The Honorable L. Mendel Rivers Chairman. Committee on Armed Services House of Representatives Washington. D.
My dear Mr. Chairman:
I am deeply concerned over the impact of the provisions5 upon the Central Intelligence Agency and, for that matter, on the departments and agencies of the intelligence community.
A bill similar to5 was introduced by Senator Ervin late inh Congress and applied to all employees of the Government. As introduced inh Congress,5omplete exemption for the FBI only. The bill was amended in Committee to permit an officer of CIA or NSA to request an employee or applicant toolygraph test, or tosychological test, designed to elicit from him information concerning his personal relationship with any person connected with him by blood or marriage, or concerning his religious beliefs or practices, or concerning his attitude or conduct with respect to sexual matters, or toersonal financial statement, on the basisersonal finding by the Directors in each individual case that the test or information is required to protect the nationalloor amendmentesignee of the Directors to make the required personal finding. inal floor amendment removed the full exemption for the FBI and granted it the same partial exemption provided for NSA and CIA.
Let me state to begin with that my colleaguesn CIA are as keenly interested as any member of the Congress in the need to preserve the Constitutional rights and freedoms of all our citizens. Most of us originally joined the Agency and continue to work for it not only because we believe in those basic democratic freedoms but because we know them to be threatened by external and aggressive forces. The national security which
we have sworn to defend is not toindless abstraction or zcnophobic slogan. Bather it is because our country's bordersule of law thatill of Rights to flourish that we believe our nation's security is worth defending. Thenow who have undertaken difficult and often dangerous assignments abroad have done so in tbe mature conviction that they were helping to preserve the democratic rights of our people.
If all the nations of the earth were peaceful democracies and if there existed reliable international guarantees against aggression andould not have to write this letter nor would this countryIA. Much as we look forward toafe and peaceful world, we have to accept the hard fact that it does not yet exist. In the world of reality in which we have no choice but to live, the survival of our countryree and democratic state depends upon our ability to protect the security of our defensive plans and dispositions. It also depends on our ability to predict and anticipate the new forms of military and political aggression that an indefatigable opponent may invent. In this struggle that haa been forced upon ua. nothing is more important than the integrity, the high morale, and the competence of the men and women who work for us.
After some twenty years of experience, we in the CIAhink, well aware of the nature of the espionage effort directed against this country. The Soviet KGB. the intelligence services of the Eastern European satellites, of Cuba, and of Communist China are engagedontinuing endeavor to discover and exploit any human frailty among those who have access to that sensitive information which these unfriendly intelligence services do not know.an is in deep financialempting bribe is offered. anast record of homosexual activity, that vulnerability is exploited by ruthless blackmail. anelative whose safety or welfare is within their power to threaten, the threat is made. o not mean to over-dramatize but to suggest that employment in the field of intelligence ia subject to special risks and pressures to which the average Federal employee is not subjected.
It is my conviction that the Agency would be derelict if we didthispecial situation and adopt special procedures.
protection of the vast amount of highly sensitive information so vital to our national security can be no better than the security, integrity, and practices of any employee having access to such sensitive information. Accordingly, we must ensure to the best of our abilities that employees selected to perform duties involving the national security are suitable in all respects. We must of necessityreat deal more about those whom we select than would be necessaryona ensitive activity, and we must alsoreat deal
more about our employees throughout their period of service. In the Central Intelligence Agency we feel we haveystem which givesprotection to the national interest and at the same time, through its professional management, ensures the well being and rights of the employees serving our national interests. We believe that this type of program is necessary and weigh sense of self-discipline from our employees. While this concept may not be entirely to the liking of some applicants andm confident that most employees accept it as necessary and proper in carrying out our mission. Weorps of highly qualified, well-trained, professional officers, and their dedication to the intelligence program is demonstrated by their accomplishments and one of the lowest attrition rates in Government attests to their job satisfaction.
The following will illustrate some of the problems which this proposed legislation would create for us:
hile commendably protecting an employee from compulsory attendance at meetings and lectures on matters unrelated to his official duties, would, for example, make it unlawful for any department or agency to "take notice" of the attendance of one of its employeeseeting heldubversive group oruestion whether this is really the Senate's intent and yet this is clearly one of thc effects ofb).
n making it unlawful to require an employee to make any report of his activities or undertakings not related to the performance of official duties, is similar in its effect tob). It poses the question whether the Agency, having learned or discovered that one of its employees is in regular and unreported contact with ah intelligence officialoreign government, would be violating the law in asking the employee for anof this relationship, particularly in the case in which the employee's official duties do not relate to matters involving that particular foreign government. Further, this Section is in conflictong-established policy that employees of the Agency must obtain prior approval in making public speeches or writing for publication. These and additional restrictions arc established to prevent the inadvertent disclosure of sensitive intelligence through employee activities or undertakings not related*to official duties. Here again che question arises whether the Agency would be violating thc law in exerting control over these activities.
e) deals with psychological testing. s amended, authorizes the Directors of the FBI, NSA and CIA, or their designees, on the basisersonal finding in each individual case, to use such tests for the purpose of inquiring into the sensitive areas of religious beliefs and practices, personal family relationships, and sexual attitudes, but it denies the use of such testing to all other departments and agencies without regard to the fact that employees of these departments and agencies may be regular recipients of highly classified information.
f) establishes the same prohibition on tha use of thetest as applies to psychological testing, and grants the same partial exemption to the FBI, NSA and CIA. Again, the use of the polygraph test in the proscribed areas is denied to all but these three agencies.of the fact that highly sensitive positions may be involved. '
k)roblem for the Agency in that it would appear to require the presence of counsel In behalf of an employee as soon as and at che very momentupervisor were to ask the employee the reasons for some suspected dereliction of duty rangingerious security violation to even coming to work late. This provision goes to the very heart of the continuous process of review of intelligence operations and activities to determine their effectiveness, the quality of information derived, and professionalism in which the activities ware conducted. Out of such interviews or post-mortems there naturally evolves the review of individual employee performance which, if unsatisfactory, can readily result in disciplinaryreat many extremely sensitive intelligence operations and activities are involved in this process and the presence of private counsel in behalf of an employee would raise most serious questions as to the appropriate control and protection of the intelligence information involved. annot believe that these kinds of restraint on our managerial and intelligence operational program are the intent of the Senate and yet this does seem to be the effect of this Section as presently written. ave no desire that an employee should be deprived of the right of counsel when appropriate, but the wording of this Section would make it "unlawful" to ask the simple preliminary questions which are necessary to establish whether or not there is some failure in performance or dereliction of duty unless provisions were also made at the same time for the presence of counsel if the employee ao requested.
ompounds the serious dilemmas which several ox che provisions of the hill raise for the Agency by making it unlawful for me to take actions to protect the security and integrity of the Agency even though the Central Intelligence Agency Act9 places that responsibility upon hic. The implications of this Section for the orderly administration of the business of the Agency are most troublesome.
f the bill could create very considerable mischief. This i3 the Section which permits any employee or applicant who alleges that an officer of the Executive Branch has violated or threatened to violate provisions of the Act to bring civil action in the district courts. Communist or other subversives acting on their own or on instructions from foreign agents, would have tho authority, under this Section of the bill, toivil action if, for example, in the courseecruitment interview, simple and non-sensitive questions relating to the background of the individual were asked and were considered incompatible with the other provisions of the bill. Although it may be argued that the Agency could,rial of the issue in open court, prove that it had acted fully in accordance with the provisions of the bill, this might well require in some of cheseind of exposition on the public record, of the personnel and activities of the Agency, which would be totally inconsistent with thc security of our personnel andm reminded here of the fact that Congress has charged me with theof sources and methods oferious responsibility.
Section 5. The comments made with respect tobove are onlylightly lesser extent equally applicable to Section 5.
Section 6. This Sectionartial exemption to the FBI, NSA and CIA with regard to financial disclosure and the use of psychological and polygraph testing by requiring each of the Directors, or their designees, toersonal finding with regard to each individual case that such testing of financial disclosure ia required to protect tha national security. The amendmentesignee of the Director to make the personal finding shifts the serious burden previously imposed upon the Director alone. If the Agency is to comply with the spirit of the law, it will still be necessaryersonal finding be made in each individual case that such testing or financial disclosure is required to protect the national security. Inquiry by these means into the proscribed areas, which are the key areas ofwill not be possibleatter of general regulation. The Section, as amended, alao resolves foreseeable problems created byi)J) concerning disclosure of property, income or other assets or liabilities.
With respect to Sectionan assure you that we have an elaborate system of internal grievance procedures including the maintenance of the Office of Inspector General who reports directly to me and whose door is always open to each and every one of our employees.
a) is quite compatible with current Agency practices andh) do not affect current Agency practices.f the bill do not relate to the Agency.
Inell remember the great concern expressed by the Congress in thes over loose security practices and procedures in Government and the strong reaction of the Congress which resulted in more stringent security regulations and standards of employee suitability. These measures have through the years guided our efforts to ensure that we are able to frustrate the aggressive nature of operations directed against our national security by hostile foreign intelligence services.
In my judgment this bill, if enacted, wouldost serious obstacle to the effective protection of intelligence sources and methods It would seriously weaken our effort to prevent penetrationostile intelligence service, to ensure that our employees are suitable in all respects for employment in this sensitive Agency, and in general make it much more difficult for the Director of Central Intelligence to discharge his responsibilities under existing law. arnestly request yourof the serious issues suggested by this proposed legislation.
/s/ Richard Helms
Richard Helms DirectorOriginal document.