TITLE: The Graphics Coordinator Program
AUTHOR: Anthony Porcaro
A coiicei.on of articles on the historical, opcrational. doctrinal, and theoretical aspects ol intelligence.
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A system tor the overt collection of pictorial intelligence world-wide.
THE GRAPHICS COORDINATOR PROGRAM Anthony Portaro
Arena of low priority in terms of current intelligencecan become extremely important^ with littlethe British
respect to the all-too-familiar coast across thend one of the first limitations to be placed on foreignersew "hot spot"estriction against photography. It Is plain that the community's effort to keep ready against theof surprise good basic Intelligence on all areas, centered In the MIS program, needs toornprehenslve and up-to-date collection of photography. Our military attaches abroad have primary responsibility for such collection with respect to military subjects, but for photographs of political, economic, or sociological Interest the vehicle ls theGraphics Coordinator Program. It encourages aflow of pictorial Information from low-priority areas. In particular from places where US. mission photographicwould otherwise be limited or non-existent, as from minor posts In Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.
History oj the Program
The Program, rather new ln its developed present form, has antecedents Ln many years of less systematic effort As early as the summercting on the request of the CIA Graphics Register, the Department of State senterial outlining for Its foreignrogram for theof photography primarily on political, geographic, social, and economic matter and listing types of subjects an which coverage wasearollow-up serial was sent out, andevice to encourage volunteerimited amountas made available for officersin photographing the types of subjects specified.
'See chapter on topographical Intelligence In James Lessor's The Clock with Four ttandt (New York,The BBC's broadcast appeal for tourist photography brought In nine million snapshots;
7 to stimulate further the interest of volunteers and guide their efforts. Graphics Registerractice of briefing as many outgoing foreign service offlcers as possible. This did increase the number of pictures sent back, but the program still suffered the disadvantage of depending onextra-curricular activity for which no one at thepost felt any particular responsibility. The Chief ofwas often unaware of Its existence.
Seeing this deficiency. State Deportments intelligence chief suggested that the responsibility could be tied down byone ojBc^r^ act^ Qranhlcs
If an amateur camera fan. wtuai or potential, were given this Job and furnished camera and film, he would be likely toa good deal of photography himself as well as encourage others. This Idea was exploredumber of Chiefs of Missionrip to Africa8 and met with theirCircular Instructions were therefore prepared. Inwith tbe Graphics Register, and sent to the field asking each post to nameoordinator, listing general requirements for photography, suggesting possible sources, outlining arrangements for providing equipment, andwhat to do with the product.
This Instruction produced an Immediate increase In the volume of photography reaching the Register, but It became evident that Coordinators should have in handy form some standard instructions on the use of the camera and moreguidance for tbe collection effort Ina booklet entitled Guide to Graphics Coordinators was produced and copies sentosts abroad. The Guidearge section on the technical aspects of photography, explains tbe rationale of the collection program, specifies the subjects on which coverage Is needed, and lists sources from which the Coordinator might supplement his personal effort and that of other officers at thepublications, American travelers, and business firms for economic subjects. Tbe Political Section of tbe Foreign Affairs Manual also nowection on tbe "Collection of Photographs" giving standing Instructions and encouragement.
Today the Program has become an effective effort for tbe collection of ground photography world-wide. Thereoreign service postsameras at their disposal. During fiscal3 they were responsible
for the procurement0 photographs, more0 of which were suitable for acceptance into the photographic files of the Graphics Register. As an official activity of foreign posts, the Program is now one aspect under which these are subject to periodic review by Foreign Service Inspectors, and the Graphics Register is asked to comment on the quality of the Coordinator at each post
The Register, one of CIA's services "of common concern"community, directs the entire program, using theDepartment Operations Memorandum (for which ItdelegatedsignbigjauJiwrity, subject to clearanceState
furnishes supplies and equipment, when necessary .provides funds for the purchase of photography, and receives,and files the product.
Requirements and Response
Graphics Coordinators, like most collectors, work best under the guidanceequirements list which contains specific targets.ist, prepared for every country where the Program Is active, is sent to the postseminder that whether or not to attempt photography of any item on tha list Is left to the discretion of the Chief of Mission. Theof local discretion is particularly necessary in places where restrictions have been put on the use of cameras.
A great deal of effort is put Into the preparation of thelists. An attempt Is made to anticipate the needs of scheduled Intelligence production, particularly tbe MIS seriesandbook program of the CIA ClandestineConsideration must be given to the requirements of targeting groups, specific NPIC requirements for collateral material, the standing requirements of CIA offices, andIn the Register's general file. At the same timeof items in the requirements lists of military attaches or of requirements already levied on other collectors must be avoided.
The resulting list contains both general categories and specific Items. It can be supplemented at any time by ad hoc requests to fill needs as they arise. Current requirements and additional guidance may be sentoordinator after he has informed the Register of travel he has planned.
The response to requirements Is generally good; recentcan be cited from Lisbon and fromist of requirements prepared for Portugal reflected needs In the preparation of NIS sections relating to health and sanitation, fuels and power, and industrial development In that country. Taking this list, the Coordinator collected all the required photography not only on Portugal but on Portuguese Africa as well, the latter from embassy personnel who had recently travelled there. He also made excellent use of local
The Coordinator ln Ecuador, suppliedist ofon which there was nogood photographs of the majority of these and reported that the rest of them had been photographed by the air attache, so that the pictures could be obtained through militaryHe also obtained from local AID personnel exclusive photographs ln response to requirements on agriculture,and ethnic groups.
In these two examples, as In experience generally, the valueat of specific photographic needs stands out Withoutist the Graphics Coordinator tends either not toor to produce photography which Is duplicative ornot worth inenrporating into the Register's files.
Cooratnoiion with MHilary Attaches
In the second example above there wasilitary attache In obtaining photography. Photography of military activity, personnel, and Installations Is ordinarily the exclusive responsibility of the militaryNevertheless the Graphics Coordinator docs notopportunities to photograph significant military items in the absence of the appropriate attache. The attaches are often overloaded and appreciate any help they can get It Is only necessary, as the requirements Instruction usually points out, to coordinate with respect to overlapping dvlllin-military mterests
In practice the military and civilian photo collectionseldom duplicate but rather complement each other. Not Infrequently, therefore, they may combineeamas when tho Coordinator In Phnom Penh new with the air attache along the border with South Vietnam ln order to photograph the sections on which he had requlrernents.
Non-military subjects which are yet militarily sign Inlike highways, bridges, andtherefore normally covered by attache photography can be deemphasired by the Coordinator in favor of his economic and sociologicalBut this does not mean that he should neglectof opportunity related to the military requirements.
Photo collection under this program, primarily ato basic intelligence and production with long-range requirements, occasionally turns up Items that have startling application to current Intelligencen thenations, ln particular, tbe Coordinators have provided significant first-hand reporting on Bloc shipments and on new construction done with Bloc aid. Tho two foUowlng cases Illustrate the use of such photography as collateral material in reaching important Intelligence conclusions.
The Army attache ln Panama photographed covered deck cargo on two Soviet vessels that passed through the canal together. One of the two went to Cuba; the other, carrying cargo of identical configuration, went to Ghana. That en route for Cuba was believed toilitary shipmenteport with photography was received from the Coordinator Ln Ghana showing that the second ship had carriedariety of agricultural machines. This pointed to athat the shipment to Cuba was also not military but agricultural.
The Coordinator at rQiorramshahr, Iran, photographederiod of years the deck cargo of Soviet ships which came up the Persian Gulf en route to Iraq: thereequirement for Information on the economic and military aid Iraq was receiving. The resulting "Khorramshahrey matrix in developing the technique for Identifyingcargo such as Soviet MJG aircraft and related Items from the size and shape of crates or otherechnique that came into Its own at the time of the Cuban missile crisis.Original document.