STATEMENT W. E. COLBY DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE BEFORE CIA SUBCOMMITTEE

Created: 6/12/1975

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Mr. Chairman:

Historically, nations have conducted but not talked about intelligence. Much of what they did may have been known by their adversaries and others,efusal to comment permitted the adversary an option as to how he replied. Official confirmation compelled him to strike out. This was perhaps most graphically illustrated inncident over the Soviet Union Khrushchev's memoires recount his knowledge over several years of these flights, his exposure of our cover story, and his possession of our pilot. They also state that the officialby our President of his personal responsibility for the operation forced Khrushchev to react sharply, since an intelligence incident had been raisedonfrontation between Chiefs of State.

The legislation, control and supervision of American intelligence established in the National Security Act7 reflected this traditional approach. The legislation delegated decisions to the National Security Council,broad powers to conduct intelligence activities, and phrased functions in vague and general language. External supervision was sporadic and sympathetic, in tune with the consensus on foreign policy which marked the times.

Under this arrangement, mistakes were made by Some operations went awry, and the Agency in some cases overstepped its proper bounds. ully understand and support the Constitutional process that requires that these be investigated. The allegations made about CIA are serious and, if not resolved, could undermine the public confidence and support which are so necessary to anyin our country. ustry of alarm, however, at the direction inee thisear that it can resultangerously erroneous image of American intelligence today and permanent and potentially fatal injury to its sources for tomorrow.

While CIA has made mistakes, they were few and far between. Scrutiny of the intensity aimed at CIA applied to almost any other American institution of its size and complexityelieve, find analagous misstepswenty-seven-year history. More importantly, CIA itself has recognized its errors and issued clear instructions to prevent such missteps in the future. In MayIA collected from its employees their memories of questionable activities it might have conducted in years past. These were assembled and reported to the Chairmen of the CIA oversight committees,lat assurance was given by me that improper activities would not be conducted in the

future. This was reaffirmed during my confirmation hearing,ade it clear that CIA would operate within the law,etailed set of instructions was issued by me in3 correcting each and every one of the areas in which missteps were reported in the past.

The Vice President'summary of its findings on CIA's domestic activities is relevant in this context. uote: etailed^analysis of the facts has convinced the Commission that the great majority of the CIA's domestic activites comply with its statutory authority. Nevertheless, over theears of its history, the CIA has engaged in some activities that should be criticized and not permitted to happen again." The Commission noted that some of these activities were initiated or ordered by Presidents, some falloubtful area, and some were plainly unlawful. It commented that "the Agency's own recent actions, undertaken for the most part3ave gone far to terminate the activities upon which this investigation has focused."

The subject of assassination has now come to dominate current public comment about CIA and has raised deep concern among many of our citizens. Mr. Chairman, the current policy is clear. y predecessorirective that

"no such activity or operation be undertaken, assisted or suggested by any of our personnel." In the set ofssued intated that "CIA will not engage in assassination nor induce, assist or suggest to others that assassination be employed." As for proposals, plots or attempts involving CIA, or actions by independent elements with which CIA may have been in contact, it is more sensational than valuable to try to reconstruct the atmosphere, the policies and the perceived threats and responses within ourears ago. Public exposure of such matters today does no service to the United States, past or future, since our policy now is explicit. To the extent these matters requireelieve they should ben executive session.

With respect to surveillance, improper files and other interference with the rights of Americanefer you to my public testimony given to the Senate and House Appropriations committees in January and February of this year. These matters were also the specific subject of clear policy directives in3 to ensure CIA's full compliance with the law. The Vice President's Commission's report on these matters, quoted above, summarizes well this subject, and should place it in proper proportion.

A

bjecting to further investigation, Mr. Chairman?elcome it. It is essential that our citizenshow intelligence has changed over the twenty-eight years It is essential that the publicthat the United States has developed the finest intelligence service in the world. Our leadership, and innclude the Congress, is served by knowledge of foreign affairs and developments which would have been inconceivable twenty-five years ago. aily basis. Congress and the executive are made aware of the exact strengths of the strategic forces arrayed against us. Thanks to our remarkable strides in the technology of intelligence and in the skill and experience of the analysts with access to such remarkable data, our judgments are informed, not shallow. We also benefit from the courage and dedication of the career intelligence personnel serving their country abroad, frequently at great risk and without hope or desire for public appreciation. Our intelligence is independent of departmental interests and^ policybut we havetructure through which differing views can be surfaced rather than suppressed, and sharpened rather than fuzzed.

The result not only protects our country better, it enables our country to negotiateasis of knowledge rather than confrontasis of fear. It enables us to resolve local disputes in the world rather than see them flare up and entwine great powers in dangerous More than once, an intelligence assessmentritical international situation has enabled ourdiscreetly to bring together quarreling parties and avoid an outbreak of conflict. CIA's officers have quietly assisted friends under pressure or threat in many countries to stand up to otherwise irresistible pressures without the clamor of official U. S. or military action, eal investigation of American intelligence must also encompass these aspects, whose continuation depends on secrecy and whose contributions to our country's interests must be assured.

Even with such an improved understanding of modern American intelligence, there is work to be done. Those ambiguous guidelines7 need to be clarified in legislation and external as well as internal directives. The permissive external supervision of years ago must be replaced by regular and responsible review, as it has

grown in recent years. And, Mr. Chairman, it is patently clear that our intelligence must be better protected from irresponsible leaks and exposures if its essential quality, the confidence of the foreigners and Americans who work with^us, is not to be withdrawn.

Most of all, Mr. Chairman, all of us Americans,professionals, elected officials, the fourth estate, and our citizenshole must insistense of responsibility to our nation as we look at our intelligence structure. We intelligence professionals must be responsive to our constitutional and legal requirements,elieve we are. These investigations must be comprehensive in their conception as well as their detail. And wo must seek sober judgments about intelligence, not shrill sensation.

An adversary prosecution focused on misstepsourt orrosecutor; it is not appropriate toomprehensive understanding of an institution as complex and important to our country as intelligence.ope we can focus primarily on our country's needs for intelligence in's's, rather than its missteps in's's.

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