senate Committee on Armed Services."

Onenators Russellyrd. Johnson of Texas, Bridges, and Saltonstall were designated as members of this subcommittee. On Marchecret briefing was held for the Committee, and two of Its members, Senators Byrd and Saltonstall, were given specific CIA briefings in the field during recent trips abroad, as was General Vernetaff member of the Armed Services Committee. Chairman Vinson of the House Armed Services Committee has advised us that he proposes to establishubcommittee similar to the Senate subcommittee.

Apart from the formal relations with Arced Services and Appropriations Committees. CIA has had some dealings with other committees in the House and the Senate such as Government Operations. Fostivil Service, Judiciary, Foreign Relations, and tho Joint Committees on Atomic Energy and on Printing.

III.

The Desirability of Additional Congressional Revl of Non-Intfclligunce Activities)

A basic fact which must be borne in mind in analyzing this problem is that the establishmenteparate Congressional Committee whose only functions relite to the conduct of foreign intelligence- activities would inevitablyloser scrutinyuch broader membership of the Congress of the activities of the United States Government in this field. Although most of the resolutions introduced have referred to "Intelligencehich eight be construed as not relating to operational activities, they all further provide that the Director of Central Intelligence is to report to the Committee on "all" activities of CIA, which makes It likely that any aspect of CIA or related Government operations in this field would also come under scrutiny by the Committee. At the present time, intelligence activities are described to the Congress through formal or informal subcommittees of existing committees, the members of which and the staffs of which have additional duties to perform. If the membership, and particularly the staff,ew Congressional committee has no functions other than those relating to foroign intelligence, it is Inevitable that the demands upon the Executive Branch for Information, operational and otherwise, will be considerably greater than under present arrangements. The actual needs of CIA for substantive legislation are neither frequent nor

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extensive enough toajor amount ol" the timeongressional committee or staff, and requests for funds will still have to be reviewed by the Appropriationsthemselves. The following analysis as to specific problems assumes the foregoing facts.

a.. Security. It is inevitableore intensive and broader Congressional scrutiny of CIA would rapidly raise serious security considerations and tend to lotair the effectiveness of operations. Countless examples could be given of Instances where the unauthorized disclosure of information aslanned operational activity. tho overthroworeign government and the many lesser activities) could have disastrous consequences. Witting representatives of the Executive Branch are frequently offended, morally or otherwise, by certain proposed operational activities, and their remarks or views are heard within tht secure confines of the Executive Branch. No such security strictures, however, could be imposed upon members of Congress. Although individual members of Congress will vigorously and truthfully deny that their security Is any. less complete than that of the Executive Branch, experi* has indicated that this cannot be relied upon across th* beard, and leaks are inevitable.

Apart from the implications insofar as tho Security of the United States is concerned, an intensive Congressional scrutiny of CIA is likely to impair intelligence relations with friendly foreign governments. Such relations, particularly with governments not formally allied with the United States, depend on the understanding that they will be held on the basis of absolute minimum access. Apart from the increased danger of leoks from moru peoplecreation of the proposed Corrmittee. with staff and other facilities, would in itself tend to create doubt abroad as to the security of United States' handling of material handed over by foreign sources, and would result in the inevitable stoppage of flow of certain Sensitive Information which by its very nature, is most important to the United States. In this respect, intelligenceare more sensitive than any foreign relationship of the Atomic energy Conunission and than almost any foreign relationship of the Department of Stat*.

The staff for the Committee would present many problems. To do its job the staff would undoubtedlyhorough and continuous review of all Agency activities and thus become involved in the most sensitive of clandestine activiti This is particularly true inasmuch as CIA has little legislation totaff.

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b. Relationship Between the executive and the Congress. oint Committee would raiseas to the basic constitutional relationshipPresident and the Congress, particularly with regardPresident's function of the conduct of foreignit is perhaps not generally understood In thedoes not set policy, but carries on its activitiesaccordance with policy set by the Department ofNational Security Council, and, ultimately, theIf operational activities under NX jwj2in the Joint Committee's charter, as isCommittee would feel it necessary to know thefor each activity, and the State Department, andcases the White House itself, wouldand directly involved, with the resultantincursion into the foreign policy prerogatives of

It does not follow that the operational activities of cIa, s distinct from the intelligence activites, should be regarded as sacrosanct, and not subject to review or criticism. The proper location foreview, however, is within tho Executive Branch itself. The Director reports on such Agency activities semi-annually to the National Security Council, consults frequently with the Operations Coordinating Board, and obtains policy guidance from State, Defense and other Interested policy agencies.

c. The Jurisdictional Problus. The "foreign Intelligence activities of tht Government" involve many departments and agencies in addition to CIA. In the IAC alone there are represented the Department of State, the three Services and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the AEC, the FBI, and on occasion, representatives of other agencies. This would meanoint Congressional Committee on Intelligence would have to dual with activities of many agencies which presently fall within the Jurisdiction of other Congressional committees, such as Armed Services, Foreign Relations and Foreign Affairs, Atomic Energy, Judiciary, etc.

The argument is often made that the "success" of the Joint Committee onergy is proofoint Committee on Intelligence would be similarly successful. This argument, however, fails to take into account that in the case of Atomic Lnergy, at least in the field of operations which ire the major Congressional concern, the Committee only deals with one agency cf the Government. Moreover, they deal with an agency whichide variety of responsibilities requiring extensive legislation in many fields of activity, such as pre-emptive relationships in patents and property, civil defense, control of materials,

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manufacture of weapons, etc. Atomic Energy bills deal with construction of industrial facilities, housing facilities, taxation, research and development,umber of activities which are of interest to large segments of the American people. No such factors relate to the conduct of foreign Intelligence.

Evenoint Committee were toona fide attempt to confine its attention to CIA's intelligence activities, it would address itself to only about one-eighth of the foreign intelligence activities of the Government In teres of personnel or budgetary problems. Moreover, the activities of CIA cannot be understood in isolation because its role is to contribute by its "services of common concern" to the work of each of the other Intelligence services of the Government, and to draw together the work of all of theehe production of national intelligence. horough understanding of the intelligence structure of theenthole would be essential to any effectivef the CIA intelligence role.

d. The Membership Problem- Although It obviously cannot be usedormal argument, the problem of the membershipoint Committee on Foreign Intelligenceery real one insofar as the Executive Branch Is concerned. Senator Smith's resolution and other resolutions similar to his make no provision as to the source of membership ofommittee. It simply provides that there will be nine members from each House, with the usual relationship between majority and minority parties. Underill, seniority rules would probably apply, which woulduch more inflexible arrangement than the subcommittee arrangement which has new been established. Senator Mansfield's resolution deals with this problem to some degree by providing that the total membership of the Committeerom each House, and by further providingembers would be selected from each of the Armed Services and Appropriations Committees. Although this appears to lean in the directionore manageable solution to this problem, it is still much more inflexible than the present arrangement. It is perhaps unnecessary to point out that certain current members, reasonably senior, of Armed Services and Appropriations Committees, are outspoken opponents of some of the kinds of work done by CIA.

IV.

Recommendations for Administration Position.

In tho light of the foregoing, it is recommended that the Administration take the following position regarding

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legislationoint Committee on Foreign Intelligence (or on Central Intelligence):

a- Thatommittee would provide an unnecessary supplement to the review now beingby existing committees of the Congress;

the present mechanisms ofare adequate to carry on anywhich the Congress and the Executiveto be desirable in connection withactivitesj

ommittee wouldJurisdictional problems, due to thediverse number of Government agenciesin the intelligence field, allare now responsible to existingand

d,. That the creation ofommittee could raise substantial security problems and hamper the conduct of foreign relations by the Executive.

/s/ ALLE3 W. DULLES

Allen W. Dulles Director

Annex H- -

the Director datedug. Con. Res 2

List of Senate and House Resolutions

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Original document.

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